Herd gets road conference win at Middle Tennessee

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn Redshirt sophomore forward Iran Bennett’s second-career double-double powered Marshall men’s basketball (8-8, 2-1 C-USA) past Middle Tennessee State by a final score of 79-75 on Thursday night at the Murphy Center. The Herd is on a three-game conference road winning streak going back to last season.

“Any road win is a good win,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said after the victory “I lit my cigar twice, but had to put it out. They came down and put in two threes. One was a desperation shot and the other clanked off the back and fell in. I thought we played well up until that point.”

Bennett recorded his double with 17 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field (7-of-14).

Junior Jarrod West followed up Bennett by pouring 16 points into the basket, with 13 coming in the second half where he rattled home all three of his attempts from beyond-the-arc. The guard added three assists and a pair of steals to his stat line.

Sophomore Taevion Kinsey and junior Darius George closed out four-student athletes for Marshall with 10 or more points with 13 and 11, respectively. Each made five shots from the field as Kinsey had seven assists and George had seven rebounds. Williams blocked a team-best three shots.

The Herd jumped out ahead to start the contest as Bennett made a layup for the first points of the contest. The forward closed out what was a 13-4 run with another layup as the Blue Raiders called a timeout four minutes into the game.

Through the next 11 minutes, Middle Tennessee chipped away at the Marshall lead and went ahead for the first time of the game at the 5:21 mark with a 28-27 lead. Its lead lasted just under a minute as Taylor drained a three, his third of the half, to jump start an 8-0 run. MU took the momentum and led 39-32 at the break.

The Herd shot 50 percent in the second half making 16 of its 32 attempts.

MU started the second half on a 7-2 run that ended with a three-point play by Bennett for its largest lead of the contest of 13 points, 46-33. MT wasn’t ready to give up yet as it went on a run of its own and cut the Herd lead to three, 49-46, with just over 13 minutes left in the game.

Marshall nearly maintained a lead of at least five points the rest of the way, but a few desperation threes cut its lead to two late, 77-75, with 16 seconds left. A Williams dunk eight seconds later sealed the four-point victory.

Kinsey has had at least 10 points in all, but one game this season.

Tonight was Bennett’s first game in double-figure scoring in the last five and it’s the eighth time he has done so this season.

West has had 10 or more points in four of the last five games, while George has done so in two of the last four.

This is the second time in the last two calendar years that Marshall has been on a three-game road conference winning streak.

Marshall closes its first conference road trip at Birmingham with a contest on Saturday afternoon against UAB.