Marshall Tops Western Kentucky, 87-82

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Balanced contributions from across the roster, including a seventh consecutive double-double from Ryan Taylor(Indianapolis) helped lift Marshall men’s basketball (9-16, 5-7) to its fifth win in six outings: an 87-82 defeat of Western Kentucky (16-8, 9-3) in front of a raucous crowd of 6,135 at Cam Henderson Center on Saturday evening.

With the win, Marshall swept its three-game home stand and earned its fifth win in league play – the most for the Herd since it went 6-10 in 2012-13.

Five Marshall players reached double-figure scoring: Austin Loop (South Webster, Ohio) with 23, Justin Edmonds (Albion, Mich.) with 15, Taylor with 14, DeVince Boykins (Forest City, N.C.) with a career-high 10 and JP Kambola (Toronto, Ontario) also with 10.

Western Kentucky held a first half lead of 30-25 lead at the eight-minute mark, but the Herd’s open-floor offense versus the Hilltopper zone effectively led to an 11-0 run until 4:43. Behind the run came Hilltopper shooting guard Trency Jackson with two three pointers in the final three minutes, but the Herd managed to garner a 47-43 halftime lead.

From the start of the second half until the final five minutes, the teams traded the lead multiple times. The Herd continued its strategy, except one minor alteration in playing Taylor more at the high post, which proved to be consequential for its opponent. Going into the last five minutes, Taylor, playing the high post, attracted the attention of Western Kentucky’s center. After he rolled from the pick he set, the swiftness disparity freed up three to four feet of space for a three pointer to break a 69-69 tie at 5:20.

From that point on, the Herd piled on the big plays. After a Kambola block, Boykins threw the hammer down on a dunk at 4:27 to increase the lead to 74-69. A few quick Hilltopper 3-pointers cut the lead to four, but the Herd prevailed after a game of cat and mouse against a full-court press and took home one of its biggest wins of the season, 87-82.

The biggest team stat differential of the game were points off turnovers, as Marshall had 20 to Western Kentucky’s eight.

THE SERIES
After dropping the earlier matchup (Jan. 4, 81-62) in Bowling Green, Ky., the Herd split this year’s series with the Hilltoppers. WKU still leads the all-time series, 12-6. All six of Marshall’s wins have come at Cam Henderson Center.

MILESTONES

-          DeVince Boykins: career-high 10 points (5-of-5)

-          Ryan Taylor: seventh consecutive double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds), 12th of the season

-          Austin Loop: career-high six 3-pointers (6-of-10)

-          Aleksa Nikolic: career-high nine assists

 

WITH THE WIN…

-          The Herd earned its fifth victory in the last six games

-          Marshall gained a four-game home win streak in C-USA play for the first time since a four-game stretch at the end of 2010-11 (Feb. 16 to March 5, 2011)

-          The Herd claimed a three-game win streak in C-USA regular-season play for the first time since 2012 (Feb. 11 vs. East Carolina, Feb. 18 at SMU, Feb. 22 vs. Houston)

-          Marshall tied its longest win streak of the year (three games)

-          The Herd gained its most wins in C-USA play (five) since 2012-13, when it went 6-10

 

UP NEXT
Marshall will make its second-to-last road trip of the year when it travels to Middle Tennessee (Feb. 19) and UAB (Feb. 21). Both games are slated for 8 p.m. ET tip times. For all the latest information about Marshall men’s basketball, follow @HerdMBB on Twitter.

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