Eyes turning to Tinnon
HUNTINGTON -- Dennis Tinnon had the element of surprise going for him last season.
Opposing teams didn't know much about the Marshall University men's basketball rebound machine, although he came in after leading the nation's junior colleges with a 13.3 average.
Marshall opponents know about him now, and haven't stopped him from putting up similar numbers.
"I am averaging pretty much the same," said the 6-foot-8, 232-pound senior, a preseason All-Conference USA second team selection.
His statistics support that.
2011-12 season averages: 10.2 points, 10.0 rebounds.
2012-13 season averages: 10.9 points, 9.0 rebounds.
Marshall, 8-9 for the season, is 1-1 in Conference USA with a Saturday 7 p.m. home game against East Carolina (11-5, 2-1) coming up.
Tinnon will probably get a turn guarding 6-8, 190-pound senior Maurice Kemp of the Pirates, the league scoring leader at 18.3 points per game after getting 30 in a Wednesday win over Houston. Kemp also gets 8.4 rebounds a game.
"I'm still going to make sure I still get my rebounds," Tinnon said. "I'll put my body on him and go rebound."
Tinnon set his goal at being the leading rebounder in the nation.
He's ranked 45th and chasing the lead of Siena forward O.D. Anoskie with an 11.9 average.
"I think I can sneak my way up toward the top," Tinnon said.
To get there, Tinnon will need to avoid having more games like last weekend at UTEP when his total of three rebounds was a two-season low.
UTEP players definitely knew about Tinnon and did whatever they could to keep him from clearing the backboards.
"Last Saturday I couldn't get. ... those guys were hip-checking me, elbowing me," Tinnon said.
Tinnon is more than just a rebounder, however, with 15 career double-double games in the 52 he's played.
His best scoring games were 24 last season against Belmont and again this season against Nevada. His top game for rebounds was 19 last season in a conference victory at UAB.
Marshall head coach Tom Herrion asked Tinnon to do more as a senior with a move away from the rim at the small forward position where he handles the basketball and takes more outside shots.
He had two 3-point field goal attempts last season and made both. This season he's 9-for-20.
Tinnon could probably average more points, but said it's not necessary because Marshall has so many great scorers.
"I don't have to score, so maybe I'll go get 15 rebounds," he said.