HUNTINGTON — Marshall sophomore center Iran Bennett has seen the opposing defense become a headache for him in the post.
That headache has been caused by Bennett constantly seeing double on the floor.
The opposition has started to double-team the Herd’s top post presence in an effort to keep the 6-10, 300-pound bruiser from being a mismatch in the post.
So how does Bennett hope to counter seeing double? By improving his vision, of course.
This week, Bennett and fellow post presence Goran Miladinovic worked extensively on facing double-teams and passing out of them within the offense.
“It’s a good thing because if there’s two people on me, somebody’s open,” Bennett said. “That’s the good thing about it. I’ve just got to get those passes out there quicker and move the ball better to find those guys.”
The timing of those passes out of a double-team and the ability to continue to flow the basketball quickly are aspects that the Herd struggled with last week in a 61-50 loss to UAB.
With Charlotte (9-5, 3-0 C-USA) boasting of the league’s second-best defense behind UAB, the expectation for the Herd is that Bennett again will see those double-teams in the post, which makes learning from the mistakes at UAB that much more vital.
“We’ve got the right combination,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We just have to be able to get to it a little better.”
Known for his personality, Bennett said the double-teams just give him a chance to expand his game.
Bennett said that while he’s known for his point production and rebounding, it also allows him to become an assist-man for the Herd.
He said he’s even joked with guards Jarrod West, Taevion Kinsey and Andrew Taylor about topping their assist totals soon.
“Especially now, since people are doubling me, I’ll be trying,” Bennett said with a laugh. “Like I said, somebody’s open, so all I’ve got to do is look and they’re going to knock it down. My assist numbers should definitely go up.”
While Bennett joked on the double-teams, facing Charlotte is no laughing matter for the Herd.
The 49ers come into the Cam Henderson Center as the lone remaining undefeated team in Conference USA action, but this is their first road trip within the league.
Still, the effort Charlotte’s defense has put up in three league games is impressive. The 49ers have kept the opposition in the 40s in two of three wins while not allowing more than 62 points in their last seven contests.
Charlotte has allowed more than 70 points in only three games this season with all three resulting in a loss, meaning the Herd is intent on getting its offensive flow going and picking up its tempo on Thursday night.
“We’re trying to figure out how can we get that flow and ball movement, and at the same time, take advantage of a low-post presence, at times...,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “How it intertwines with the flow part of our game, we haven’t gotten down to a science, yet.”
From an offensive standpoint, the 49ers have two main weapons on the outside — junior guard Jordan Shepherd (14.1 points, 3.6 assists) and freshman guard Jahmir Young (11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.2 steals) that will garner the Herd’s attention.
Young has been a standout among freshmen in the league, garnering the league’s Freshman of the Week honors on three occasions.