HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A brief "Bye bye Donnie" chant cascaded down from Section 106.
The boos during pregame introductions were abbreviated compared to previous visits from Donnie Jones, the third-year head coach at Central Florida.
Even the vitriolic crowd was modest in its turnout, although Marshall's own struggles and treacherous driving conditions can be partially blamed for that. After crowds of 9,036 and 8,379 for Jones' first two return trips to Huntington, 5,856 turned out to watch Marshall give Jones his fourth consecutive loss inside the Henderson Center.
Yes, fourth. Don't forget, Appalachian State bounced Marshall from the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on March 22, 2010 in what turned out to be Jones' final game before he took more money and what he believed to be more promise at UCF.
Since then, the Knights have failed in three trips to West Virginia, the home state of their head coach.
It's hard to envision a scenario where Jones will coach again in the Henderson Center, although with the tenuous grip coaches have on their jobs and the unsettled ground of conference realignment, who knows?
If it ever happens again, it'll be more about basketball than the Point Pleasant native returning to the state and school he spurned. It started to trend that way here Saturday, when Marshall won, 75-71, to snap a three-game losing streak and end UCF's four-game surge.
"That whole Donnie Jones thing, that thing is over with," Marshall senior Nigel Spikes said. "It's all about basketball."
It was apropos that Spikes was the center of the Herd's reversal of fortunes, and not because he is the man in the middle. Spikes is the only player on Marshall's roster who played for Jones.
DeAndre Kane, a junior, sat out as a partial qualifier during Jones' final season in Huntington.
Spikes had 11 points, nine blocks and four rebounds.
That's just Spikes' 10th career double-figure scoring game. In fact, the 6-foot-10 Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native had never had a multi-block game when scoring in double figures.
The nine blocks were more than double his previous career high of four, and were more than he tallied during his entire freshmen season (eight) under Jones.
Spikes' biggest contribution, perhaps, can't be gleaned from a box score.
It was 63-61 in the twilight of the game when UCF's second-leading scorer, Isaiah Sykes, drove to the basket and had his shot rejected by Spikes. Sykes collected the loose ball, and as his teammates scattered, Spikes was left in a one-on-one mismatch with the 6-5 guard.
Sykes held the ball in the left corner, then decided to take it at Spikes again.