SAN DIEGO — The Marshall Thundering Herd celebrated like never before.

For the first time in six tries during 62 years, the Thundering Herd won an NCAA tournament game Friday.

Jon Elmore had 27 points and Jarrod West hit a huge 3-pointer with three minutes left to help No. 13 seed Marshall top fourth-seeded Wichita State 81-75 in the East Region.

When the buzzer sounded, West raised his arms and joyously ran practically the length of the court before joining his teammates in celebration.

“Long time!” Coach Dan D’Antoni said moments later.

Was it ever.


The Thundering Herd (25-10) made their first NCAA tourney appearance in 1956 and had its most recent one in 1987, losing all five along the way. The 1987 loss was later vacated due to infractions. Its only postseason victories were in the NIT in 1967, when D’Antoni was on the team.

“So we’ve got a little bit to do,” said D’Antoni, the older brother of Houston Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni. “I like these guys. I like the chance riding with them, fun to be on a trip with, and they’re fun to watch to play and it’s real fun when we win. So we’re going to try to do that one more time.

“I told them the beginning goal is to win the NCAA tournament. Wherever we get in the car driving down the road to that championship, when it stops we’ll all get off and we’ll be happy because we like who is in the car. We like the journey we’re on. We’re looking forward to the next leg, and I have confidence in these guys that they’ll give you a real good ballgame and have a great chance to win.”

Marshall joined Buffalo as 13th seeds to win this week. On Thursday night, Buffalo beat No. 4 seed Arizona.

The Thundering Herd also got big shots down the stretch from Ajdin Penava and C.J. Burks and will play West Virginia next.

Wichita State (25-8) got 27 points from Conner Frankamp and seemed in control midway through the second half, but the Thundering Herd refused to fade.


After Frankamp’s long jumper gave the Shockers a 70-69 lead with just less than five minutes to go, Penava made a layup. The next time down the floor, West buried a long 3 and raised his right hand after giving the Thundering Herd a 74-70 lead.

Shaquille Morris responded with a slam dunk for the Shockers before the 6-foot-9 Penava made another layup, and Burks had a steal and a layup to give Marshall a six-point lead.

Frankamp hit a 3 with 44.1 seconds left before Marshall benefited from a critical call. With 36.2 seconds left, Zach Brown of Wichita State blocked a shot by Jannson Williams and the ball went out of bounds. After a long video review, the referees awarded the ball to Marshall, and Penava had a slam dunk off an inbounds pass.

Wichita State blew several chances to pull closer. Landry Shamet missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 28.9 seconds left and the Shockers then missed two 3-pointers in the next 12 seconds before turning the ball over.

The 6-foot-3 Elmore held up even though he was guarded by bigger opponents.

“This is another day in the park,” he said. “Basketball is what I love to do and whoever that guy is in front of me I’m trying to crush him. Every play I want to play him out, get around him, get him in foul trouble, get the assist. I don’t care who you put on me, I’m going to attack you 40 minutes.”

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