Marshall Explodes Past Chaleston, 109-75

Updated 11/18/2000
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    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - It didn't take long for Latece Williams to make an impact for Marshall.

    The junior college transfer had 16 points, nine rebounds and tied a school record with nine blocked shots in Marshall's 109-75 victory Friday night over the University of Charleston.

    ``I was just out there doing whatever I could to compete and play hard defense,'' Williams said. ``I didn't even know I got the record. If it happened, it happened, and that's how I feel.''

    Most of Williams' blocks were against players he wasn't guarding. Instead, he came across the lane to help a teammate. Coach Greg White said he hadn't seen a player get that many blocks since he was an assistant coach at UCLA a few years ago.

    ``He's a deceptive athlete,'' White said. ``He can really get up in the air.''

    Center J.R. VanHoose sure is glad to have Williams nearby.

    ``He's a great player and no one can guard him one on one. We have so many weapons now. Teams can't find one guy to concentrate on,'' VanHoose said.

    Williams, a 6-foot-8 forward, came to Marshall from Okaloosa Walton Community College in Niceville, Fla. His statistics last season weren't eye-popping. He averaged 12 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

    ``We hung in there and recruited him,'' White said. ``He said 'no' to us early and our loyalty got him in the end. That's the way recruiting used to be. That's not the way it is today _ you recruit and you recruit, a big school steps in, squashes you and you're done.''

    Five players scored in double figures in Marshall's tuneup for next Tuesday's contest at No. 17 Cincinnati.

    ``I think coach really wants us to get our legs back under us, get ready to play Cincinnati and get in a mental frame of mind that it's going to be a war,'' VanHoose said.

    ``It's not going to be like playing the University of Charleston. We've got to be pumped when we get in there. It's going to be the game of our life.''

    On Friday, Tamar Slay scored 24, VanHoose had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Travis Young scored 17 points and Monty Wright had 11 for the Thundering Herd.

    Marshall, favored to win the Mid-American Conference this season, couldn't put the game away until late in the contest.

    Charleston had closed to 88-73 with eight minutes left on two free throws by Carl Edwards, but the Golden Eagles were held scoreless for the next seven minutes. Williams' dunk opened a 19-0 run.

    Kalan Smith led Division II Charleston with 18 points and Kyle Bixler and Edwards each added 12.

    ``I thought their size and athleticism was a major factor. Their defense had a lot to do with this win,'' said Charleston coach Jayson Gee. ``Our number one goal was to compete and I think we did that. I think we gave them a scare, which is typical Charleston basketball. We compete and that how's we build our program.''