The Marshall Thundering Herd men’s basketball team was firing on all cylinders on Saturday night as they flexed their muscles late to clinch a 105-97 win over the Florida International Golden Panthers in front of an announced attendance of 7,330 at the Cam Henderson Center.
Like most of the conference games this season, it was a back-and-forth affair early on before the Herd took control and a 10-point lead into the halftime break. However, unlike previous games, Marshall allowed FIU to come back in the second half to make it a 4-point game with two minutes to play. After that point, it basically became a free-throw contest on the way to setting the final score.
FIU was the first team this season to truly challenge Marshall’s tempo as they came in with a nation-leading average of 81 possessions per game. The Panthers managed to keep the pace ever so slightly faster with 91 possessions to the Herd’s 90.
“The pace on the court was extremely fast,” said Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni after the game.
“I thought we played a great game,” said sophomore guard Jarrod West. “They had 20 turnovers? That’s pretty good for us. Even though they scored 97, our defense played a good game. Obviously our offense was playing aggressive and we knew we had to attack and get down hill. I thought we handled it very well.”
Marshall’s extraordinarily tough non-conference schedule also seems to have prepared the team well for C-USA play.
“Non-conference, we went through a lot of adversity,” West said. “We got smacked around a little and we knew we had to come into conference play strong.”
Marshall ended up with three players scoring at least 20 points in the contest: CJ Burks (30), Jon Elmore (29), and Taevion Kinsey (20).
D’Antoni was characteristically unfazed by the win. “I’ll enjoy this game until about midnight then I’ll be like Cinderella and start focusing on the next game,” he said.
Marshall remains undefeated in conference play (5-0) and 12-6 overall. This marks the second time the team has started the season 5-0 since joining Conference USA. They have never gone 6-0.
They will next travel to Western Kentucky on Monday, January 21 for the second installment of the regular season “Moonshine Throwdown.” The Herd is currently on a two-game winning streak over the Hilltoppers going back to the conference championship in 2018.
Photos by Joshua Murdock below the ad.