Basketball

Herd Falls At EKU, 89-80, Despite Career Night for Allison

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HUNTINGTON — The Thundering Herd of Marshall is 25-11 at the Cam Henderson Center under Coach Danny D’Antoni. Now the Herd needs to work on winning on the road, as Marshall fell to 5-2 on the season — 5-0 at home, and now 0-2 on the road  — with an uninspiring effort at Eastern Kentucky, falling 89-80. EKU improved to 5-4 overall, winning its third game in a row and fourth in its last five.

Marshall’s only other loss was at Ohio State eight days ago, playing without senior Ryan Taylor who was suspended for that game. The Herd bounced back with a home win over Ohio U., 98-88, with the return of Taylor but the loss of 6-foot-7 junior forward Terrence Thompson, who has a problem with his lower abdomen, and Thompson was still out at EKU.

But the Colonels sophomore forward Nick Mayo poured in a career-high 30 points and matched a career-high with 10 rebounds to lead the Eastern Kentucky to the win on Saturday afternoon at McBrayer Arena. Mayo also dished out four assists and blocked a shot in the win. It is Mayo’s second double-double of the year. He scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win over Idaho State on November 22.

The Colonels led for most of the game, only trailing Marshall for 1:38 of clock time. The Thundering Herd took one of their two leads in the first half, 25-24, but senior wing Jaylen Babb-Harrison rattled off eight straight points to put Eastern back in front 32-29. EKU went into the locker room at halftime up by a point, 39-38.

With the game tied, 43-43, early in the second half, Eastern exploded on an 13-3 run and grabbed a 13-point lead, 56-43, when senior guard Isaac McGlone drained a trey with 13:37 to play. The Colonels put their foot on the gas after that, eventually extending the lead to 16, 76-60, following a jumper in the paint by Mayo with 5:21 on the clock.

D’Antoni told Steve Cotton after the game he thought his team looked tired. He expects his big men to step up until Thompson can return, and the team has much to prove on the road.

“We started slow, and it looked like we were running in the mud,” D’Antoni said. “We have got to come back after big wins and play with some fire. We haven’t proved anything on the road, and we need efficient numbers to be put up by our players. During the comeback, we started to move the ball again.”

The Thundering Herd was not done even down 16. Marshall went on a 15-2 run of its own to cut the lead to 78-75 with 2:34 remaining in the game. EKU junior guard Dillon Avare silenced the run, and the comeback attempt, with a clutch three-pointer from the corner with 1:12 on the clock. That trifecta sparked EKU to an 11-2 run, as the Colonels sank seven free throws in the final minute to seal the win in the 61st meeting with the Thunderiing Herd.

This was Marshall’s first visit to EKY’s McBrayer Arena since Dec. 6, 1994, when current Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donavan was in his first of two years leading Marshall. EKU leads the series all-time, 23-18, but it was the Colonels first win in five games over the Herd.

Marshall was led in scoring by Taylor and junior point guard Jon Elmore with 19 points each, but it was the first time in five games that Elmore had not scored at least 20 points in a game. Taylor was just 5-of-16, including 0-for-3 from three, and is just 1-of-9 from behind the arc in his last two games.

Elmore was 6-of-19 from the field, but only 3-of-11 from three. He is just 17-of-52 from behind the arc this season (32.7%) for the player who shot 35% last season from distance. He had seven assists, but also seven turnovers as the Herd had 16 in the game.

Stepping up for another big game was true freshman Ky’re Allison, with a career best 14 points off the bench, making 4-of-6 from three for all his field goals, and was 2-of-2 from the free throw line along with three rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes before fouling out.

“Ky’re had a great night tonight, he is not afraid of the big situations,” D’Antoni said. “He gave us good minutes tonight. But this team has to stop taking its foot off the pedal in games, and I’m seeing that in practices too.

“We put on our press, it was just effective — we have to play like that in the entire game. Jon didn’t play like he did the last few games, Aleska (Nikolic), Ajdin Penava looked a step slow to me, and maybe we just didn’t want it as bad as they did tonight.”

