HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Jon Elmore’s triple-double included two key assists in overtime as Marshall edged UAB 86-78 on Saturday night in Conference USA action.
C.J. Burks capped his 24-point night with four straight free throws in the extra period as the Herd (14-6, 5-2) followed up a win over Middle Tennessee State by beating a second straight league contender.
“Getting two in a row like that is big,” Elmore said. “We didn’t even shoot the ball great, but we locked up defensively and made some huge plays offensively.”
Ajdin Penava finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds while adding six blocks to his nation-leading average for Marshall.
Elmore had 14 points and 12 rebounds and made the last two of his 10 assists count. His drive-and-dish found Penava in the corner for the go-ahead 3 at 81-78. With 1:03 left in overtime Elmore set up an insurance 3 by Rondale Watson, who scored 16.
“That’s what happens when we have good ball movement in the offense we have,” said Burks. “Having a good point guard like we do … it all starts off with him. He comes down and gets the ball rolling, gets the ball moving, and we get open shots. When you get in the flow of things, you hit shots.”
Marshall needed its 18-of-18 performance at the foul line, where UAB struggled to 5-of-13.
Chris Cokley finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers (13-7, 4-3), including six at the end of regulation that tied the game at 76-all.
Cokley’s dunk that knotted the score at 78-78 were UAB’s only points in overtime when the visitors shot 1-of-10.
Nate Darling made five 3s on his way to 21 points for the Blazers, who rallied from 11 points down in the second half. William Lee had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Nick Norton collected 10 of UAB’s 26 assists.
“At the end of the day, you come in on the road, you have 26 assists, which is great, but you just can’t shoot 5-for-13 from the free throw line against one of the best teams in the league,” said UAB coach Robert Ehsan.
Elmore’s second triple-double of the season was the sixth in Marshall history, following three by Hassan Whiteside and one DeAndre Kane.
“Jon’s a competitor,” Herd coach Dan D’Antoni said. “He finds ways to contribute and make our team better. He’s a tough nut.”