HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Five players reached double-figure scoring for Marshall men’s basketball in an 82-66 win over Middle Tennessee on Thursday night at Cam Henderson Center.
The Thundering Herd improved to 11-10, 7-1, tying for first place in the Conference USA standings with UAB. The Blazers visited Huntington Saturday in league play.
Junior guard Stevie Browning (Logan, W.Va.) led Marshall with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, 3-of-6 from distance. Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) had 14 points, followed by C.J. Burks (Martinsburg, W.Va.) and Jon Elmore (Charleston, W.Va.) with 12 points apiece. Elmore added six rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Senior forward James Kelly (Ann Arbor, Mich.) wrapped up double-figure scoring for the Herd with 11 points.
The Herd got off to a slow start against the Blue Raiders, with its first score coming on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Taylor with 16:49 remaining in the first half. Marshall came out of the first media timeout trailing 7-3, but an alley-oop from Elmore to Kelly provided a spark in the offense. The Herd used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 10-7 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. The Blue Raiders held the lead at 13-12 shortly, but an 8-0 run over 51 seconds propelled the Herd ahead 20-13. Marshall took its first double-digit lead of the evening with 5:41 left in the first half following a slam by Terrence Thompson (Durham, N.C.). The Herd led for 13:51 and went into the locker room with a 37-28 lead.
Marshall came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. An 11-2 run opened up the game for the Herd, which held a 56-36 lead with 15:23 remaining in the contest. A 15-2 run gave Marshall a 24 point lead with 7:13 to play, its biggest lead of the night. The Blue Raiders leading scorer this season, Giddy Potts, fouled out at 4:07 with 10 points.
The Herd out-shot MT, 45.2 percent (28-of-62) to 38.5 percent (25-of-65), but the Blue Raiders had the 43-40 edge in rebounding.
WITH THE WIN…
– Marshall tied its overall win total (11) and C-USA win total (7) from last season, when the Herd finished 11-21, 7-11.
– Marshall earned its best eight-game start to conference play since going 7-1 to start the 1996-97 Southern Conference season under Greg White.
– The Herd continued its longest home win streak in conference play since winning 12 in a row over three years (1996-98) in the Southern Conference.
– The Herd earned its longest home win streak since winning seven from Nov. 22, 2010, to Jan. 10, 2011.