BACK-AND-FORTH CONTEST GOES WAY OF SIUE AS UTM MEN'S BASKETBALL FALLS 70-69
February 15, 2018
MARTIN, Tenn. – For the third consecutive game, the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team shot over 50 percent but the visiting SIUE Cougars escaped with a 70-69 Ohio Valley Conference win at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
The game was tied 13 times and featured 11 lead changes. SIUE led for 17:56 while the Skyhawks led for 17:09 and the game was tied for 4:55. After Jalen Henry made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds to go, UT Martin called a timeout to draw up a play for the potential game-winning bucket. Jailen Gill had a contested look from the left block but his turnaround shot rimmed out and fell into the hands of Henry at the buzzer.
Delfincko Bogan led the charge for the Skyhawks (9-19, 4-11 OVC) this evening, pumping in 22 points, a career-best seven rebounds, a game-high six assists and three steals. Matthew Butler piled up 17 points while Fatodd Lewis registered 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds for a UT Martin squad that connected on 51.1 percent (23-of-45) of its field goal tries.
SIUE (9-17, 5-10 OVC) was paced by Keenan Simmons, who scored a career-high 25 points on a perfect 12-of-12 shooting night. Henry was the only other double-digit scorer for the Cougars, who were held to 42.4 percent shooting (25-for-59).
“It was back-and-forth but at the end of the day, we have to make plays,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We have to make free throws – we missed a couple of front-ends of 1-and-1’s and that’s what happens when you don’t make those.”
Bogan scored five points during UT Martin’s 7-2 run to begin the game, sinking the first bucket of the contest before adding a trifecta at the 17:51 mark. The junior from Charleston, Mo. knocked down another three-pointer with 14:10 to play in the first half to keep the Skyhawk lead at five points (13-8).
SIUE took its first lead of the game with 12:39 to play in the first half and pushed its advantage out to 22-18 a little under four minutes later.
Butler buried two treys in a 70-second span to even the score at 24-all at the 7:17 mark. However, the Cougars scored the next eight points of the game – six of which came from Simmons. Another Bogan three-ball and a pair of Lewis free throws pulled UT Martin back within a single possession (35-32) before SIUE went on another run to close out the half and take a 41-34 lead.
Bogan posted 11 points in the opening stanza as the Skyhawks shot 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from three-point land. Simmons rode a 10-of-10 effort on his way to 21 points for SIUE, who struggled from long distance (2-of-10) in the first 20 minutes.
A Simmons layup was the opening basket of the second half and gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the night at 43-34.
UT Martin continually whittled its deficit until breaking through for a 49-46 lead at the 13:27 mark. A Bogan three-pointer on a fast break was the go-ahead bucket while Butler added a jumper in the paint to cap off an 8-0 Skyhawk run.
After SIUE claimed a 52-51 lead with 11:22 remaining, the Skyhawks seized the lead and did not surrender their advantage over the following 8:23. The score was tied at 59-59 at the 6:46 mark but Gill came right back with a wide-open dunk on a slip to the basket. Bogan tacked on an old-fashioned three-point play to push UT Martin’s lead to 64-59 with exactly six minutes to go.
Henry made one of two free throws at the 2:59 mark, briefly resulting in a 66-65 Skyhawk deficit. Bogan then sank a contested runner in the lane to tilt the score back in favor of UT Martin with 1:45 remaining. Henry and Darius Thompson each swapped two free throws apiece – the latter of which handed the Skyhawks a 69-68 lead with 59 ticks on the clock.
Unfortunately, Henry was able to make both of his clutch free throw attempts at the 16-second mark, which turned out to be the game-winning points.
UT Martin concludes its home schedule on Saturday, Feb. 17 when it hosts OVC foe Eastern Illinois on Senior Night. The Skyhawk trio of Lorenzen Wright, Jr., Dominique Williams and Butler will be honored in a brief ceremony before the game will tip off at approximately 6 p.m. (following the women’s game as part of a doubleheader).