Beyers block seals Marshall victory
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Marshall’s Thundering Herd comes home 2-0 in Conference USA men’s basketball after opening the league season with two close road wins.
Charlotte had a chance to beat Marshall on Saturday until 6-foot-9 sophomore forward Mikel Beyers rejected a shot by Jon Davis of the 49ers in the final second and the Herd held on for an 85-84 victory in Halton Arena where the 4,014 spectators was a better than average crowd for the 49ers. On Thursday at Old Dominion, a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Jarrod West with 1.9 ticks left gave Marshall a 70-67 win.
“We’re a team getting better,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “The bandwagon is not full. Let’s get on it. Let’s have a good time this season and root these kids to the finish.”
Marshall (9-6, 2-0 C-USA) completed a stretch of five consecutive road contests with a 3-2 record. It was the program’s longest string of games away from home since playing six straight in the 1992-93 season.
The return for a 7 p.m. Saturday showdown with Western Kentucky (8-7, 1-1) in Cam Henderson Center will be Marshall’s first appearance at home in 33 days. Old Dominion (11-4, 1-1) bounced back at home Saturday night and beat Western Kentucky, 69-66. The Monarchs rallied to win after falling behind 21-0.
Marshall beat Western Kentucky last season in the C-USA finals on its way to the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers were picked for first place in the C-USA preseason poll ahead of the Herd.
Davis, a 6-foot-3 senior, pumped in 37 points for the 49ers (3-10, 0-2), was fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 47 seconds to go and made two of three from the line that put the 49ers ahead, 84-83. Marshall answered with 6-4 senior guard C.J. Burks, who led the Herd with 25 points, taking the lead away on a drive underneath for a reverse layup with 31 seconds remaining.
“We’re a team getting better. The bandwagon is not full. Let’s get on it. Let’s have a good time this season and root these kids to the finish.”
The 49ers worked to get a good shot for Davis and he missed from three-point distance, Bo Blight collected the rebound and head coach Ron Sanchez signaled for a time out with only 1.1 seconds left. A lengthy officials’ review changed the remaining time to 1.5 seconds.
Davis took the ball after the timeout and his 3-point try was blocked by Beyers to end the game.
“We told him (Beyers) that (Davis) was going to go to that corner for the shot,” D’Antoni said. “He got a little loose, a little more than I wanted, but I told Mikel to go there and he did.”
Marshall went ahead by 11 at 7:28 in the first half and Charlotte fought back to take a 55-52 lead with 16:32 left to play. Beyers gave the Herd a 70-62 edge on a pick-and-roll move for a layup, but there was still 10:37 left in the game.
The teams were tied four times before Davis put his team on top in the final minute.
Charlotte came as one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation at 57.3 per game and lit the scoreboard for the most it’s scored all season while using seven of its eight available players, including two walk-ons who played extended minutes. The 49ers also had their best shooting performance of 54.5 and one of their best free throw shooting games (27-for-32).
Milos Supica of the 49ers, a 6-9 sophomore, supported Davis with 24 points and 6-7 freshman Brandon Younger tossed in 10. Blight, one of the walk-ons who played, snagged 10 rebounds.
Marshall overcame serious foul trouble that caused senior point guard Jon Elmore, West and 6-9 sophomore forward Jannson Williams to sit out long stretches of the second half. Elmore finished with 16 points while 6-5 freshman power forward Taevion Kinsey and Williams scored 14 and 13 respectively.
The Herd made 45.2 percent of its shots, hit 10 of 29 from the 3-point line and was 19-for-24 at the foul line.
WESTERN KENTUCKY AT MARSHALL
7 p.m. Saturday
Cam Henderson Center Huntington
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