HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall sophomore TyQuane Goard, standing 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, doesn't exactly have the measurables that scream "center." Yet for the last few of the Thundering Herd's games, he's been thrust into the starting role at that position.
"You really just never judge a book by its cover," Goard said.
As the Herd (5-8) heads to Akron today for a 7 p.m. tip, the former Capital and George Washington High star will try to help snap Marshall's slump. The Herd's 92-65 loss at South Carolina was its sixth in seven games overall and sixth straight against Division I competition.
Marshall had some of its greatest struggles on the boards. The Gamecocks outrebounded the Herd 44-27 and 18-9 on the offensive side.
"We got grossly outrebounded on the glass," Herrion said after the game. "Giving up (18) offensive rebounds is unacceptable. Our defense and our rebounding let us down mightily."
Goard had his own struggles underneath, pulling down just three rebounds in 22 minutes, yet he's shown the ability to succeed down low. In the game before, a loss to Arkansas State, Goard recorded his first double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The Herd has needed him to fortify the low post after usual starter, 6-9 Cheikh Sane, injured his foot against West Virginia and missed the next two games.
Marshall's lineup of big men has dwindled. On top of Sane's injury, 6-9 J.P. Kambola has yet to play this year as Marshall works through an eligibility issue and 7-2 Yous Mbao has played no more than five minutes in four of his last five games.
That's left the majority of play at center, or the '5' position, to Goard. Herrion said that having a less bulky athlete in that role allows the Herd to do some things while he's in the lineup that it might not be able to do with others in the same spot.