Marshall University earned its first-ever victory in the NCAA men's basketball tournament Friday, upsetting Wichita State en route to the Round of 32. Even appearing in the game was an accomplishment for the Thundering Herd, who were playing in the Big Dance for the first time in 31 years.
The game between Marshall, a 13-seed, and Wichita State, a 4-seed, came down to the final minutes, as the teams traded buckets late. Herd freshman Jarrod West hit a 3-pointer to put Marshall up 74-70, which was followed by a steal and dunk by junior guard C.J. Burks to put the Herd up 78-72 with less than two minutes to go. Junior guard Jon Elmore poured in 27 points, while junior forward Ajdin Penava added 16 points — including a couple of late baskets — to seal the win.
"Marshall probably isn't as talented as Wichita State, but the Herd could make up for that disparity with sheer weirdness," SB Nation wrote, citing Marshall's lightning-quick pace. Wichita State's senior point guard Conner Frankamp hit six 3-pointers en route to 27 points to keep the Shockers close, but didn't receive much help from his teammates as the next-leading scorers were tied with 12 points.
Marshall's 81-75 victory means they will join No. 13 Buffalo — who upset No. 4 Arizona late Thursday — as the second 13-seed to triumph this year. The Herd will face the winner of the contest later Friday between No. 5 West Virginia and No. 12 Murray State.