Herd’s Comeback Falls Short at No. 9 Xavier
Marshall scored 50 points in the second half
CINCINNATI – After falling behind with a 23-point deficit, the Marshall men’s basketball team battled back, but ultimately fell short against No. 9 Xavier in an 81-77 loss on Tuesday evening at the Cintas Center.
With the loss, Marshall fell to 8-4 and snapped its four-game winning streak. With the win, the Musketeers rose to 11-1.
Junior forward Ajdin Penava scored a game-high 25 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Junior guards Jon Elmore added 15 points and nine assists, C.J. Burks added 18 points and Rondale Watson, who made his Marshall debut, scored 10 points. Xavier’s Tyrique Jones and Kerrem Kanter each collected double-doubles and combined for 30 points and 24 rebounds.
The Herd fell behind, 18-5, in the opening six minutes of play and the deficit grew as the half went on. After Marshall looked like it was ready to comeback when Watson connected on his first 3-pointer in a Marshall jersey at the 13:15 mark, the Musketeers pulled away.
The score got to 30-12 with 10 minutes left to play and it looked like Marshall was ready to make a comeback after it went on a 8-2 run when Penava scored five points, freshman Jannson Williams made a shot from behind the arc, but Xavier went on a run and closed out the half with a 47-27 lead.
Marshall was not through and the Musketeers began half with a three-pointer the Herd went on a 10-0 run thanks to the combination of Elmore, Penava and Burks with 17 minutes left to play. After the two sides exchanged baskets Marshall cut Xavier to a 10-point lead at the 9:31 mark when Elmore made a layup.
Xavier went on a run again, but Marshall made it a 10-point game when 3:09 was left on the clock. Burks began the run when he scored five points to make the score 72-65 with 1:29 to go. With less than a minute to play, Penava made a tip in layup to cut the lead to seven. Xavier went on a 3-1 run, but Burks connected on back-to-back threes to make the score 79-74 with 21 seconds to go. After the Musketeers made two free throws, Elmore connected on a three-pointer, but it was not enough.
Burks finished the second half with 14 points and six rebounds, while Penava put up 16 points and six boards. Elmore dished out seven assists and Watson scored seven.
Marshall finished the game shooting 27-of-69 (39.1 percent) from field goals, 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) from 3-pointers and 12-of-16 (75 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Herd will close out non-conference play when it welcomes the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.