CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This isn't just his state, but his city as well. And the last time TyQuane Goard left the Charleston Civic Center in a competitive role, he did so as a state champion.If tonight's game featuring Goard's Marshall team and West Virginia is half as dramatic as George Washington's 2011 win over Wheeling Park, fans will get their money's worth.To recap, Goard gave GW a 53-52 lead with a dunk with 27 seconds to go, and then hit two free throws for a 55-52 edge with 14.5 seconds left. Wheeling Park's Bubby Goodwin hit a jumper, ruled a 3-pointer on the floor - at the buzzer - but the shot was changed to a 2-pointer upon video review.In the third season of his up-and-down college career, Goard returns to the Civic Center for the annual Capital Classic, the battle with instate rival WVU.As with many state natives wearing green - perhaps excluding Cabell Midland's Mark Patton - Goard is catching a few barbs from his gold- and blue-clad GW classmates."Not really a hard time," Goard said Friday. "They said they can't root for Marshall . . . I tell them to wear a GW shirt under their West Virginia gear."Goard will see a bigger crowd than the 3,983 that March night at the Civic Center, and that has him pumped up, too. No matter the ratio between gold and green, the building jumps with every basket.And Goard was jumping quite a bit Friday.
"It's human nature; there's clearly a little more bounce in his step," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "He's more into this, indirectly and directly, growing up with this game. He's familiar with the guys, past and present, from the AAU circuit. He's got great awareness to the meaning of this game."With starting power forward Ryan Taylor out the last two games, the losses at Vanderbilt and at Penn State, Goard played 58 minutes. He had 18 points and 12 rebounds, with a pair of blocked shots.Taylor is "very questionable" tonight.Goard has played the team's third-highest minutes (24.7), and is averaging 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds and shooting .643 from the floor. He has eight blocks, seven steals and knows how to draw a charge.When starting center Cheikh Sane and 7-foot-2 Yous Mbao hit the bench, the 6-foot-7 Goard mixes it up on "the block.""I don't have a problem down there," Goard said. "Most of them are around 7-foot, have 40 or 50 pounds on me, but I try to use my quickness and try to outsmart most of them. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it doesn't." "We've moved him around," Herrion said. "He's versatile, we've moved him around; he plays a small 'five' in certain situations. It's too early to see how much you'll see of that [tonight].
"No disrespect, but his [freshman] year in Ohio is a wash. This is the first year he has the opportunity to play a lot. He's still trying to figure things out."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.