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Goff could make return tonight vs. UNCW

HUNTINGTON - Robert Goff doesn't remember his frightful head-to-head collision Nov. 20 with Marshall teammate Yous Mbao, and that's probably a good thing.

"From what they tell me, it sounded like a football helmet collision," Goff said Friday before the Thundering Herd's practice. "I don't remember what happened. When I came to, I thought it was worse than it was."

As it was, he and Mbao were taken out of Cam Henderson Center on flat boards to a local hospital. Goff was the fortunate one, as he was released after an overnight stay. The 7-foot-2 Mbao was kept four days, and his return to basketball is nowhere on the horizon.

But that's not the important thing.

"I'm definitely praying for big Yous every day," said Goff, not so small at 6-9, 240 pounds. "I talk to him as often as I can. That's the biggest thing I'm worried about, big Yous."

Goff missed the Herd's wins over Nevada and Morehead State, but he will try to return for tonight's contest against North Carolina-Wilmington. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Henderson Center.

Goff has cleared most of his post-concussion testing, coach Tom Herrion said, and his practice workload was increased Friday afternoon. If he then passes all tests, he will return.

The Herd could use Goff tonight, even for a few minutes. The Seahawks have some size on their roster, including two 7-footers, but the Herd must cope with 6-8 Keith Rendleman and 6-9 Cedrick Williams more than anybody.

Rendleman, one of the few seniors on a young UNCW team, scored 15 points in the Herd's 69-64 win last year in Wilmington. Williams, then a freshman, pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds as the Seahawks kept that category nearly even. The tandem helped ignite a rally from a 16-point deficit.

That duo has the Seahawks' record even at 3-3 after wins over Wofford (49-37) and Hampton (61-60). Those aren't exactly eye-popping, but the Seahawks needed that after lopsided losses to Richmond (101-58), Ohio (85-47) and Purdue (66-40).

Rendleman is averaging almost a double-double, 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, while Williams averages 6.7 points and 8.0 boards.

"They're such an inside-oriented team," Herrion said. "They want to get those two guys, especially Rendleman, touches in the post. They can be deliberate at times and very patient in terms of making sure that happens. Sometimes they labor to score."

Goff wants to make that labor even tougher for the Seahawks, but he is confident in his fellow "bigs" if he can't go. Nigel Spikes has 20 points and 23 rebounds in the last two games, and JP Kambola has a basket, three rebounds and two blocks in 13 minutes in that span. Kambola had played just 19 career minutes prior to the Goff/Mbao injury.

"I'm proud of my guys. They went in there and they fought every night," Goff said. "Scoop [Spikes] gave us valuable minutes every night, and he came through for the bigs. And JP, he stepped in when he was called. It's not often you get that with a sophomore who hasn't played very much, so that's good for him."

Briefly

  • Marshall's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is conducting a food drive and offering a deal on tickets. For every can of food donated, fans can get a half-price ($5) general-admission ticket.
  • Junior-college transfers Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver are a combined 26 of 69 (37.7 percent) from 3-point range, with the rest of the Herd 21 of 78 (26.9 percent). The contrast is more startling at the free-throw line: Pittman and Scarver 44 of 51 (86.3 percent) and the rest of the team 74 of 143 (51.7 percent).
  • Among the other Seahawks is Bluefield native Craig Ponder. After taking a medical redshirt last season for a foot injury, the 6-1, 185-pound guard is playing 20.8 minutes per game, averaging 3.8 points. He is having his struggles, however, shooting 21.5 percent with five assists and 20 turnovers.
  • UNCW is barred from postseason play, including the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, a penalty for falling short of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate standards.
  • Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.


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