DENTON, Texas — Conference USA has a new all-time scoring leader in men’s basketball.
Marshall University’s Jon Elmore scored 20 points and backcourt mate C.J. Burks popped in a team-high 21 to power the Thundering Herd to an 85-82 win over North Texas on Sunday in front of 3,108 fans inside the Super Pit.
Elmore increased his career points to 2,562 to pass former record-holder UTEP’s Stefon Jackson, who scored 2,546 points from 2006-09. The senior got a game ball after the contest to bring home to be placed most likely in the Marshall Hall of Fame.
The Herd completed a 2-0 road swing in C-USA’s four-game bonus round, atoned for a regular-season loss at North Texas (20-10, 8-9) and extended the Mean Green’s current skid to six games.
“I’ve been blessed to have a great family, great teammates,” Elmore said in a postgame television interview by Stadium. “I’ve been lucky. I tried not to think about it. If the points come, great. Make winning plays is what it’s all about.”
North Texas opened the game with 13 straight points and held a 43-31 lead at halftime.
Marshall took its first lead (50-49) with 14:16 left on a 3-point basket by Taevion Kinsey.
Elmore said Herd coach Dan D’Antoni got on the team during the halftime break.
“He was fired up,” Elmore said. “It was blank, half, blank, wake up. He’s given me the keys.”
After some back and forth, the Herd went ahead to stay 61-59 on a layup by Kinsey with 10:14 left. Marshall got the lead to nine (75-66) on a basket by Burks with 3:53 to go. The Mean Green got to within two (82-80) with 25 seconds to play, but the Herd held on by converting free throws.
“It’s been up and down, but we’ve put a few games together,” Elmore said.
Kinsey, a freshman, added 19 points and the Herd enjoyed a 31-11 advantage in bench points. The Herd had 16 points off turnovers to 11 for the Mean Green and outscored the home team 54-34 in the second half. Marshall made 13 of 28 3-point tries. Elmore nailed 5-of-8 and Burks 2-of-4.
Umoja Gibson paced North Texas with 21 points. Jorden Duffy added 20 and Michael Miller 18.
The win extended Marshall’s current win streak to three.
Marshall returns home for its final two regular season games.
FIU visits Cam Henderson Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Senior Day is Saturday against FAU. Tipoff is noon.Right now, Marshall is sixth in the C-USA standings and one more win locks up that spot for the C-USA Tournament scheduled March 13-16 in Frisco, Texas.
The top 12 teams go to the league tournament where the Herd is defending champion. Marshall swept the Florida schools at home in the regular season.