HOUSTON — Behind a career-best 36 points from C.J. Burks and Jon Elmore’s latest well-rounded performance, Marshall claimed a 93-80 victory over Rice on Thursday night.
Elmore finished with 28 points and six assists and seven rebounds for the Herd (18-8, 9-4), which trailed in the second half before dispatching one of Conference USA’s worse programs. A 23-5 closing run made the difference.
“It came down in the end in the last five or 10 minutes before we closed things out,” Herd coach Dan D’Antoni said.
Burks’ career night came from 13-of-19 shooting from the field, including 6-of-7 on 3-pointers. The Herd made 13-of-24 from long range.
Forward Ajdin Penava scored 14 points and pulled down 14 rebounds but didn’t impress his coach.
“Ajdin didn’t have his best game. He looked like he was running in mud,” D’Antoni said. “We’re going to take it easy tomorrow. When we go to Dallas, we’ll see if we can start bringing energy a little more early.”
Looking to extend a four-game winning streak. the Herd visits North Texas on Saturday.
Malik Osborne had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Rice (5-21, 2-11).
In some ways, it’s a microcosm of our season,” said Owls coach Scott Pera. “For 37 minutes we played pretty good basketball. The last three were obviously rough. But to (Marshall’s) credit, they shot 13-of-24 from 3. It’s hard to beat a team in any game, at any level, if they shoot that well from 3.”