Austin Loop had 10 points, hitting 3-of-8 from three, while Penava had nine points and six rebounds and Stevie Browning had nine points, four rebounds, an assist and two steals. Nikolic and Milan Mijovic both played double digit minutes, but neither scored and each player had two rebounds.

For EKU, Jaylen Babb-Harrison had 15 points and six rebounds, Asante Gist had 13 points and six rebounds and Isaac McGlone also had 11 points, three rebounds and five assists. The Colonels who’s 61% in the second half, and hit 28-of-55 (51%) for the game compared to Marshall, who only hit 24-of-65 (37%).

The Colonels out-rebounded the Herd, 42-to-35, and outscored the Herd in the paint, 32-to-24. While the Herd had five fewer turnovers, 16-to-21, than EKU, the Colonels outscored the Herd off turnovers, 25-to-17. Marshall hit just 33.3% from three (12-of-36) and allowed Eastern to hit 11-of-28 (39.3%), and the Maroon and White made 22-of-33 free throws (66.7%) to the Green and White’s 20-of-28 (71.4%).

Marshall will be back in action on Tuesday night at 7 p.m., when the Herd renews ties with former Southern Conference rival, Chattanooga, in the “Round House” in Tennessee. Airtime is 5:30 p.m. for the First Sentry Bank College Basketball Today Show on ESPN Huntington 94.1 FM and AM 930 as well on The Dawg 93.7 FM.

THUNDER NOTES

  • Marshall has scored at least 70 points in each game this year. It is the first time the Herd has done so since the 1995-96 season, the second year for MU under Coach Billy Donovan.
  • Ryan Taylor finished with 19 points, which pushes him past Hal Greer for No. 20 on Marshall’s career scoring list. Taylor has 1,386 points during his four seasons. Greer (1955-58) finished his career with 1,377 points in three seasons before playing for the franchise Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers. Greer is a Top 50 player in the NBA’s first 50 years and is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Taylor eclipsed 1,000 shots attempted for his career. He finished 5-for-16 shooting, bringing his career total for field goals attempted to 1,006 — ranks No. 24 all-time at Marshall.
  • Taylor made 9-of-12 free throws, which moved him up the MU career list for free throws made. He now has 360 free throws made in his career, which moved him past Bob Redd (355) for No. 9 in MU history.
  • Taylor also had four assists, which increases his career total to 237 – No. 21 on Marshall’s all-time list. He passed Harold Simmons, who now ranks No. 22 in career assists.
  • Jon Elmore recorded seven assists, which moved him past Kareem Canty (179) for No. 27 on Marshall’s all-time list.
  • Ky’re Allison scored a career-high 14 points, which surpassed his previous career-high of six at Ohio State (Nov. 25).
  • Austin Loop has yet to miss a free throw this year, as he is a perfect 17-of-17 from the line this year. Loop has scored three three-pointers in three straight games. It is his first time to do so since Dec. 9-12, 2015.
  • Loop has 205 career three-pointers, which is No. 4 in program history. He is five away from tying Joda Burgess (1997-01) at No. 3. Loop has made at least one three-pointer in 12 straight games, which dates back to the 2015-16 season.
  • Sophomore forward Ajdin Penava has now scored double-digit points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He scored 10 tonight.

About Woody Woodrum

Senior Editor and columnist/writer for Herd Insider since 2003, with Kindred Communications on radio for Marshall football/men's basketball pregame and postgame shows since 1996 and with First Sentry Bank Sportsline (Also Scott on Sports, Sideline Sports and Herd Insider Sportsline) since 1997. Married to Liz (12-22-1990) and one son, Tre' (11-7-1997). National Sportswriters & Sportscasters West Virginia Broadcaster of the Year winner for radio, 2000; won W.Va. Broadcasters Best Talk Show in 2013 with co-host Paul Swann and W.Va. Broadcasters Best Play-by-Play in 2015 with Jason Toy (Huntington at South Charleston, state AAA semifinals). Member of (College) Football Writers Association of America, (College) Basketball Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Color commentator for Marshall football (1999-2000), for Marshall basketball (2004-2016) and Marshall baseball (2004-2016). Color for high school football at Spring Valley (1999-2008), Cabell Midland (2009-2012) and Huntington (W.Va.) High School (2013-2016).

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