SKYHAWK MEN'S HOOPS BRIEFLY RETURNS TO THE ROAD FOR A THURSDAY TILT AT EKU

February 6, 2018



OVCDN
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MARTIN, Tenn. –The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team seeks to keep up its recent defensive intensity when it travels to the Bluegrass State to take on Eastern Kentucky in an Ohio Valley Conference battle. The two teams collide on Thursday, Feb. 8 for a 7 p.m. CST tipoff.

The Skyhawks (8-17, 3-9 OVC) currently sit atop of the league rankings in field goal percentage defense (.405) in conference play, holding their opposition to 62.8 points over the last four games. In that same span, UT Martin’s opponents are shooting just 25 percent (23-of-92) from beyond the three-point arc.

The Skyhawks will look to avenge an early season setback to Eastern Kentucky, as the Colonels won a 78-70 decision in Martin on Jan. 11. Matthew Butler rang up team-highs of 22 points and five assists for UT Martin, drilling a season-best six 3-pointers in just 10 tries but the Skyhawks committed 10 of their 16 turnovers in the first half and could not recover.

UT Martin has won each of its last two visits to McBrayer Arena, including a 70-69 triumph in the 2015 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament quarterfinals. The Skyhawks also added a 78-70 victory in Richmond in 2016, sinking 58 percent (29-of-50) of their shot attempts while leading for nearly 36 minutes of clock time.

Eastern Kentucky (8-17, 2-10 OVC) enters the game on a six-game losing streak, including a pair of tough home setbacks last week (98-63 against Belmont, 70-63 against Tennessee State). Two-time All-OVC honoree Nick Mayo averaged 18.0 points while his frontcourt mate Zach Charles provided 14.0 points per outing last week.

In the Jan. 11 game at UT Martin, freshman Dedric Boyd was responsible for a career-high 31 points on 9-of-12 shooting (5-of-8 from three-point range, 8-of-8 from the charity stripe). Dillon Avare has also been a thorn in the Skyhawks’ side, averaging 16.5 points while shooting a blistering 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range over two career outings.

Thursday’s game will be streamed live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network. Chris Brinkley (play-by-play) and Alex Boggis (color) will provide all of the radio analysis locally on Star 95.1. Those links, in addition to a link for live stats, can be found at the top of the webpage.