People say everything is bigger in Texas. Thursday night against North Texas, Marshall certainly lived up to the expectations.
Jon Elmore led the Herd with 21 points while tying a career-high eight assists and Stevie Browning tallied a career-high 19 points as Marshall (8-9, 4-0) blistered North Texas (7-10, 2-2) 97-78 in Denton to move to 4-0 in Conference USA play. It was the Herd's first win over the Mean Green at the Super Pit.
The Herd's four-game winning streak to open conference play marks its best start since opening with the same record to begin the 2011-12 CUSA season.
Marshall opened the contest on a 7-2 run on back-to-back James Kelly dunks and a Ryan Taylor 3-pointer in less than 90 seconds and never looked back the rest of the way. North Texas cut the lead to three on a Jeremy Combs layup, but bookended triples by Browning and Austin Loop sparked an 11-0 Herd run and an 18-4 lead.
Back-to-back Elmore threes pushed the Herd's advantage to 26-11 with 11:40 left in the half. The Mean Green earned a slight reprieve midway through the half, with Taylor and Kelly picking up their second personal fouls, but the Herd's onslaught would not be derailed.
Marshall rolled off a 10-3 run, led by a C.J. Burks 3-pointer and a Browning layup, pushing the lead to 21 points with 9:17 remaining in the half. A pair of J-Mychal Reese free throws trimmed the deficit to 16 with five minutes to go, but Marshall took its largest lead of the game, 61-33, after Ajdin Penava sank two free throws with no time on the clock before the break.
Reese finished with 14 points for North Texas.
The Herd torched the nets in the first half; shooting 56.8 percent from the field (21-of-37) and a scorching 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from long range. Marshall's 61 points are the most in a half this season.
Browning put the Herd up 70-40 on a layup with 16:20 to go, but the Mean Green failed to trim the deficit to fewer than 24 over the next eight minutes. Marshall grabbed its largest lead of the contest, 87-54, after Elmore sank another 3-pointer with 8:08 remaining.
North Texas outscored Marshall 45-36 in the second and closed the contest on a 6-0 run. Rickey Brice, Jr. netted a jumper with 34 seconds to go to bring the Herd's lead to less than 20 points for the first time since 3:26 left in the first half.
Kelly and Taylor saw their production hindered by early foul trouble, finishing with 15 and seven points respectively. Burks added 10 in relief. Terrance Thompson provided a lift off the bench, ending with four points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes of work.
Combs paced the Mean Green with a game-high 28 points and 18 rebounds in the loss.
The Herd has defeated all four of its conference opponents by at least 18 points this season while scoring 90+ in each outing. With the defeat of North Texas, Marshall earned its first road win since defeating Southern Miss 69-54 on Jan. 29, 2015.
Marshall travels to Rice Saturday evening for a matchup with the Owls. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.