BATON ROUGE, La. – Redshirt junior forward Fatodd Lewis posted a career-best 25 points for the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team but a late drought led to a 69-66 loss at Southern this evening.
Lewis’ scoring performance was six points better than his previous career-high of 19 points set against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 29, 2016. The Memphis, Tenn. native also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, leading the Skyhawks in that category for the fourth consecutive game.
Matthew Butler added 16 points with four assists and three steals for UT Martin (1-4). Terrence Parker collected 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting to go along with six rebounds in 17 minutes but the Skyhawks went the final 8:08 without a field goal, seeing a six-point advantage evaporate down the stretch.
Southern (1-5) was carried by Jared Sam’s game-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting and a 9-for-11 performance from the free throw line. He was the only Jaguar to score in double-figures as Southern attempted 33 free throws against UT Martin’s 12.
UT Martin came out blazing, scoring the first 10 points of the contest in just two-plus minutes. A Lewis three-pointer from the left wing provided the Skyhawks with a 10-0 advantage with 17:53 to go in the first half.
Southern’s first bucket of the game came at the 17:30 mark as the Jaguars stormed back to take their first lead of the contest at 15-14. A pair of Lewis free throws at the 12:01 mark tilted the score back in UT Martin’s favor but Southern scored nine of the next 11 points to go ahead by a 24-18 margin just under the midway point of the first half.
The Skyhawks trailed by double-figures (30-20) at the 6:24 mark but Butler answered with a step-in three-pointer. Lewis scored on back-to-back trips down the floor while Parker notched an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:06 left before the halftime break to pull UT Martin within four points (35-31).
The Jaguars answered with the final four points of the half to claim a 39-31 advantage at the break.
Lewis’ 13 points paced the Skyhawks in the first half as UT Martin outrebounded Southern by a 17-14 margin. Sam had 15 points for a Southern squad that held a 20-5 advantage from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes.
Parker piled up the first five Skyhawk points of the second half, helping UT Martin trim its deficit to 41-36 less than a minute in to the stanza. The Jaguars followed with the next five points of the contest to once ahead go on top by double-digits at 46-36.
The Butler and Lewis duo then accounted for two baskets apiece during a 10-0 Skyhawk run. The upperclassmen tandem each dialed up a layup and three-pointer to even the score at 46-all with a little over 15 minutes left to play.
A pull-up trifecta by Delfincko Bogan resulted in UT Martin’s first lead in over 19 minutes of clock time, nudging the Skyhawks ahead by a 49-48 margin. Sam soon tied the contest at 51-51 with a bucket inside but a Jailen Gill alley-oop dunk and Lewis straightaway three-pointer provided UT Martin with a five-point advantage with 11 minutes to go.
Butler (contested three-pointer) and Gill (hook shot in the lane) helped extend the Skyhawk lead out to six points with 8:08 remaining.
However, the Jaguars came right back with a 10-0 run, taking a 65-61 lead with 3:52 left to play in the process. Lewis, Gill and Kahari Beaufort combined to make five free over the final 3:36 but ultimately it wasn’t enough for UT Martin.
The Skyhawks return home for just the second time this season on Sunday, Nov. 26 as part of a women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center. The UT Martin men’s squad will host the UMKC Kangaroos at 4 p.m.