Written by Justin Prince.
The Marshall men’s basketball team improved to 16-8 overall and 7-4 in Conference USA with a 76-66 win over Florida International Thursday night.
The game was far from pretty with the Herd committing 19 turnovers and sinking just 10 of its 30 attempts from behind the arc but when the clock hit zero its big three had done enough to secure a victory.
Juniors Jon Elmore, C.J. Burks and Ajdin Penava combined for 63 of Marshall’s 76 points. Penava led the way with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots but it was Elmore who took over when the Herd needed it most.
Midway through the second half an extended zone defense had slowed down Marshall’s high-octane offense when Elmore got hot from downtown. The Charleston, West Virginia, native hit four 3-pointers in a span of a little more than four minutes to stretch the Marshall lead to eight and put the Panthers back into a man defense.
Marshall would control the game from that point as all eight players who saw the floor scored at least one point for the Herd.
The Panthers made things interesting when Michael Douglas went against the basic instincts of basketball physics and banked in an improbable three to cut he lead to six with just a minute to play. But, the Herd would make foul shots in the closing sixty seconds to set the final score.
The charity stripe proved to be a major turning point in the game as FIU made just 46.2 percent of its 26 free throw attempts.
Trejon Jacobs led the way for the Panthers with 16 points while Josh Stamps added 15.
Elmore finished with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists and sunk six 3-pointers to go along with Penava’s double-double. The Herd will be back on the Cam Henderson Center court Saturday night at 7 p.m. taking on Florida Atlantic.