BUTLER'S SCORING SPREE DOWN THE STRETCH NOT ENOUGH AS UTM FALLS AT CHATTANOOGA
December 2, 2017
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Matthew Butler poured in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s final 15 points this evening but the Skyhawks could not hold off Chattanooga in a 66-63 loss at McKenzie Arena.
Butler lit up the scoreboard for a game-high 27 points in 31 minutes tonight, shooting 9-of-18 from the floor (5-of-11 from three-point range). He also knocked down four of his five attempts from the charity stripe for UT Martin (1-7).
Fatodd Lewis compiled 11 points to go along with seven rebounds for the Skyhawks. Terrence Parker also shared the team lead with seven rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench while Darius Thompson registered seven points and a team-high three assists for UT Martin, who limited the host Mocs to just 36.5 percent shooting (19-of-52).
Chattanooga (4-4) placed four scorers in double-figures, led by Makale Foreman’s 18 points. Rodney Chatman (12), Nat Dixon (10) and James Lewis, Jr. (10) also pitched in to the Mocs’ offensive attack.
“We came out and played like I know we can play,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We just didn’t sustain our effort for a long enough time. We had some lapses defensively on our coverages again and you just can’t do that if you’re going to win, especially on the road.”
Butler provided UT Martin with its first lead, scoring the game’s opening bucket on a drive down the left side of the lane. Thompson later canned a straightaway three-pointer and Butler added another trifecta to give the Skyhawks an 8-5 advantage five minutes into the contest.
Chattanooga held a pair of brief leads but a 7-2 run put UT Martin back on top. Jailen Gill slammed home an alley-oop dunk at the 7:20 mark to ignite the run, which was capped off by a Lewis left corner three-pointer and a 15-foot jumper by Delfincko Bogan that made the score 19-15.
Dominique Williams sank a leaner in the paint to extend the Skyhawk lead out to five points with 3:10 remaining before the halftime break. Jerome Davis tacked on a pair of free throws to round out the first half scoring as UT Martin took a 28-25 advantage into the locker room.
Lewis compiled team-highs of six points and five rebounds for a balanced Skyhawk attack that included four scorers with at least five points. UT Martin shot 55.6 percent from three-point range (5-of-9) while limiting the Mocs to just 25 percent shooting (6-for-24) from the floor in the opening half.
Chattanooga began the second half on a 10-0 spurt, going ahead 35-28 in the process. Mike Fofana ended the Skyhawk drought with two free throw makes at the 16:21 mark while Lewis knocked down a three-pointer on UT Martin’s next possession to pull the Skyhawks back within four points at 37-33.
The Mocs answered with back-to-back three-pointers to take a double-digit lead (43-33) with 14:28 remaining. UT Martin then unreeled a 15-2 run to get back in the game, keyed by the duo of Butler and Parker. Butler scored seven points during the run while back-to-back buckets by Parker gave the Skyhawks a 48-45 lead with nine minutes to go.
After a pair of Butler free throws kept UT Martin’s lead at three points, the Mocs chalked up 10 of the next 12 points to go ahead by a 57-52 margin at the 4:25 mark. Butler accounted for 15 consecutive points down the stretch – including an 18-foot jumper at the 2:27 mark that tied the score at 57-all.
Butler added a pair of contested three-pointers in the final 18 seconds to get the Skyhawks as close as one point (64-63) but Chattanooga made all four of its free throw attempts in the last 13 seconds to seal the win.
UT Martin closes out its three-game road trip on Tuesday, Dec. 5 when it makes the short trek to Jonesboro, Ark. for a matchup at Arkansas State. Tipoff time from the Convocation Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.