HUNTINGTON, W.V. (WBKO) --- WKU Hilltopper Basketball led for nearly 34 minutes at Marshall on Saturday, but Jannson Williams’ 3-pointer with 20 seconds left proved to be the winner for the Herd in a 70-69 victory.
WKU (8-8, 1-2 Conference USA) led 42-31 at halftime and held Marshall to 26.9 percent shooting from 3-point range, but it was plagued by 18 turnovers and six second-half offensive rebounds by the Thundering Herd.
“I thought the difference in the game was (Taevion) Kinsey,” said WKU head coach Rick Stansbury, referencing Marshall’s freshman guard who finished with 23 points and seven rebounds. “Kinsey had some offensive putbacks. … I thought we couldn’t have guarded them any better in the first half. … We’ve got to find ways to be able to do some things we do for 40 minutes. You can’t do it for 30 minutes on the road against good teams.”
After pulling in front early with a 15-6 run, WKU didn’t trail again until the final made basket.
Marshall climbed all the way back to tie it at 67-67 with 1:45 to play on a dunk by Williams, but redshirt senior guard Lamonte Bearden answered with a layup with 1:26 left.
With 20 seconds to play, Williams buried the game-winning 3 from the top of the key.
The Hilltoppers had multiple opportunities to score on the other end but came away empty-handed.
“Just rebounding down the stretch, putting together a full game for 40 minutes,” WKU sophomore guard Josh Anderson said. “Not 30, not 35.”
Sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth led WKU with 20 points, while freshman center Charles Bassey battled back from a knee contusion in the first half to tally 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Anderson added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Behind Kinsey, Marshall senior guard Jon Elmore scored 21 points with five assists for Marshall (10-6, 3-0).
WKU has now played 11 of 16 games away from home this season, including their first three C-USA games on the road.
The Hilltoppers finally play their first home conference game of the season against FIU at 7 p.m. CT Thursday in E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will air on beIN SPORTS.
“It’s tough,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s really a learning experience for the youngin’s. Playing away from home more than we’ve played home is tough to do, and for us to do that, we’re good. We just have to keep going.”