Dec. 19, 2016
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—The Marshall men’s basketball team defeated West Virginia Wesleyan 81-65 in the team’s final home game of 2016. With the win, the team moves to 7-4, and a perfect 7-0 at home.
Senior guard Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) led the Herd in scoring for the second consecutive game with his game-high 21 points. Junior guard Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) led the team in rebounds with seven. He picked up the team’s first five rebounds overall.
The game also marked the season debut of sophomore guard C.J. Burks (Martinsburg, W.Va.). He entered the game less than four minutes in, and marked his first basket on a breakaway slam dunk. He finished the game with 11 points.
Marshall started out hot on a 21-4 run to start the game. The team held its largest lead of the first half at 24 when they led the Bobcats 33-9 at the 5:47 mark of the first half. However, a 10-3 run for West Virginia Wesleyan cut into the lead, and Marshall would only lead 41-28 at halftime.
The team shot 17-29 (58.6%) from the field in the first half. This was the largest halftime lead of the season for the Herd.
The Bobcats came out shooting well in the second half, with Marshall struggling from the field. A 13-5 run for West Virginia Wesleyan cut the deficit to seven, 46-39 at the first media timeout of the second half.
Coming out of the break, Marshall would pull away. A layup from Elmore and five straight points from Browning began a 19-6 run for the Herd. Marshall then rode this momentum to cruise throughout the second half. Every team member dressed saw the floor, as the starters rested for most of the final 10 minutes.
Head coach Dan D’Antoni
“It was a good ball game. I enjoyed the competition. It is tough to play during finals week. We looked gassed at times, but I don’t want to take anything away from [Wesleyan]. They played extremely well and came in here to win. We got some things done. We got C.J. (Burks) on the floor for a long time, 25 minutes, and get the rust off of him a little. All in all it wasn’t bad, but you always want to win by more and do some better things.”
On C.J. Burks being back:
“Well he is a starter. Obviously he is going to make us stronger. It will give us an opportunity to put some guys on the bench and give them a little more rest in some games. I expect a lot out of C.J. It should just make us a lot stronger. As soon as we get a little rhythm with everyone back in the lineup and get the rhythm going, I think you are going to see a really strong finish for us this season.”
On the Cincinnati game:
“Well, Cincinnati that is going to be about can we score with them. Defensively they are really good. They are long and athletic. If we can move the ball and get it going good and find our shots and we are knocking them down then we can make it a real good ball game.”
No. 14 sophomore guard C.J. Burks
On his return to the lineup
“I learned right before warmups. It means a lot, I sat out a lot. I practice with them every day, and I was mad at myself, because it was my fault why I wasn’t out there and I felt like I let the team down. But it feels good to be back out there with guys.”
On his thoughts when he entered the game
“I didn’t want to mess up. I was just trying to my best to help out the guys wherever they need me at.”
No. 2 senior guard Stevie Browning
On having C.J. Burks back:
“It’s a blessing. C.J. is an extremely talented kid, and you all see that. To get him back is a relief, and it helps everybody out. From guards to even bigs, because at times he can play as a big. It helps everybody out.”
On what this game meant to the team:
“It helps us work on a lot of things. We didn’t take them lightly at all, we prepared just like we would for Cincinnati. It helped us defensively, and it helped us to get C.J. back into the flow offensively and defensively. I think a lot of good things came from this game.”
Browning on upcoming games against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh:
“This is a huge next couple of games. Cincinnati is ranked in the top-25 and Pittsburgh is just as good as they are. We lost at Ohio State, but I think we are a lot better team than we were then. Hopefully we can get Ryan [Taylor] and Terrence [Thompson] back by then, and I think at full strength I would think that we can surprise them. It wouldn’t be a surprise to us, but to the rest of the country it would. I think we’re capable of it.”
- Marshall has begun the season 7-0 at home for the first time in the Dan D’Antoni era.
- Stevie Browning has scored at least 20 points in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
- Tonight marked the first time Austin Loop did not make a three-point shot and the first missed free throw of the season.
- C.J. Burks made his season debut.
- Marshall has now scored at least 70 points in every game this season.
- The Herd has scored at least 70 points in 31 consecutive games.
- Christian Thieneman collected his first collegiate points tonight.
- Milan Mijovic scored his first career three-pointer.
- Philip Bledsoe’s six rebounds were a career-high.
- Jon Elmore has scored double-digit points in every game this season.
- It is the second time in Elmore’s career where he has led the team in rebounding.
- Aleksa Nikolic’s 13 points were a season-high.
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Marshall will returns to the road to play in its fifth of six road games in the month of December when it takes on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. The Bearcats lead the series, 12-20.