FRISCO, Texas — C.J. Burks scored 29 points, Ajdin Penava paired 23 points with 12 rebounds and fourth-seeded Marshall coasted to a 95-81 over UT-San Antonio at the Conference USA tournament Thursday night.
While the Herd (22-10) handled its business in the quarterfinals, its path through the bracket became less daunting thanks to a shocking upset that transpired on an adjacent court. Regular-season champion Middle Tennessee State fell 71-68 to ninth-seeded Southern Miss (16-17) in overtime.
Marshall beat Southern Miss 85-66 in their January meeting. With another win Friday afternoon, D’Antoni’s club will be playing for the NCAA automatic bid.
The chalk held up in Friday’s other semifinal, with second-seeded Old Dominion advancing to face third-seeded Western Kentucky.
Herd point guard Jon Elmore added 15 points and his 11 assists were one shy of the C-USA tournament record.
Burks made all nine of his free throws and shot 9-of-16 from the floor. He poured in 18 first-half points as Marshall took a 52-41 lead.
“Performances like this begin with being locked in,” Burks said. “The coaching staff did a great job preparing us for the game and we came out with the right energy to win the game like this.”
Byron Frohnen had 16 points and 13 rebounds for fifth-seeded UTSA (18-14).