Herd’s Watson shines as sixth man role
HUNTINGTON - Rondale Watson is the sixth man for Marshall University men’s basketball which means he often gets playing time equal to or more than starting players.
He’s sixth on the team in average minutes played (19.8) while contributing 5.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. In Wednesday’s game, an 84-64 victory against the College of William & Mary in Cam Henderson Center, he was the first Marshall substitute sent in from the bench. He contributed 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made one steal in 29 minutes of court time.
The statistics don’t show how many defensive stops he makes, how many deflections he has or how much energy he plays with.
“When I come in I just try to bring a lot of energy,” the 6-foot-4 senior from Lewisburg, West Virginia, said. “Do all the dirty work and help my team.”
Watson will continue his valuable role for Marshall (5-1) when the Herd continues a long rivalry with Ohio University (4-2) in a 3:30 p.m. Saturday
contest at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said he doesn’t always give his sixth man the amount of minutes he deserves. Watson played for only 11 minutes last weekend when the Maryland Terrapins routed the Herd (104-67) and most of it was in the first half.
“I didn’t put him back in the second half of the Maryland game because I wanted to see other players and we weren’t going to win it,” D’Antoni said. “He didn’t really play that much in the second half. I went to him and said ‘Rondale, it’s on me.’ I have to find you minutes on the floor.”
Watson played 14 first-half minutes in the William & Mary game, then replaced 6-9 redshirt freshman Iran Bennett in the starting five for the second half. D’Antoni said going with a smaller lineup was a tweak intended to get Watson in the game a little earlier.
Herd point guard Jon Elmore said his Mountain State teammate brings a lot to the team.
“Rondale did a phenomenal job bringing energy,” Elmore said. “I think he’s the guy that doesn’t get enough credit out of all the guys on the team just for what he brings. He might stuff the stat sheet, but from a leadership aspect and just the stuff he does on the court, he doesn’t get enough credit.”
Elmore led Marshall against the Tribe with 26 points in a bounce-back performance after scoring six in the Maryland game. The 6-3 senior from Charleston became the third Herd player with more than 2,000 career points. He is third all-time with 2,012 behind only Skip Henderson (1984-88) with 2,574) and John Taft (1987-91) with 2,332.
He leads the team with 20.7 points per game followed by 6-4 senior guard C.J. Burks, who scored 16 on an 18.3 average.
Four of Marshall’s five wins were by margins of 20 or more and defense figures into that. Marshall averages 87.5 points a game and allows 77.2 for a scoring margin of 10.3.
William & Mary’s backdoor cuts for buckets were most eliminated after the early minutes and the Tribe scored only 27 points in the second period.
“I thought the last two days of practice we were locked in,” Watson said. “I thought we learned a lot from that beat down in Maryland. I thought defensively everyone was locked in and focused and it showed on the court.”
Marshall and Ohio are meeting for the 104th time in a series that began in the 1920-21 season. D’Antoni’s teams are 2-1 against the Bobcats coached by Saul Phillips including Marshall winning at home last season 99-96 in overtime.
The Ohio Bobcats won their first two game at home against Wilberforce (97-61) and Campbell (81-73) before dropping two games in the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic to South Florida (73-46) and Loyola Marymount (65-56).
They’ve bounced back with consecutive home wins against Austin Peay (85-82 OT) and Iona (89-65).
Jason Carter, a 6-8 sophomore forward, and 6-4 sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk lead Ohio’s scoring with averages of 18.7 and 16.2 respectively. Doug Taylor, a 6-9, 248-pound senior forward provides 8.3 points and collects 8.5 rebounds.