Written by Justin Prince. 

The Marshall Men’s basketball team won its third straight as it dispatched Florida Atlantic 79-68 inside the Cam Henderson Center on Saturday night.

Jon Elmore was his usual self stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Ajdin Penava notched his 12th double-double of the season but both played were out shined by Rondale Watson.

Watson provided a huge spark off the Herd bench chipping in 18 points and nine rebounds while making lots of little plays that aren’t reflected in the box score.

“I thought he (Watson) was huge for us tonight,” Thundering Herd head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “He gave us a lot of energy, played good defense, hit the boards hard and just really did a lot of little things that impacted the ball game.

Florida Atlantic dropped to 10-15 on the season and 4-9 in conference play but played Marshall tough for most of the game. The score 33-28 in favor of the Herd at halftime and Marshall led by just nine until a Watson put back of a missed C.J. Burks lay up gave the Herd a double digit advantage with 2:32 remaining in the game.

With the win Marshall improved to 8-4 in Conference USA and 17-8 overall. The Herd will head back to Texas for a two game road swing against the Mean Green of North Texas and the Rice Owls.

North Texas is coming off a close loss on the road to Middle Tennessee while the Owls nearly pulled off an upset of UAB in Birmingham before falling 51-56 to the Blazers. Marshall currently sits one game ahead of the Mean Green (14-11 7-5) for fourth in the conference standings. The top four teams get byes through the first round of the CUSA tournament next month.

“We’ve got a couple of big games next week,” D’Antoni said. “Last time we went out there (to Texas) and didn’t have one of our better games. So we’ve got to go out there this time and see if we can’t play with a little more energy, with a little more want to and come away with two more wins.”

Photos from the game by Joshua Murdock below.

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