EL PASO, Texas — Jon Elmore finished with 22 points and seven rebounds and Marshall held off UTEP 74-65 after letting most of a double-digit lead evaporate Saturday night.
C.J. Burks scored 16 points and Ajdin Penava added 15 points and seven rebounds as the Herd (15-8, 6-4) salvaged a win against one of the teams at the bottom of Conference USA.
Marshall forced 17 turnovers, ending an 0-6 drought at the Don Haskins Center.
Freshman Darius George’s only basket loomed large. He scored while being fouled and added the free throw to give the Herd a 64-59 lead with 3:52 left. When Elmore followed by hitting a wide-open 3, Marshall was on its way to gaining split on its road trip after losing Thursday at UT San Antonio.
“We had a lot more energy tonight,” said coach Dan D’Antoni. “We didn’t execute really well or shoot well, but we had the energy to be a winner. We lacked that the other night. The kids listened to my complaints about the last game and improved. It’s a good road win.”
Evan Gilyard scored 20 points for UTEP (7-16, 2-9), which trailed 34-24 at the half.
“I give our guys credit. We really fought hard to get back and get it cut to two,” said UTEP’s Phil Johnson, who took over as interim coach when Tim Floyd resigned in November.
“We had a really poor start, and the effort and energy was not what it needed to be, so we addressed that at halftime. I thought we came out and played a lot harder and tougher in the second half.”