Preview: RMU men’s basketball faces the Marshall Thundering Herd in season opener

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Preview: RMU men’s basketball faces the Marshall Thundering Herd in season opener

Jordan Redinger, Contributor

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HUNTINGTON, WV– The Robert Morris University men’s basketball team hopes to come out victorious Thursday night in a match-up against Marshall University’s Thundering Herd, a meeting that has not occurred since 2006.

Last time the Colonials played The Herd, they beat them, 73-69. Head coach Andy Toole looks for a similar outcome in this meeting.

Previewing RMU

Coming off an 11-7 season of Northeast Conference play in the 2018-2019 season, this year’s Colonials are led by several key players, including redshirt senior, Josh Williams. Williams led the team in points scored last year with 506 in total.

Also returning is his brother, Jon Williams. Now a junior, Williams returns with the highest free-throw percentage on the team, shooting .849% from the line.

In addition to the Williams brothers, the Colonials are led by JUCO transfer AJ Bramah and returning senior Yannis Mendy. Mendy, a forward from Metting, France, had a .567 three-point percentage and 135 rebounds last season.

Though bringing back several strong players, the Colonials lost two of their most valuable players. Malik Petteway led the team in three-point percentage, rebounds and blocks. Also graduated is the team’s leader in steals, Matty McConnell.

In their places, two freshmen hope to fill in the gaps. Terrell Brown joins the team from Proctor Academy in Lowell, MA. Originally from Nigeria, Olisa Ngonadi comes from National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland, where he averaged 12 points and 11.7 rebounds in his senior season. He also finished first in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) region with 143 blocks and 342 rebounds as well as playing AAU basketball for the 6th Man Warriors.

Another new addition is Deshawndre Washington of Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois, where he averaged 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game his senior season. Washington shot 43 percent from the floor and converted 80 percent of his shots from the free-throw line.

Scouting Marshall

Also looking to fill in the gaps, Marshall comes into the match-up looking for a young team to find its groove. Led by Dan D’Antoni (who’s brother is Mike D’Antoni; coach of the NBA’s Houston Rockets), Marshall is also coming off an 11-7 record in Conference-USA play last season.

Returning senior, Ante Sustic, from Split, Croatia, appeared in 14 games last season. He stood-out in their season opener against Eastern Kentucky, where he racked up a season-high of seven rebounds in 15 minutes of play.

Another standout returner for The Herd is red-shirt junior, Jannson Williams from Newnan, Georgia. He was one of six players to appear in all 37 games of their past season and one of three to start in every game. During that time, he averaged 9.0 points and a team-high of 5.1 rebounds per game. In addition, he led the team with 72 blocks, making that the fourth-most in program history.

Also returning is junior Jarrod West, who had a team-high of 80 steals, the most in a single season of program history. West was also one of the six players to play in all 37 games, starting in 36 of them and averaging 5.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Prediction

A victory in their season opener looks optimistic for the Colonials. Although they lost some valuable players, Marshall has a young team led by only a few veterans. Though these players were outstanding in the last season, they are backed by a team mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores. I believe that the Colonials will walk away with a 68-62 victory.

It promises to be an interesting game as the Colonials work-out the kinks before playing their home opener against the University of Pittsburgh at the UPMC Events Center on Nov. 12.

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