MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team scored 10 unanswered points in crunch time to roll past Northern Kentucky by a 79-66 margin at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center this afternoon.
UT Martin (4-8) trailed by four points with 5:32 to go in the contest before unreeling the 10-0 run. From that point forward, the Skyhawks would not trail for the remainder of the game and would lead by as many as 15 points.
Junior Myles Taylor joined an illustrious group today, as he became the 17th member in UT Martin program history to score 1,000 career points. He tied for the team lead with 15 points, including five straight points in the Skyhawks’ gamechanging late 10-0 run.
Justin Childs also scored a season-best 15 points for UT Martin, including eight of the Skyhawks’ last 12 points to close out the game. Marshun Newell (12 points) and Terence Smith (10) also cracked double-figures in the scoring column for the Skyhawks, who only turned the ball over four times while forcing Northern Kentucky into 16 turnovers.
Northern Kentucky (1-7) was led by Jordan Jackson’s 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Todd Johnson recorded a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) while Greg Flournoy scored 14 points for the Norse.
“We’re starting to play better,” Skyhawk head coach Jason James said. “We still have to get better defensively but when we needed stops, we got them and that’s the sign of a pretty good team. Today was the same situation that has happened in games earlier this year but we kept our foot on the pedal and got over the hump. We are seeing the maturation of this team, slowly but surely.”
The lead swapped hands four times and four ties took place in the game’s first 6:15 but the Skyhawks tallied seven unanswered points, capped off by an old-fashioned three-point play by Newell that made the score 15-8 at the 11:29 mark.
Northern Kentucky would get within two points twice but UT Martin would push its advantage back out to seven points (24-17) when Jones canned a trifecta with 5:14 to play in the first half.
However, the Norse would tie the contest at 30-all with 1:47 remaining before the teams settled for a 33-33 tie at halftime.
Johnson and Jackson each scored 10 points to lead Northern Kentucky in the first half, while Newell and Mike Liabo paced the Skyhawks with six points apiece.
Newell began the second half with a layup on UT Martin’s first possession but Northern Kentucky scored six straight points to go on top 39-35. The Skyhawks stayed within five points until the 8:37 mark when the Norse took a 52-46 advantage.
Baskets by Smith and Taylor sliced UT Martin’s deficit to one, setting up the Skyhawks’ 10-0 run. Northern Kentucky would get back within two points (65-63) at the 2:23 mark but UT Martin immediately answered with a 14-1 run, going a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 45 seconds.
The Skyhawks will take next week off to focus on final exams before returning to action on Monday, Dec. 16 at Presbyterian. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.