MURRAY, Ky. – Terence Smith led four double-digit scorers this afternoon but the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team fell 91-77 at Ohio Valley Conference West rival Murray State at the CFSB Center.
Smith compiled 19 points – including four 3-pointers – in addition to a team-high four assists for the Skyhawks (5-13, 0-3 OVC). Marshun Newell cracked double-figures in the scoring column for the 12th time this season with 17 points while Myles Taylor tallied 15 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Justin Childs added 10 points on a perfect shooting performance (4-for-4 from the field, 2-for-2 from the free throw line) for UT Martin, who forced Murray State into 17 turnovers.
Cameron Payne hit six 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 27 points to lead Murray State (7-7, 2-0 OVC) while Jarvis Williams had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Racers. Jeffery Moss went 14-for-14 from the free throw line to score 20 points while TJ Sapp scored 14 points for the Racers.
“Our execution was wavering late in the game,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “I thought we were getting shots, we just weren’t making them. Our guys played hard and competed, it just came down to our execution. The main part of execution is making a basket at the end of the play. Today, we struggled with that and we have to get better.”
Myles Taylor gave UT Martin the early 3-2 advantage when he converted a tough old-fashioned three-point play at the 18:38 mark. After the Racers went on a 9-2 run, Dee Oldham and Smith knocked down three-pointers on back-to-back trips down the floor to keep the Skyhawks within a single possession at 14-11.
UT Martin would get within two points thanks to the aggressive play of Newell off the bench. The redshirt junior out of Memphis reeled off six straight points to get the Skyhawks within two points (19-17) with 9:08 left before the halftime break.
The Racers would then score 12 unanswered until Smith scored on a drive to the hoop at the 4:49 mark. UT Martin then applied full-court pressure and as a result would go on a 6-2 run to get within 10 points at the 4:19 mark.
A pair of Newell free throws capped off a 6-0 Skyhawk spurt and got UT Martin back within single-digits (37-29) with 1:14 remaining in the first half. The Racers would add another bucket in the waning seconds before halftime and took a 40-30 advantage into the locker room.
Smith’s 10 points led UT Martin at the half while Newell accounted for nine points. Payne scored 14 points in the first half to pace Murray State.
The Skyhawks struck first in the second half, as Childs scored on a backdoor layup just 19 seconds into the stanza. Myles Taylor was then responsible for six straight points for UT Martin and after a pair of Childs free throws, the Skyhawks were within six points (46-40) with 14:17 left to play in the contest.
Murray State followed with a 7-2 run until Chandler Rowe scored three of the Skyhawks’ next four points to slice UT Martin’s deficit back down to single-digits (55-46) at the 9:48 mark.
The Racers would lead 65-49 with 6:36 remaining but UT Martin did not fold, piecing together an 11-2 run over a span of 1:55. A putback by Myles Taylor, an old-fashioned three-point play by Khristian Taylor and a wide open trey in the left corner by Smith capped off eight unanswered points for UT Martin and made the score 70-63 at the 4:24 mark.
Three-pointers by Smith and Newell with under two minutes to play kept the Skyhawks within single-digits but Moss and Payne would combine to go 11-for-12 from the free throw line to close out the game for Murray State.
The Skyhawks return home for the first time in three weeks when it hosts defending OVC champion Belmont on Saturday, Jan. 11. The game – which serves as the second game of a women’s and men’s doubleheader – is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.