SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The Thundering Herd men’s basketball team (16-15, 10-8 C-USA) held off a late UTSA (13-18, 7-11) comeback to take its final game of the 2019-20 regular season 82-77 on the road in San Antonio. With the win, Marshall clinched the sixth seed in the Conference Tournament.
“We made it exciting for them,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said about the Roadrunners comeback attempt. “They have some explosive scorers and you can’t make mistakes. I hope we have a season-ending game to those types of mistakes.”
With 20 points on a 6-for-12 day from the field, junior Mikel Beyers led the way for the Herd. The forward added five rebounds to his stat line in the win.
Junior guard Jarrod West followed Beyers up by pouring 15 points into the basket to go with a game-high seven assists and five rebounds.
Redshirt-freshman guard Andrew Taylor scored 12, while sophomore Taevion Kinsey and junior Jannson Williams each had 10. Williams grabbed seven rebounds and had a game-high three steals.
Darius George collected a team-high eight rebounds, while scoring seven points.
The Roadrunners came out and scored 10 of the first 13 points in the game, seven of which were scored by Jhivvan Jackson, who finished the game with a game-high 37.
MU answered the early UTSA run by going on a 17-5 roll to take a five-point, 20-15, lead at the second media timeout with 11:52 on the clock.
The Herd didn’t trail the final 14:14 of the half and lead by as many as 14 points, twice, in the opening frame. It used a 7-2 run in the final 1:30 to take a 52-40 lead into the break.
At halftime, Marshall shot 50 percent making 18 of its 36 attempts in the first half and it outrebounded UTSA 24-18.
MU was cruising through the majority of the second half and held a 19-point lead, 66-47, with 10:26 left in the game. However, UTSA used 6-0 and 7-0 runs to cut the game to single digits, 70-62, with just under six minutes on the clock.
Jackson then lead the Roadrunners with a 9-4 run to cut the Herd lead to four, 75-71, at the 2:31 mark. Beyers had different plans as he hit a layup and drew a foul for an and-one to extend the lead back to seven.
Jackson hit another three, but after a missed shot, West grabbed the rebound and threw it ahead to Kinsey for the breakaway slam. Not going away yet, Jackson made another to triple to cut their deficit to three, 80-77, with 10 ticks on the clock.
West was fouled and went to the free-throw line where he hit a pair of free throws to seal the win for MU.
Marshall is 7-1 going back to last season in Bonus Play games.
The Thundering Herd is 5-0 when it has five in double-digit scoring, marking the first time this season it has done so in back-to-back games.
West has scored 10 or more points in 27 games this season.
Beyers has scored 20 or more points twice this season and has had at least 10 in back-to-back games.
Williams has reached double-figures four times in the last five games.
Kinsey poured 10 points into the basket in all, but two games this season and is on an 11-game streak of reaching double figures, while Taylor has reached the feat in four consecutive contests.
MU is 10-3 when scoring at least 80 points this season.
Marshall outrebounded UTSA 48-40.
Marshall looks to the Conference USA Tournament beginning on Wednesday when it will play 11th-seeded UTEP as the sixth seed. Game time is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on ESPN+.