Herd Trumps North Texas, 80-73

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – All five Thundering Herd starters, as well as sixth man Jay Johnson (Versailles, Ky.), reached double-figure scoring in an 80-73 win for Marshall men’s basketball (8-16, 4-7) against North Texas (9-13, 3-7) on Saturday night at Cam Henderson Center.

As for individual headlines, JP Kambola (Toronto, Ontario) recorded the first double-double of his career (14 points, 12 rebounds) while Ryan Taylor (Indianapolis) extended his deuces streak to six consecutive games with his 11th of the year (12 points, 10 rebounds).

Since its nine-game skid ended Jan. 24 against UTEP, the Herd has won four of its last five games, only dropping an 81-57 contest at Louisiana Tech last week.

The Thundering Herd started the first half off with hot hands from behind the arc that included Justin Edmonds (Albion, Mich.), Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio), and Taylor. This ended up as a 12-4 run that lasted until 16:40. North Texas seemed to anticipate an inside attack at the start and gave Marshall’s corner shooters at least two feet of space after they received the ball.  The lead grew to nine at 14:05 when Taylor stole the ball and had an emphatic dunk to make it 18-9.  Unfortunately for the Herd, North Texas called a timeout and afterwards, began to set the pace of the game.  Until the 9:00 mark, the Mean Green closed in on their defenders and denied the Herd’s pick and roll attempts to score in the paint and open up three point shooter’s in the corner.  By containing Marshall to the perimeter, UNT jumped out to a 21-18 lead.

Afterwards, assertion commenced for Marshall as it began to drive to the basket without the help of a pick and finished the half leading in points in the paint with 18 compared to the Mean Green’s 14. Marshall led at halftime 38-35. Leading the dirty work was Taylor, Kambola and Johnson with seven points each.

Tensions brewed in the second half and the scoreboard reflected such emotion, with rapid lead changes until the game reached the 5:31 mark. At this point of the hotly-contested game, Kambola, with the help of a friendly bounce, hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to make the score 68-64. The most vital shot of the game may have come from Marshall guard Aleksa Nikolic (Pancevo, Serbia), whose lone three of the contest at 4:34 increased the lead to five, with the score at 71-66. From that point on, the see-saw symbolized game leaned towards Marshall, winning 80-73.

North Texas’ Jordan Williams, Colin Voss, and Deandre Harris all scored in double figures with 23, 17, and 11 points respectively.  However, their double-figure total was doubled, as Taylor (12), Kambola (14), Nikolic (15), Edmonds (13), Loop (11) and Johnson (14) all reached team-high marks.

UP NEXT
The Herd gets a week’s hiatus before hosting Western Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 14, 5:30 p.m. ET. The Valentine’s Day game will be televised by American Sports Network. For all the latest information about Marshall men’s basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter.

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