MARTIN, Tenn. – Junior guard Dee Oldham tossed in a career-best 23 points for the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team tonight but the Skyhawks fell 91-83 to Tennessee Tech at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Oldham matched his previous career-high total of 16 points in the first half tonight before ending with the game-high scoring total. He hit 10 of his 19 shot attempts – including a pair of three-pointers and a free throw in 27 minutes off the bench.
“Dee made a couple of real big shots, making three’s and taking the ball to the rim,” Skyhawk head coach Jason James said. “I think this was the first game where we saw Dee start to grow up a little bit. What I mean by that is he’s been playing well but he hasn’t really taken over the game and today he started to do that.”
Terence Smith set a new career-high with 13 free throws made (in 14 attempts), concluding his evening with 15 points. Myles Taylor recorded his 14th career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds tonight while Mike Liabo (11 points) and Javier Martinez (10 points, seven rebounds) also pitched in solid efforts for the Skyhawks (8-20, 3-10 Ohio Valley Conference).
Tennessee Tech (14-14, 7-6 OVC) was paced by 20 points and 10 assists by Jeremiah Samarrippas. Dennis Ogbe (17 points), Dwan Caldwell (11) and Josiah Moore (10) also reached double-figures for the Golden Eagles, who overcame 17 turnovers by shooting 57.1 percent (32-for-56) from the floor.
Tennessee Tech led 11-4 in the game’s earlygoing but Oldham provided instant offense off the bench, as his three-pointer at the 12:25 left in the first half evened the score at 23-all.
The Golden Eagles would stretch their lead back out to eight points (36-28) with a little under nine minutes to go in the first half but a fast break layup by Oldham at the 4:48 mark tied the score at 42-42.
Tennessee Tech would end the first half on a 7-3 run to take a 52-47 lead at the halftime break. Oldham’s 16 points led all scorers while the trio of Samarrippas, Moore and Jordan Johnson each had nine points to lead the Golden Eagles.
After a Liabo three-pointer got the Skyhawks within four points (55-51) less than two minutes into the second half, Tennessee Tech went on a 12-2 run to go ahead by a 67-53 margin with 14:07 remaining.
Taylor had a steal and fast break layup to close UT Martin within single-digits (70-61) with 11:13 left to play but the Golden Eagles used an 8-2 run to match its biggest lead of the game at 78-63.
UT Martin answered right back with a 13-1 run over a span of 4:23, as a Justin Childs free throw at the 4:53 mark got the Skyhawks within one possession at 79-76.
Oldham kept the Skyhawk deficit at three points with a jumper in the paint less than 30 seconds later but the Golden Eagles went on a 9-3 run to go on top by nine and UT Martin couldn’t catch up.
The Skyhawks return to the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on Saturday, Feb. 22 for “UTM Appreciation Day” in a women’s and men’s OVC doubleheader. All faculty and staff will receive two free reserved chairback tickets with the swipe of a faculty/staff Skyhawk card and the first 500 students who swipe their Skyhawk card will receive an official UT Martin basketball shirt, courtesy of Russell Athletic brand. Tipoff for the women’s game against Murray State is set for 2 p.m. while the men play Southeast Missouri at 4 p.m.