HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Senior center Nigel Spikes doesn't plan on his role as the leader of Marshall's swat team to be a one-night-only deal.
Spikes rejected nine of the Thundering Herd's 14 blocked shots in its 75-71 upset Saturday of Central Florida. The Herd returns to the road starting at 8 p.m. today at Tulane. It's been a frontier that, this season, has brought little fun and zero wins. Marshall (10-12, 3-4 Conference USA) is 0-7 in true road games in 2012-13.
Spikes, who now sits ninth on the Herd's career blocked shots list, said a renewed commitment to being aggressive in the post could help Marshall score that coveted first road win.
"I can definitely do that every night," Spikes said. "That's something I'm going to try and accomplish every game, to play aggressive like that. It benefits the team as well."
His nine blocks against the Knights on Saturday tied him with three others for the fourth-best single-game total in the Marshall record books. But that was just the shiniest highlight of his night. Spikes also scored 11 points, his first double-digit scoring game since finishing with 10 against North Carolina-Wilmington on Dec. 1.
And he did it by hitting five of six free throws, the most he's made from the charity stripe since hitting five of eight free throws against Savannah State on Dec. 19.
He's a healthier basketball player, finally recovered from his September 2011 patella tendon surgery that limited him his junior year. He finished that year with 23 blocks. He already has 37 blocks this year with nine regular-season games left. Spikes said his play against the Knights was a conscious effort to boost his intensity.
"I was talking about that the night before with (teammate DeAndre Kane)," Spikes said. "It's just something I needed to do that's going to help me out in the long run, to just be more aggressive. And that kicked in during the course of the (UCF) game."
Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said that, as one of the elder statesmen on the roster, Spikes is starting to turn it on at a good time.
"I think he was playing with an aggressive mindset, as a senior should, coming down the home stretch," he said. "He hears the clock ticking in the back of his head. You've got to play with urgency. Collectively, we've got to play that way."