Thompson records triple-double, WKU dominates Marshall

WKU guard Darius Thompson (15) attacks the basket for a layup during WKU’s game vs. Nicholls State on Nov 19 in E.A. Diddle Arena. WKU won 100-86.

Sam Porter

WKU went into Marshall and blew out the Thundering Herd 112-87 on Saturday. The statement victory put WKU at 3-0 in Conference USA play, and left Marshall with its first home loss of the year. 

Graduate transfer guard Darius Thompson scored 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and tallied 10 assists to record just the second triple-double in school history. Senior forward Justin Johnson scored a career-high 27 points and graduate transfer forward Dwight Coleby scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Hilltoppers outscored Marshall 70-20 in the paint in the victory.

“Road wins are precious, especially against the upper teams in the league,” Head coach Rick Stansbury said in a radio postgame interview. “We jumped on them early. After that, I thought we were able to control the flow and get the ball where we need to get it. Our plan was to get it down low into the paint. It was a great team effort.”

After WKU jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, Marshall guard Rondale Watson was given a technical foul for arguing a foul call. Shortly after, freshman guard Tavieon Hollingsworth blocked a shot by Marshall guard John Elmore. Like Watson, Elmore argued the call and was given a technical foul to help give WKU an 18-5 lead with 13:08 left in the first half. The Thundering Herd racked up four technical fouls on the night.

Elmore entered the game leading all of C-USA in scoring (23.5 PPG), and Hollingsworth held him to just 18 points off 5-15 shooting, including an 0-5 start.

“Taveion steps up and goes after their best player offensively every game,” Thompson said. “Elmore is a really good player, and Taveion held his own.”

As the Hilltoppers continued to roll, the long awaited arrival of freshman guard Josh Anderson came to an end when the four-star recruit checked into the game roughly 7 minutes in. Anderson had been awaiting an eligibility ruling from the NCAA, which came in on Friday as he was ruled immediately eligible to play for the Hilltoppers. Anderson scored his first bucket to push the WKU lead to 34-11. Late in the half, Anderson would add another bucket off a spin move on a fast break. Johnson would follow with a 3-pointer right before the first half buzzer to give WKU a 61-35 lead at the half.

Midway throughout the second half, Anderson showed off his athleticism when he threw down a one-handed dunk on a fast break off the assist from freshman guard Jake Ohmer. Anderson finished with 16 points in his college debut.

“He’s one of those guys who just makes basketball plays,” Stansbury said of Anderson. “He’s a guard that can finish above the rim. I think he’ll become a terrific defender over time. There were times tonight where he jumped out and wanted Elmore. I didn’t really want that, but I like the attitude he brings.”

Marshall never threatened to make the comeback as WKU cruised to a 112-87 victory. The 112 points are the most WKU has scored in a game this season and helps improve the Hilltoppers to 11-5 (3-0 C-USA). The loss drops Marshall to 11-5 (2-1 C-USA). The Hilltoppers travel to Old Dominion next Thursday.

Reporter Sam Porter can be reached at 270-799-8247 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @SammyP14.