January 11, 2018


MARTIN, Tenn. – For the seventh time this season, the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team placed four scorers in double-figures but it wasn’t enough as the visiting Eastern Kentucky Colonels handed the Skyhawks a 78-70 setback at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.

Matthew Butler once again led the way for UT Martin (6-12, 0-4 Ohio Valley Conference), pacing the team in scoring for the third straight contest with 22 points. The redshirt senior guard out of Memphis, Tenn. splashed six trifectas in 10 tries and also provided a team-high five assists and four rebounds.

Parrish Hewitt posted 12 points and four rebounds off the bench while frontcourt faction of Dominique Williams (11 points) and Jailen Gill (10 points) combined for a 9-of-10 shooting performance for the Skyhawks. Fatodd Lewis came off the bench to haul in a team-high eight rebounds in only 21 minutes as UT Martin outshot Eastern Kentucky (41.9 percent to 41.0 percent).

Eastern Kentucky (7-11, 1-4 OVC) was led by Dedric Boyd’s game-high 31 points on 9-of-12 shooting and an 8-for-8 effort from the free throw line. Jackson Davis and Dillon Avare provided 16 and 12 points, respectively, while leading scorer Nick Mayo was held to just two points but accrued game-highs of 11 rebounds and six assists.

“Our focus wasn’t there tonight and that was disappointing to see,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “Once again, we have yet to see a full 40 minutes from this team. We have to understand that you can’t just play in spurts. We have to lay it all out on the line for the full 40 minutes if we want to win in this league.”

A three-pointer by Butler and a jumper in the paint by Mike Fofana gave UT Martin its first lead of the evening at 5-3. The Colonels immediately answered with a 12-2 run before inside buckets by Butler and Hewitt sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 15-11 at the 11:41 mark of the first half.

Eastern Kentucky went ahead by double-digits (27-17) before Hewitt unfurled five points in the span of 33 seconds to get UT Martin back within five points. The Colonels followed with the next eight points of the contest but the Skyhawks accounted for six of the final seven points of the half. Butler nailed a three-ball with under a minute to go in the first half to provide the 39-31 UT Martin deficit at the break.

Butler tossed in 11 points in the opening 20 minutes but the Skyhawks were hampered by 10 turnovers. Boyd (13), Avare (12) and Davis (12) all reached double-figures in the scoring column to guide Eastern Kentucky in the first half.

The Colonels secured eight of the first 11 points in the second stanza, eventually pulling out to a 15-point advantage (53-38) with a little under 15 minutes to go. UT Martin generated points on each of its next two possessions (18-foot Williams jumper, three-pointer by Butler) to quickly get back within 10 points.

Eastern Kentucky took its biggest lead of the game (59-43) at the 9:56 mark but the Skyhawks clawed back behind a 9-1 run. Williams sank a three-pointer, Darius Thompson locked down an old-fashioned three-point play and Butler canned a trey to get UT Martin within single-digits at 60-52.

Yet another trifecta by Butler and a layup by Hewitt got the Skyhawks even closer at 63-57 with 7:24 remaining but the Colonels scored the next seven points of the game. UT Martin would close within seven points on two different occasions with under a minute left to play but that was as close as it would get.

The Skyhawks put the finishing touches on their short homestand on Saturday, Jan. 13 as UT Martin hosts OVC foe Morehead State at approximately 6 p.m. (following the women’s game).