Herd This? Warhawks stun Marshall in double overtime, 86-82

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The first-ever meeting on the hardwood proved to be a classic between the ULM men’s basketball team and Marshall.

The Warhawks (10-12 overall, 6-3 Sun Belt Conference) rallied from deficits inside the final 30 seconds of regulation and the first overtime before pulling away late in the second overtime for the 86-82 win over the Thundering Herd (17-5, 6-3) Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center. It marked Marshall’s second home loss of the season, dropping to 12-2 at the Henderson Center.

“What a war,” ULM head coach Keith Richard said, who coached against Marshall in Huntington for the first time since he was an assistant coach for the Herd from 1986-89. “What a performance by the Warhawks. That’s two Thursdays in a row on the road in this league, and that’s just hard to do. They were 12-1 in this building. I worked here. I know how hard it is for people to come in here and win. My hat is off to these players.”

Jamari Blackmon had a career night with 35 points (8-of-15 3-point field goals) and a season-high eight rebounds in playing all 50 minutes. He scored 13 of his 35 points in the two overtime periods, including going 3-of-3 from the 3-point line and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line.

Thomas Howell also played all 50 minutes in a career night of his own with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Blackmon made clutch plays when ULM needed them down the stretch.

First, the senior from Hoover, Alabama, connected on the game-tying 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left in regulation, forcing the first overtime. Then, Blackmon stepped to the free-throw line and sunk two free throws to cut the deficit to two, 74-72, with 14.4 seconds left in the first overtime. On the ensuing inbounds play, Tyreke Locure came up with a steal, with ULM working the ball back inside to Howell for the game-tying dunk with nine seconds remaining, forcing the second overtime. Blackmon rounded out his clutch night with the opening 3-pointer of the second overtime, a 3-pointer to extend the lead to five, 84-79, with 26 seconds left, and the two free throws to seal the win, 86-82, with 10 seconds remaining in the game.

“He made some tremendous shots when we needed it,” Richard said. “He actually got us ahead a little bit and then made some shots to get us back tied. He was tremendous out there.”

Howell had his own big moments late, converting the dunk to force the second overtime and collecting back-to-back layups to tie the game and give ULM the lead, 81-79, with 1:02 left in the second overtime. Three of his rebounds came in the extra sessions.

Locure added 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. Victor Bafutto added six points and 11 rebounds while Langston Powell had seven rebounds and four assists.

“That was a team performance,” Richard said. “A gutsy win. Both teams played guys heavy, heavy minutes, and you had to have a little toughness down the stretch to pull away.”

Taevion Kinsey, the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer and one of the top scorers in NCAA Division I, finished with 28 points (10-of-21 field-goal attempts), eight rebounds and five assists to lead Marshall. Andrew Taylor had 17 points, while Kamdyn Curfman added 15 and Micah Handlogten chipped in 10 points with 14 rebounds.

Richard lauded Powell’s defensive effort against Kinsey, despite allowing 28 points.

“(Kinsey) is big time,” Richard said. “Langston did a good job. (Kinsey) went 10-for-21, and he’d have went 21-for-21 had Langston not guarded him as tough as he did. The kid is taller than Langston, he’s longer, he is very athletic. He can shoot over you. I thought Langston did a good job.”

The Warhawks crushed Marshall in rebounding, 58-37, including 21 offensive rebounds. ULM outscored Marshall in second-chance points, 22-6.

The Herd took as much as a nine-point lead in the first half at 28-19 on a jumper by Taylor at the 4:11 mark. ULM closed within three at 30-27 on a 3-pointer by Blackmon, but Kinsey closed out the half for Marshall with his second 3-pointer of the game to extend the Herd’s lead back to six, 33-27 at halftime.

Marshall led by as much as nine again in the second half, 39-30, on a layup by Kinsey at the 18:09 mark. The Herd led by seven, 56-49, with 6:45 remaining after Kinsey hit a pair of free throws.

ULM made its push, going on a 10-2 run, taking the lead on a 3-pointer by Locure with 3:26 to play. Kinsey’s jumper in the lane swung the lead back to Marshall before Blackmon canned a 3-pointer to put the Warhawks back up, 62-60. Kinsey tied the game with a layup with 1:59 to go. Handlogten scored on a putback to give Marshall a 64-62 edge. After Locure made 1-of-2 free-throw attempts, Kinsey hit a jumper just outside the lane to give Marshall the 66-63 lead, leading the Blackmon’s 3-pointer for the tie to force overtime.

Blackmon opened the first overtime with a 3-pointer, but Marshall scored the next six points to take a 72-69 lead on a jumper by Taylor. Two free throws by Curfman pushed the lead to four, 74-70, with 23 seconds left, leading to the wild sequence that forced the second overtime.

Blackmon again opened the second overtime with a trey, but Marshall scored the next five points to go up, 79-77 on a 3-pointer by Jacob Conner, with 2:48 left. Howell’s layups gave the lead back to ULM before Blackmon’s triple and free throws sealed the win.

ULM shot 39% (28-of-71) from the field and 39% (14-of-36) from 3-point range while knocking down 64% (16-of-25) of its free-throw attempts. Marshall shot 42% (31-of-74) from the floor and 31% (8-of-26) from 3-point range while adding 67% (12-of-18) at the foul line.

The Warhawks close the four-game road trip at 4 p.m. EST/3 p.m. CST Saturday at James Madison.

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