Pittman led the Herd with 20 points, but Clanton was a beast at times. The Conference USA preseason player of the year scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds, 16 and 7 in the first half. He scored 11 points in a stretch that turned Marshall's 22-17 lead into a 29-28 UCF edge.
UCF led 33-32 at the half and neither team led by more than three in the second half until Newell's layup made it 55-51 UCF. Pittman answered that by swerving through the Knights' defense for a three-point play with 6:30 left. Those four Spikes free throws and a blocked Wilson dunk later, Pittman shot his key 3-pointer.
At that point, most of the 5,856 fans were finally smelling victory.
D.D. Scarver scored 16 points for the Herd, and Dennis Tinnon had 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. DeAndre Kane scored only six points on 2-of-10 shooting, but dished out 12 assists. The Herd shot a season-high 51.9 percent.
Marshall was slugged on the boards, losing the rebounding category 41-29 and allowing 21 offensive rebounds. But nine of those offensive boards were team rebounds - balls knocked out of bounds.
In fact, "team" led both squads - 11 for UCF, six for the Herd.
Newell scored 19 points, with Sykes adding 10 for the Knights. But Sykes, C-USA's reigning player of the week, was just 4 of 15 from the floor with four shots blocked. He eventually fouled out.
"Marshall did a good job. The length bothered 'Z,'" UCF coach Donnie Jones said. "Early on he got a few of his shots blocked there [on] a couple of drives to the rim. He thought he got fouled, but he didn't finish there."
The teams meet one last time Feb. 20 in Orlando. UCF is banned from postseason play and is heading off to the Big East, and the programs likely aren't going to seek each other out for scheduling.
So Wilson will have one more chance to dunk on Spikes, if he dares.
"I don't know, but I give him 'props' for that," Spikes said. "I wouldn't back down from anybody, either, but you're not going to dunk on me."
Kane jumped in and added, "Cats fight dogs, right?"
BRIEFLY: Jones, the Point Pleasant native and former Marshall coach, falls to 0-3 as a visiting coach at Cam Henderson Center. Marshall leads the series 9-6, 7-1 in Huntington. ... Tinnon and Newell drew a double technical foul in the second half. For Marshall, it was the 12th technical of the season. ... Clanton drew a technical for elbowing Pittman in the gut with 20 seconds left, then fouled out 10 seconds later. ... MU's 14 blocks is second in school history, tied with the Feb. 27, 2010 effort against UCF. Hassan Whiteside had 13 of those. ... Spikes' previous career high in blocks? Four, accomplished three times.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.