CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Marshun Newell and Myles Taylor scored 18 points apiece to power the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team to a 79-70 Ohio Valley Conference triumph at Southeast Missouri at the Show Me Center this evening.
Newell also added four rebounds, three assists and three steals in 28 minutes off the bench while Taylor grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in 32 minutes. Dee Oldham added 13 points and seven rebounds while Mike Liabo registered 12 points for UT Martin (8-19, 3-9 OVC), who ended the game on an 18-8 run after trailing by one point at the 5:53 mark.
Southeast Missouri (13-13, 4-8 OVC) was led by Tyler Stone’s 21 points and 16 rebounds while Josh Langford tallied 14 points for the Redhawks, who were limited to 22.7 percent shooting (5-for-22) from beyond the three-point arc tonight.
“It was a big win for us,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “I thought we opened the game strong and finished the game strong – that’s the first time that’s happened in a while. I thought we were engaged, mentally and physically. Down the stretch we showed that we wanted to win.”
A Terence Smith trey from the left wing at the 18:51 mark provided UT Martin with its first lead of the game at 3-2. After the score was tied 4-4, Southeast Missouri scored six unanswered until back-to-back buckets by Smith and Javier Martinez chipped the Skyhawk deficit to just two (10-8) at the 13:09 mark.
The Redhawks responded with a 7-0 run to go on top 17-8. UT Martin then pieced together a lengthy run, outscoring Southeast Missouri by a 12-1 margin over a span of 2:29 to go ahead by a score of 20-18.
Southeast Missouri would come back to tie the score at 20-all and 26-all but a Mike Liabo leaner and Newell fadeaway three-pointer gave the Skyhawks a 31-26 advantage at the 2:44 mark. The Redhawks accounted for the next four points but a Justin Childs leaner with five seconds left before the first half buzzer gave UT Martin a 33-30 lead at the break.
Liabo’s nine points paced the Skyhawks in the first half while Stone nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds for Southeast Missouri.
A trey by Taylor opened the second half scoring for UT Martin but the Redhawks quickly used a 6-0 spurt to take a 39-36 lead with 17:06 remaining in the contest.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Taylor less than a minute later erased the Skyhawk deficit and evened the score at 39-all. The two teams were tied at 42-42 until Oldham and Taylor accounted for buckets on back-to-back trips down the floor provided a 46-42 UT Martin advantage inside of 14 minutes to play.
The Skyhawks would hang on to that lead until an Antonius Clevaland fast break dunk at the 8:04 mark. Both sides then swapped buckets over the next two possessions down the floor until a Newell straightaway trifecta tilted the score in UT Martin’s favor at 61-58. Stone then converted two straight layups to put Southeast Missouri ahead by a 62-61 margin with 5:53 remaining.
However, that would be the final time the Redhawks would claim for the remainder of the contest. UT Martin piled up a 7-0 run to go on top by a 68-62 margin after another old-fashioned three-point play by Taylor.
Southeast Missouri would get within two points with 2:02 remaining but the Skyhawks would closed out the game on a 9-2 run, as Taylor and Oldham combined to go a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute of play.
UT Martin now closes out the regular season with four straight games at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center. The homestand begins next Thursday, Feb. 20 when UT Martin hosts Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m.