Marshall can finally say something it couldn't prior to tipoff Saturday evening against Western Kentucky at Diddle Arena; it won in Bowling Green. Jon Elmore led the Herd with 24 points and a career-high 10 assists and James Kelly added 24, including 18 in the second half, for a 96-93 overtime win.
Tied at 92-92 in overtime, Elmore dished out his 10th assist of the night on an alley-oop out-of-bounds pass leading to a Kelly dunk to put the Herd on top for good with 18 seconds to go. WKU had a chance to tie the game with six seconds remaining, but Fredrick Edmond missed his second free throw attempt, sealing the win for the Herd. The game touted 21 lead changes and 12 ties in the back and forth affair.
Anton Waters opened the game with a layup for the Toppers to grab a 2-0 lead, but Elmore gave the Herd its first lead, 3-2, after draining his first of five triples with 18:41 to go in the half.
In a seesaw battle for position, neither team could find an edge over the next five minutes, with neither pulling away by more than three points. Tied at 13-13, Edmond put the Tops back in front by two, 15-13, but Elmore's second triple of the night put the Herd back in front by one.
With Marshall (13-12, 9-3) looking poised to pull away, Kelly and Ryan Taylor would spend the final 10 minutes of the half on the bench with two personal fouls each, allowing WKU (12-13, 4-8) to mount a comeback.
Coming off the bench, C.J. Burks' first points gave the Herd its largest lead of the half, 25-16 with 9:20 to. Justin Johnson and Edmond mounted the comeback for the Tops, cutting the deficit to 33-30 with 4:52 before the break.
Forced to rely heavily on its bench, Marshall turned to the services of Terrance Thompson in the absence of Kelly and Taylor. Thompson collected three rebounds, two offensive, in less than 30 seconds, allowing the Herd push its lead to 38-31. With Marshall shooting ice cold over the final two minutes, WKU trimmed the Herd's lead to 40-39 after a dunk by Ben Lawson just before the buzzer.
WKU shot 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from beyond the arc in the first half, with Aaron Cosby's trey running the Toppers consecutive game with a 3-point basket to 897. Elmore and Fredrick paced their respective squads, netting 14 in the half.
The seesaw affair continued through the first eight minutes of the second half, again with neither team pulling away by more than three. Alex Rostov gave WKU its first lead since 13:09 to go in the first half, 54-53, as the Toppers ceased the momentum. After missing much of the first half, Taylor picked up his fourth and fifth foul after a technical sent the Herd forward to the bench with 12 minutes remaining. Taylor finished with seven points in only 18 minutes of action.
With four fouls of his own, Kelly was forced to return in Taylor's absence and never left the court the rest of the way. A 12-0 Herd run capped by a Kelly dunk and an Elmore jumper made it 73-67 with 6:50 to go.
A Stevie Browning triple with 3:32 remaining put the Herd in front 78-72, but the Toppers closed regulation on an 8-2 run on two Cosby layups for the eighth tie of the night with 59 seconds left. Elmore drew contact on the ensuing Herd possession, but missed the front end of a bonus free throw for the lead and his final shot at the win missed the mark, sending the game to overtime.
Thompson opened the extra period with a pair of free throws after his career-high 10th rebound forced Waters to the bench with his fifth foul. Johnson hammered home a dunk for the Toppers final lead of the night, 88-87 with 2:13 left, but Kelly dropped seven points in the games final 90 seconds to secure the road win for the Herd.
Browning netted 17 points, 15 in the second half, in a career-high 42 minutes for Marshall.
Johnson finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Cosby had 13 points and five assists and Rostov added 12 in 25 minutes off the bench.
Marshall shot 52.1 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from downtown while holding WKU to 11.1 percent (2-of-18) from long range. The Toppers dominated the paint, outscoring the Herd 58-40 while earning 33 foul shots to Marshall's 13.
The Herd returns home Thursday night for a matchup with the Charlotte 49ers and WKU welcomes Old Dominion to Bowling Green.