Late Surge Completes Herd Comeback at Toledo
Marshall went on a 14-0 run in the final three minutes
TOLEDO, Ohio -- A 14-point run in the final three minutes of regulation helped the Marshall men's basketball team earn a 93-87 win against the Toledo Rockets to help seal the first true non-conference road win of the Dan D'Antoni era on Saturday evening at Savage Arena.
"We gave the fans their money's worth tonight," head coach Dan D'Antoni said. "It was fun. A lot times people will say those games make them get older. Well, those games make me feel young again. It sent blood all of the way down to my toes. We were down 10, but we fought hard and battled back for the win."
With the win, the Herd moved up to 7-3 overall and 1-3 on the road, while the Rockets fell to 5-4. The win gave Marshall its first non-conference road win since its 73-69 overtime victory at Cincinnati on Nov. 25, 2011.
Junior guard Jon Elmore scored a team-high 25 points and added eight rebounds and three assists. Junior forward Ajdin Penava scored 24 points, pulled down eight rebounds, made four blocks and four steals. Toledo's Tre'Shaun Fletcher scored a game-high 31 points.
"The defense came around at the right time," D'Antoni said. "Jarrod West was getting into their players and forcing mistakes. Ajdin Penava came up big for us twice with his blocks. C.J. made that big steal. These guys have been working hard and we are going to get better down the road."
Toledo jumped to a lead at the beginning of the game and kept it that way for most of the Half. Marshall battled back and cut the Rockets' lead to one several times in the first six minutes, but it never caught up. From there, Toledo jumped up to a four-point lead with 13:32 to go. That deficit grew to nine points with Marshall trailing, 25-16, with 9:37 left in the first half, but Marshall fought back.
Freshman forward Darius George led the charge with a steal that turned into a fast break layup and then backed it up with a three-pointer to make the score 28-25 with 6:44 to go. The Rockets went on another run after that and had a six-point lead with 4:24 left in the first half.
Penava scored six straight points to tie the game at 41-41, with one minute left of action. After knocking down a pair of free throws, it looked like Toledo would have a 43-42 advantage going into the break, but freshman Phil Bledsoe knocked down a layup at the buzzer to give the Herd a 44-43 lead.
After Fletcher knocked down a pair of free throws to give Toledo an 87-79 edge with 2:59 to play, it looked like the Herd's fate was sealed. The Herd began its comeback when Elmore sunk a free throw to cut the lead to seven points. Less than 40 seconds later, Penava converted a three-point play. The duo added a layup each and tied it at 87-87 with 55 seconds to play.
The game looked like it was heading into overtime, but junior guard C.J. Burks stole Toledo's inbound pass and nailed a slam dunk to give Marshall the go-ahead basket. The Rockets tried to tie it up again, but Penava made a game-winning rejection and Elmore made a pair of free throws and sealed the victory for Marshall.
The Herd shot 34-of-68 (50.0 percent) from field goals, 6-of-18 (31.6 percent) from three-pointers and 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from the charity stripe. Toledo shot 29-of-61 (47.5 percent) from FGs, 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from behind the arc and 24-of-28 (85.7 percent) from free throws.
The Herd will home to the Henderson Center to welcome the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m.