Black simply went off against Western Michigan, to put it bluntly. In a game where the lead changed hands 9 times and was tied on 5 occasions, Marshall needed every one of Black's 30 points.
"You've gotta' take the stats and throw them out the window," said Marshall coach Ron Jirsa after the biggest win for his team this season. "We played a determined game."
In the first half, LaVar Carter provided the sparks for Marshall, hitting 9 points while playing the 'big center' spot. "LaVar stuck his chest out and played the 'big center' for us. It's what we asked him to do, and he did," added Jirsa.
Marvin Black drove past Western Michigan's Anthony Kann in overtime for a layup. Black exploded for 30 points in The Herd's upset win on Saturday afternoon.
Midway through the second half, Western began to unravel. In the span of 10 seconds (at the 7:31 and 7:21 marks), both Rost and Mike Williams would commit their fifth fouls and leave the game. Williams left the game with a sub-par 4 points (Williams averages over 19 ppg), Rost with just 5.
"It proved to be too much for us," said WMU coach Steve Hawkins of losing both Williams and Rost. "We were forced to use a lot of combinations that we normally don't use. It was a tough game to coach in."
Western's six-point lead unraveled after that point. Tre' Whitted (he of the 0-for-10 free throws against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night) nailed two free throws with 5:00 remaining to cut the WMU lead to just two, 62-60. The Henderson Center crowd of 4,241 gave Whitted a standing ovation.
"It's been harder on him in the locker room than it has been out on the floor," said Jirsa of Whitted's struggles. Whitted went 4-for-5 in the game from the free throw line.
Marvin Black took matters into his own hands. With :58 remaining and down 70-66, Black grabbed a Whitted miss and got the put-back. WMU's Reed missed a jumper on the next possession. After a timeout, Black drove past Anthony Kann for another lay-in to tie the game and send it to overtime at 70-70.
"We were underdogs in our own building," added Jirsa. "There was no pressure on us."
That lack of pressure enabled Ronny Dawn to hit a critical three-pointer from in front of the Marshall bench on the first possession of overtime. The three gave Marshall a lead it would not relinquish. Western's Reggie Berry drained a three with 1:19 left in the game to cut the MU lead to 77-76. Enoch Bunch hit a running jumper on the next possession, and WMU's Ben Reed made a critical turnover on the next possession with only :43 left.
That's when Marvin Black put the game to rest. Black broke down the middle of the lane for a solid dunk, sealing the win for Marshall. LaVar Carter added a free throw with :07 left to ice the final score at 82-76.
"Marshall did a great job of continuing to execute, even though they had more turnovers than us," added WMU coach Steve Hawkins. "It didn't bother them."
The win by Marshall ended WMU's streak of six straight wins, dropping WMU to 18-3 overall and 11-2 in the MAC. Marshall improved to 9-12 overall and 6-7 in the MAC.
In addition to Marvin Black's stellar 30 point game, Marshall had three players each score 10 points each in A.W. Hamilton, Tre Whitted, and LaVar Carter.
Marshall followed up a hot 64.7% shooting effort in the first half with a 46.2 % second half effort and a 53.1% effort in overtime. The Herd held Western Michigan to 41.4% shooting (29-of-70) shooting for the game.