MARTIN, Tenn. – Morehead State scored the final four points of the game to break a tie with less than a minute to go in tonight’s contest as the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team fell 71-67 in Ohio Valley Conference action.
The Skyhawks (6-13, 1-5 OVC) climbed back from a 38-29 halftime deficit to lead by six points with under nine minutes remaining. However, the Eagles reclaimed the lead before a Jailen Gill layup with 54 seconds remaining evened the score at 67-all. Morehead State followed with the last four points of the contest.
Matthew Butler led UT Martin in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, tallying 21 points to go along with five assists, a career-best four steals and two rebounds. Gill hauled in his third double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Darius Thompson and Fatodd Lewis each scored 12 points. Delfincko Bogan divvied out a career-high eight assists off the bench for the Skyhawks, who forced the Eagles into 19 turnovers.
Morehead State (5-12, 1-5 OVC) was fueled by Lamontray Harris (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Londell King (10 points, 11 rebounds). The Eagles shot 60.7 percent (15-of-25) in the first half and outrebounded UT Martin by a 41-28 margin during the game.
“We fought hard but this game was right within our grasp and we didn’t execute down the stretch once again,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “That’s been the story of our season.”
Dominique Williams got UT Martin on the scoreboard with a jumper in the paint on the Skyhawks’ first possession. Morehead State used a 10-0 run to go on top by a 14-4 margin soon thereafter but UT Martin answered right back with 10 consecutive points to even the score at 14-all after a Thompson three-pointer at the 10:44 mark.
Butler scored seven of nine Skyhawk points during a 3:39 span but the Eagles were able to stretch their lead out to double-digits once again (33-23) with four minutes to go before the halftime break.
Morehead State took its biggest lead of the night (38-27) with 35 ticks on the clock in the first half before Gill slammed home a putback dunk to send UT Martin to the locker room down by nine points.
Butler led all scorers with 12 points but the Skyhawks shot 13-of-33 from the floor for 39.4 percent in the opening half. The Eagles were paced by Jordan Walker’s seven points as all nine players who saw time on the court scored in the first 20 points.
UT Martin came out of the locker room on a mission, storming out to a 43-40 lead thanks to a 14-2 run. Lewis accounted for half of the Skyhawks’ points during that surge while Thompson (four) and Butler (three) were responsible for the other seven points during UT Martin’s outburst.
The lead changed hands six times over a two-minute stretch before the Skyhawks opened up a 59-53 lead with 8:54 left to play. Morehead State responded with six straight points to tie the game at the 6:38 mark.
Two more lead changes occurred before Butler knocked down a go-ahead three-pointer from the left wing to nudge UT Martin ahead 63-61 with 3:31 to go. However, that would turn out to be the Skyhawks’ final lead of the contest as the Eagles made the plays down the stretch to eke out a road win.
UT Martin heads on the road for its next four games, starting with a Jan. 18 matchup at Eastern Illinois. Tipoff from Lantz Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.