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Undersized Goard has become Herd's best option in the middle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IF NOTHING else, Marshall's 74-64 loss Saturday to West Virginia confirmed one thing: TyQuane Goard is the best center on the Thundering Herd team.

A 6-foot-7, 215-pound "five" man qualifies as a dominating monster in Division II, but usually gets banged around by taller, beefier sharks in D-I. But Goard, the George Washington High grad who spent a year at Ohio, started as a power forward Saturday but played much of his 25 minutes underneath.

Slugging it out with bigger men such as 6-foot-10 Kevin Noreen, 6-9 Brandon Watkins and 6-9 Devin Williams, Goard finished with 11 points and seven rebounds - five on the offensive side. The Herd had a season-high 19 offensive rebounds, which I'm sure nearly made WVU coach Bob Huggins' head explode.

"It's not really tough," Goard said. "I mean, I'm used to it. I'm physical, I'm not really worried about that. That's about it, really."

Granted, it didn't all go well for Goard and the Herd, as WVU's game-ending 16-2 run illustrates. In that fateful final 4:57, Goard didn't have a rebound, missed one of two free throws and fouled out with 52 seconds left.

He blocked a Juwan Staten layup, but Remi Dibo picked up the rebound and scored to give WVU a 65-62 with 2:56 left. A few minutes earlier, he picked up his fourth foul while battling Dibo at WVU's end.

Marshall was up 56-53 at the time, the 6:44 mark. For Goard, that was a haunting moment.

"I feel like I missed a rebound," he said. "I think Dibo actually got the rebound and got two points. I feel like that should have been my box-out. I feel like I missed that and that's where it started going downhill."

As the 4-6 Herd gathers itself for Tuesday's home game against Alice Lloyd College of Pippa Passes, Ky., Goard may become the most used man at the "five."

Cheikh Sane had seven points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes, but went 1 of 5 from the line. The 6-9 junior-college product started the scoring Saturday with a sweet-looking hook shot in the lane, something he doesn't do enough of. With 3.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game, he remains a project.

Fellow Senegalese native Yous Mbao has four field goals on 22 attempts in his 54 career games. He is 11 of 25 from the line and fouls at the rate of once every 4.4 minutes. If you get one block and a couple of altered shots out of him, you're coming out ahead.

When Sane comes out - he's surely not going to play 40 minutes - Goard must muscle-up with the big dudes. Considering that 6-11 juco signee Henry Uwadiae has played 30 minutes in 13 games so far with Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College, Goard likely will make a career out of it.

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  • Alice Lloyd is the second of Marshall's three non-Division I opponents, something we thought went the way of the Donnie Jones era. Jones had eight such opponents in his three seasons in Huntington, including Rio Grande all three seasons - and very grating, twice in February.

    With athletic director Mike Hamrick reserving a role in scheduling, I didn't expect this. But I didn't expect Marshall to play Savannah State home-and-home (as it did in Herrion's first year, 2010-11).

    Some reminders: (a) Scheduling is the most torturous chore in coaching and (b) Conference USA is likely moving from 16 to 18 league games for 2014-15, which hampered the pursuit of home-and-home games for this season.  

    So Herd fans, sit back, relax and watch your team get well against Alice Lloyd. But remember, MU still will be 3-6 against Division I opponents heading into its home game Saturday against 5-3 Arkansas State.

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  • And finally, you ask, where in the world is Pippa Passes? It's deep in the eastern Kentucky mountains and you must really point you car there. Otherwise, that's your Google Maps assignment for the day.

    Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.


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