EXTENDED SECOND HALF RUN SINKS UT MARTIN MEN'S HOOPS IN 70-53 LOSS AT MOREHEAD STATE
February 22, 2018
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MOREHEAD, Ky. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team held a lead with 12 minutes left to play tonight but the host Morehead State Eagles scored 13 unanswered points in a 70-53 win at Johnson Arena.
With the loss, the Skyhawks (9-21, 4-13 Ohio Valley Conference) are officially eliminated from OVC Tournament contention.
Junior center Terrence Parker was a force inside for the Skyhawks tonight, generating his second double-double with 12 points and a career-best 20 rebounds off the bench. The Wilson, NC native also added two blocks, two steals and an assist for UT Martin. His 20 rebounds are just one shy of the school’s Division-I record, as he joins Javier Martinez (2017) and Kedar Edwards (2016) as the only players to snag at least 20 rebounds in a single game.
Matthew Butler scored a team-best 14 points while Fatodd Lewis added 11 points for the Skyhawks, who committed a season-high 26 turnovers while shooting 39.3 percent (22-of-56) for the game.
Morehead State (7-21, 3-14 OVC) received 15 points, seven assists and nine steals from AJ Hicks. The Eagles were also guided by Londell King’s 14 points and 11 rebounds while De’von Cooper tallied 12 points.
“Our shots weren’t falling tonight,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “But we had too many turnovers so regardless of what’s falling and what’s not, we have to take care of the ball. We didn’t do that at all. You’re not going to win turning the ball over that much.”
A Butler jumper off a hesitation move at the 18:43 mark opened the scoring for the Skyhawks. Morehead State followed with five unanswered points to claim a 7-2 lead three minutes into the contest.
Parker helped UT Martin take its first lead of the night, scoring six consecutive points to give the Skyhawks a 12-11 advantage at the second media timeout.
The two sides swapped leads seven times over a near five-minute stretch before a quick 8-0 UT Martin run. Butler scored five of the Skyhawk points during the surge, including a trifecta at the 5:33 mark that padded UT Martin’s lead to 24-17.
The Eagles responded with the next seven points of the game but back-to-back buckets by Fatodd Lewis nudged the Skyhawk lead out to 28-24. However, Morehead State accounted for nine of the final 11 points of the first stanza to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room.
Butler was responsible for a game-high nine points while Parker accumulated eight points and eight rebounds off the bench in the first 20 minutes for UT Martin. Lamontray Harris scored nine points for an Eagle offense that shot just 32.3 percent (10-of-31) from the floor but made nine of their 12 free throw attempts.
Morehead State scored the first bucket of the second half but the Skyhawks dialed up the next six points to even the score at 36-all. Parker (putback following an offensive rebound), Delfincko Bogan (fast break jumper) and Lewis (strong take to the hoop) each provided points to get UT Martin back in the game.
After finding themselves in a five-point deficit with 14:26 remaining, the Skyhawks powered ahead behind three-pointers by Butler and Lewis. The brief 6-0 run tilted the score back in favor of UT Martin (44-43) with 12:20 to go.
The Eagles followed with the aforementioned 13-0 run, as Morehead State opened up a 56-44 lead with 7:25 left on the clock.
Two free throws by Darius Thompson with just under six minutes to play sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 58-50. However, the Eagles came right back with six unanswered points and UT Martin could not get back within single digits the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks close out the 2017-18 season on Saturday, Feb. 24 with an OVC road matchup at Southeast Missouri. Tipoff from the Show Me Center is scheduled for approximately 4:15 p.m.