Marshall comes up short in late stages of 83-76 loss to Old Dominion

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A triple-double by Nate Martin. A Marshall career-best scoring night for Kevon Voyles. Just needed a win to make the night even more enjoyable.

Old Dominion, though, playing its first game without suspended leading scorer Yamari Allette, made enough plays to overcome an eight-point deficit with 5:55 left, to knock off the Thundering Herd, 83-76, Thursday night in front of a stunned crowd of 4,029 fans at Cam Henderson Center.

ODU got the clutch shots from Bryce Baker, Tyrone Williams, Chaunce Jenkins and Devin Ceasar in the closing minutes while the Herd suffered turnovers, missed shots and shaky foul shooting to allow the Monarchs to sweep the Herd in the regular season.

When Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni addressed the media after the game, the look on his face showed the disappointment.

“Tough loss. Definitely needed to win,” D’Antoni said. “Defense needed to win the game we didn’t. I thought we defended well, they shot well. We made critical mistakes at the end. Missed free throws, turnovers. Got to make plays. We didn’t do that today.”

When Voyles made a free throw with 5:55 left, the Herd, which had a two-game win streak end, led by eight at 71-63.

Old Dominion, which began the night in last place in the league, got a three from Baker, a basket by Williams and two free throws by Williams to cut the lead to 71-70 with 3:57 to play.

Martin countered on a follow for a 73-70 lead with 2:51 to go.

Baker, who had four threes, nailed one with 2:39 left to tie the game at 73. Jenkins later hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Monarchs the lead for good, 74-73, with 1:33 remaining.

Baker drained another three with 1:09 on the clock for a 77-73 lead. Ceasar followed with two free throws for a 79-73 cushion. Martin would seconds later make 1-of-2 free throws, but Williams knocked down a pair of foul shots with 25 seconds left for an 81-74 spread. Kamdyn Curfman, who had a tough shooting night, got a basket with 18 seconds left to get the Herd within five. After a timeout, the Monarchs broke the Herd press and Ceaser slammed home the closing basket to seal the deal.

Allette had scored 27 points to lead the Monarchs over the Herd, 91-66, back on Jan. 18 in Norfolk, Va. Sunday, the freshman suspended from the team for “conduct unbecoming of a Monarch.”

“We’re up seven (actually eight), you’ve got to salt it away,” D’Antoni said. “We didn’t do the things you’ve got to do. It’s a game of making shots, making plays. We didn’t make them. They’ve got multiple scorers,” D’Antoni said. “Got to get the locker room right and move on.”

Martin finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He had just been named SBC Player of the Week for his play in two Herd wins last week.

“He’s a warrior,” D’Antoni said. “I take my hat off to him. He’s someone in there fighting.”

Voyles led the Herd with 23 points. Obinna Anochili-Killen added 15 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Curfman had 11, but made just 4-of-19 shots, including 3-of-15 from three.

“He had shots he makes, but he didn’t get it done tonight,” D’Antoni said.

Ceaser led Old Dominion (6-16, 2-8 SBC) with 20 points. Jenkins netted 17, Williams 15 and Baker 12 (on four threes).

Martin and Voyles downplayed their numbers due to the outcome.

“The offense was not clicking like it was,” Martin said of the Herd’s play down the stretch. “They got some buckets. We gave them way too much life early. We had them down and gave them way too much again.”

Before Thursday, Jon Elmore had the Herd’s last triple-double on Jan. 20, 2018.

“Down the stretch we’ve got to do better,” Voyles said.

Marshall (11-12, 6-4 SBC) is back in action Saturday at home against Coastal Carolina. The Marshall women take on James Madison at 1 p.m. The men get the back half of the doubleheader at 4.

“Not a big fan,” D’Antoni said of the twinbill. “Your routine is different. I’d rather go first. It’s good for Marshall and we’ll get through it.”

James Madison routed Coastal Carolina, 105-67, Thursday night in Harrisonburg, Va. The Chanticleers are 6-15, 3-7 SBC.

“We don’t need motivation,” Voyles said. “We need to have the mindset to play the same way the whole game.”

When the Monarchs beat the Herd on January 18, it was their first game after learning head coach Jeff Jones would not return to the bench this season. He suffered a heart attack during a tournament in December in Hawaii. Assistant coach Kieran Donohue is serving as interim head coach.

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