HUNTINGTON - So Marshall, in its first road game of the young basketball season, was down just two points with four minutes to go last weekend against Villanova.No consolation for coach Tom Herrion. He saw much wrong with his Thundering Herd in that 80-68 loss, such as ... everything."There were so many ingredients that led to our demise," Herrion said. "I didn't think we played really well in any area."That gives the Herd (1-1) much to work on going into its three-game weekend set at Hempstead, N.Y., playing in the 2K Sports Classic on the Hofstra University campus. The lineup is a 4:30 p.m. game Friday against University of District of Columbia, 2:30 Saturday against South Dakota State and 3 p.m. Sunday against Hofstra.
The most glaring problem is what is supposed to be the Herd's strength - rebounding.Not only did the Wildcats outmuscle the Herd 37-23 on the boards, they enjoyed a 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass. In fact, JayVaughn Pinkston himself held a 5-3 edge on the Herd.The Herd's season low in offensive rebounding for 2011-12 was four, and that was one of only five times it was held in single figures.
"Just having three, that's unheard of," said rebounding specialist Dennis Tinnon, who had just one out of his nine rebounds on the offensive end."Simply, I don't think there was enough effort going to the glass by our guys who usually are very good rebounders," Herrion said. "That would not be one of the first statistics I felt we'd be so deficient in, coming out of any game, so it jumps out at you quite a bit."Another area is an old Herd bugaboo: free-throw shooting. The Herd only took 15 foul shots, but hit just eight. The two-game percentage is a not-so-cool .581.Anything else? Yes, the 16 turnovers and allowing Villanova to shoot 50 percent from the floor (23 for 46). As Herrion points out, some of that goes hand in hand - Villanova was credited with 20 points off turnovers and 13 on fast breaks.
"We had turnovers that led to breakouts, so you have no defense to get set," Herrion said. "That elevates their field goal percentage."The fouls underneath became a factor again, as Robert Goff and Nigel Spikes were limited to a combined 34 minutes. Their absences have Tinnon moving from small forward to center at times.Playing Tinnon at the "three" for extended periods stands to be a work in progress. He'll play small forward when Spikes and Goff are in the game at the same time, and he's played that position when Elijah Pittman enters.Tinnon said the dynamics of rebounding are a little different.
"If I'm out on the wing and the ball is coming straight to the middle, usually, with me being down there [nearer to the basket], I'm right there," he said. "So I can either turn around and go grab it. When I'm crashing in, trying to go for the rebound, the ball is bouncing completely back."I've just got to adjust myself. Once I get to feeling on a roll, I'll start getting 10 rebounds, plus."Which will help the Herd's cause this weekend. And so will fixing a lot of deficiencies that appeared at Villanova."Now you've got solid evidence and ammunition to show your guys," Herrion said. "A lot of kids don't believe it until they see it, and now they see it."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.