JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team led for over 34 minutes of clock time and made all the winning plays down the stretch in a 67-63 Ohio Valley Conference road victory at Jacksonville State.
The Skyhawks (8-14, 3-6 OVC) won their second straight road game behind an inspired defensive effort, limiting the Gamecocks to 31.8 percent shooting (21-of-66). As a direct result, UT Martin snapped a three-game losing skid to Jacksonville State (15-7, 6-3 OVC).
Delfincko Bogan, who began his collegiate career with the Gamecocks in 2015-16, had his second consecutive impact game with 21 points, four assists and five steals. Matthew Butler pitched in 14 points while Fatodd Lewis compiled 10 points and nine rebounds – knocking down the eventual game-winning shot for the second game in a row for the Skyhawks.
Malcolm Drumwright posted a game-high 22 points but he was the only Gamecock to record double-figures in the scoring column. Norbertas Giga and Jason Burnell pulled down 12 and 10 rebounds, respectively, for Jacksonville State.
“We refused to give up,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “Jacksonville State is a really good ball club – they are one of the best teams in the OVC. They kept coming back and stayed together. We executed down the stretch and our defense was tremendous tonight. We believed in each other – everybody was locked in.”
Six different Skyhawks scored in the first 5:40 of the game. After the Gamecocks scored the first four points of the game, an old-fashioned three-point play by Dominique Williams and a pair of free throws by Parker gave UT Martin its first lead of the contest at 5-4.
Jacksonville State briefly claimed an 8-7 lead but three-pointers by Darius Thompson and Bogan – sandwiched around a putback by Butler – resulted in a 15-10 Skyhawk advantage at the 14:20 mark.
Four minutes later, a right corner trifecta by Williams and a fast break layup by Thompson stretched UT Martin’s lead out to 22-13.
The Gamecocks followed with seven unanswered points to pull within one point but the Skyhawks accumulated a 9-0 run over the final 4:29 of the half. Williams canned a 15-foot jumper from the left side to extend UT Martin’s lead out to double-digits (33-23) at the break.
The Skyhawks forced Jacksonville State into 21.9 percent shooting (7-of-32) and seven turnovers in the opening half. Williams was responsible for a game-high eight points for UT Martin at the intermission as Bogan added seven points for the Skyhawks.
A Bogan layup a little over three minutes in to the second half kept UT Martin’s advantage at double-figures (35-25). Butler received the shooter’s roll on a three-pointer off a curl screen from the left wing to make the score 42-32 in favor of the Skyhawks with 13:04 to play.
Jacksonville State made a run, tossing in eight straight points to creep within a single possession (42-40) at the 9:54 mark. Bogan (15-foot jumper from the left baseline) and Butler (three-pointer from the right wing) quickly pushed UT Martin’s advantage back out to seven points with eight minutes to go.
The Gamecocks rallied with 11 of the next 13 points to take their first lead since 16:01 of the opening half. After Jacksonville State took its 51-49 advantage, Butler quickly answered with a 15-foot jumper to even the score with 4:36 remaining.
Bogan then came up clutch, swishing a pair of three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the Skyhawks ahead by a 57-55 margin. After Drumwright hit two treys in the span of 38 seconds to give the Gamecocks a 63-61 advantage with 36 seconds left to play.
UT Martin then wrapped up the game with the final six points, starting with Lewis’ go-ahead three-pointer. Thompson made one of two free throws to make the score 65-63 with 14 seconds left and following a Skyhawk defensive stand, Parker calmly sank a pair of free throw attempts to seal the victory with five seconds to go.
UT Martin goes for its third consecutive road win on Saturday, Jan. 27 when it travels to in-state OVC rival Tennessee Tech. Tipoff from the Eblen Center in Cookeville is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.