The Marshall Buffalos had thoughts of an upset last Friday night against district leading Elkins.
Playing before a loud home crowd, Marshall jumped to a 17-11 first quarter lead, but the Knights stormed back to win 62-56.
The Buffalos, with freshman Christian Jackson and sophomore Austin Irabor leading the way, started fast. Jackson had 2 3-pointers, and Irabor had a 3-pointer and two free throws to give Marshall a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Knights stepped up the defensive pressure and held Marshall to just four points in the quarter. On the offensive end, Heath Jackson scored 11 points in the quarter to give Elkins a 32-21 halftime lead.
The Knights kept the defensive pressure on in the third quarter, holding Marshall to just three points in the first five minutes of the quarter. Marshall was finally able to shake the pressure and scored 14 points in the last three minutes to make the score 45-38 at the end of three quarters.
Marshall’s Anthony Norman scored nine points in the fourth quarter to make the game interesting, but the Buffalos could never get closer than four points. Elkins’ Tim Denton scored five clutch points in the last quarter, and the Knights held on to win 62-56.
Jackson led the Knights with 17 points.
“This was an important game,” Jackson said. “They are a playoff team. Marshall always brings the fight, every year we play them. We almost let it slip between our fingers, but I am just happy we pulled it out.”
Vernon Harrell had 13 points and Denton added 11 for the Knights.
Anthony Norman led the Buffalos with 16 points, and Ja’Markez Christy and Austin Irabor had 11 points each.
“This was a tough game. They all are at this time of the season. A lot of the kids went to middle school together, so they know each other, and we knew Marshall wouldn’t give up,” Elkins coach Albert Thomas said. “For the playoffs, we need to improve our free throws, and we need to stop making mistakes. But our biggest thing is free throws.”
Elkins improved their record to 12-2 with games against Galveston Ball and Texas City to finish the season.
Marshall is in fourth place with an 8-5 record, one game ahead of Galveston Ball for the final playoff spot.