The leadership post
HUNTINGTON -- When Marshall lost veteran guard DeAndre Kane to a broken hand last week, the Herd did not only lose its leading ball-handler.
The Herd also lost its on-court leader.
With a pair of young, inexperienced guards set to take the reigns and lead the offense, Marshall coach Tom Herrion is looking to his frontcourt veterans to step up as leaders in Kane's absence.
"They've got to be our anchor for us," Herrion said. "A lot of other guys -- the two junior college guys are new and obviously, some young guards that are playing a lot more now, which is great. They'll continue to get great experience as we move forward."
Against Cincinnati on Saturday, the team struggled in both capacities -- handling the ball out front and having the big men finish around the rim when opportunities arose.
Tinnon and Spikes combined to finish 0-of-9 from the floor in the game with each playing more than 30 minutes against the Bearcats.
"We struggled to score in a lot of different areas -- inside the lane, around the basket, stick-backs, post moves," Herrion said. "They are guys that have done it before, so we have to be confident they'll continue to get better. We'll address it."
Both Tinnon and Spikes know they must step up their game to not only lead the team, but to also take the pressure off the guards, who already will have the opposing defense bearing down on them.
"We just have to keep working together," Tinnon said. "As long as the ball goes in and out, everything will be fine."
He also said that he and Spikes have to do a better job of making sure the team gets the ball up the court to get into their offensive sets.
"When our guards are getting pressured, me and Nigel, you know, we have got to make sure and come up and get the ball," Tinnon said. "At times, if the guards get stuck in the back -- we're big men so we're used to running back -- we have to be more helpful and be more vocal."
Rest assured, it's not an easy scenario for the Herd right now.
Savannah State comes in as another powerful low-major team with aspirations of knocking off Marshall, whose an opponent from a bigger conference.
The Tigers have already played the likes of Marquette, Ohio State, Florida and UCF on the season.
They aren't going to back down from the Herd one bit.
In terms of size, the biggest Tigers on the floor will be 6-7 forward Arnold Louis and 6-8 forward Jyles Smith, who has fouled out of four of the 10 games he has played in this season.
The 6-8 Tinnon and 6-11 Spikes are going to be crucial to keeping the Herd above Savannah State.
And their leadership on the floor will mean much more than the height advantage they possess.