HAMILTON, Ontario – A strong second half propelled the Marshall men’s basketball team to a 81-56 win over McMaster University Monday night at Burridge Gymnasium.
It was Marshall’s fourth win in four days on its exhibition tour of Canada which concludes Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game against A Game Hoops.
Senior Elijah Pittman led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting including two threes. He also added nine rebounds and two blocks. Freshman Kareem Canty scored 15 points and had four assists.
After suffering a minor ankle injury early in Sunday’s win over Western, freshman Ryan Taylor was back on the court and put up a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds, in just 17 minutes of action.
“I was proud of our kids,” said head coach Tom Herrion. “It was our fourth game in four days and we played so hard. We didn’t always play well, but we played really hard and started to share the ball. A lot of good things happened. “
Both teams had a rough time shooting the ball in the first half. Marshall missed shots around the rim and shot 35.9 percent (14-of-39) from the field while McMaster missed some open threes and shot 12.8 percent (5-of-39) from the field and just 1-of-18 from three-point range. The Herd went into halftime with a 33-18 lead.
Much can be attributed to the poor shooting, mainly tired legs from four consecutive games and the fact that Burridge Gymnasium, located on McMaster’s campus, had no air conditioning.
“It was sweltering,” Herrion said. “It might have been one of the hottest gyms I’ve ever coached in. That drained us a little bit, but our depth was good. “
Marshall shot 73.3 percent (11-of-15) in the third quarter, its best mark of the four games in Canada and outscored the Marauders 27-17. The Herd’s largest lead of 35 came with 5:36 remaining, before a late run by McMaster made the final margin 25.
The Thundering Herd was 20-of-29 (69.0 percent) in the second half including a 4-of-8 mark from three-point range. Marshall shot over 50 percent for the fourth-straight game and made exactly half of its shots on Monday (34-of-68). The Herd held McMaster to 22.9 percent shooting from the field and 12.9 percent (4-of-31) from three-point range.
“They (McMaster) were so excited to play this game and trumpeting the fact that no American school has been here in 10 years,” Herrion said. “Their coach was so excited and they had a nice crowd.”
McMaster was led by Leon Alenxander and Nathan McCarthy who finished with 10 points each. Taylor Black brought down a game-high 11 rebounds to help the Marauders win the rebounding battle 50-47.