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Herd bounced from C-USA tournament by Rice

Cody Linn
Marshall Athletics

FRISCO, Texas – The Marshall University men’s basketball team (15-7, 9-5 C-USA) fell in the first round of the 2021 Air Force Reserve C-USA Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott and White Medical Center on Wednesday night inside the Ford Center at the Star to the Rice Owls (15-12, 6-10 C-USA), 72-68.
“Very disappointing, number one,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said after the loss. “We did not play Marshall basketball. I can tell you that. No energy in our pick and rolls and movements. We came to our bench looking tired. It’s disappointing not just to me, but the whole team.”
Marshall’s starters scored 66 of its 68 points, with four in double-figure scoring, led by senior guard Jarrod West’s 19 points. The native of Clarksburg, W.Va., made of 7-of-12 from the field, going 5-for-9 from behind the arc, to go with a game-high seven assists and six rebounds.
Senior forward Mikel Beyers followed him up with 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds in the contest.
Senior forward Jannson Williams and junior guard Taevion brought up the end of the quartet with 11 points each.
Marshall jumped out to the early 4-0 lead with back-to-back layups by Beyers and Andrew Taylor. The Herd hung on to the lead for three minutes and change, before a Rice layup tied the game 10-10 with 15:33 on the clock.
However, MU used an 8-2 run to grab a six-point lead, 18-12, four minutes later.
The Owls then grabbed its first lead of the game as part of a 12-2 streak with five minutes to go in the half at 24-20. The teams traded baskets down the stretch as Rice led 31-29 at the break.
Williams opened the half with a dunk to tie the game at 31-31, but Rice answered with an 8-0 run to grab a 39-31 lead.
Then down by seven, 45-38, with 13:10 left in the game, MU went on a 9-0 run with four points from Kinsey, a layup by Taylor and a three from West to grab back the lead, 47-45, with just over 10 minutes remaining.
However, the Owls answered with a 14-2 streak to push its lead to 10 points, 59-49, the largest of game for either side.
Beyers hit a three with 11 seconds left to pull the Herd within one possession, 71-68, but Rice held off the Herd by making 9-of-10 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
NOTES
This is the Herd’s first loss in the first round of the C-USA tournament since 2015, D’Antoni’s first season at Marshall.
Kinsey scored 10 or more points in all 22 games this season.
Marshall is 9-2 this season when it has four student-athletes score 10 or more points.
MU closed the season 0-4 when scoring 69 or fewer points.
It finished 1-3 in games decided by five or fewer points.
West scored 10 or more points for the first time in his last four games.