MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team seemed destined for overtime today but Southeast Missouri’s Antonius Cleveland banked in a running halfcourt shot with 0.2 seconds remaining to deal the Skyhawks a crushing 77-74 loss at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
The loss officially eliminates UT Martin from the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
Dee Oldham made a pair of clutch free throws with four seconds left for the ninth tie of the contest at 74-all. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Cleveland weaved left and hoisted the game-winning shot from straightaway midcourt.
Terence Smith tied a season-high with 23 points this evening for the Skyhawks while also joining the illustrious 1,000 career point club. The redshirt junior out of Russellville, Ala. became the program’s 18th member to reach the scoring milestone.
Two days after ringing up a career-best 23 points against Tennessee Tech, Oldham had another great scoring game today – tallying 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor. Marshun Newell added 16 points for UT Martin (8-21, 3-11 OVC), who held Southeast Missouri to 13.3 percent shooting (2-for-15) from beyond the three-point arc until Cleveland’s final shot.
Southeast Missouri (15-13, 6-8 OVC) was led by 22 points by Jarekious Bradley. Cleveland scored 14 points while Nino Johnson (13 points) and Tyler Stone (12 points, 11 rebounds) also guided the Redhawks.
An Oldham jumper at the 17:09 mark of the first half provided UT Martin with its first lead of the game at 4-3. Southeast Missouri would soon go on an 11-0 run to lead by 12 points but five straight points from Mike Liabo ignited a 7-0 Skyhawk spurt to get UT Martin back within striking distance.
A trey by Newell with 1:45 to go in the first half got the Skyhawks within four points at 31-27 but the Redhawks would take a 35-28 lead into the locker room at the halftime break.
Newell had 10 points in the first half to lead UT Martin while Johnson’s 12 points paced Southeast Missouri.
Behind Oldham, the Skyhawks began the second half on an 11-3 run, as the sophomore out of Lebanon, Tenn. poured in eight points during that stretch – including a layup at the 16:56 mark to tilt the score in UT Martin’s favor at 39-38.
A pair of three-pointers by Smith within three minutes of each other expanded the Skyhawk lead out to eight points (47-39) with 13:18 remaining.
Newell converted a tough layup at the 8:38 mark to give UT Martin a 54-47 advantage but a layup by Stone tied things up at 60-all with 4:09 left to play.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Oldham 45 seconds later put the Skyhawks ahead by a 65-62 margin. However, Southeast Missouri would score six unanswered to take a 68-65 lead with 2:25 remaining.
Back-to-back jumpers by Newell completed a 7-1 Skyhawk run and gave UT Martin a 72-69 advantage with 56 seconds left to play. Bradley answered back with a trifecta and pair of free throws to put the Redhawks on top 74-72 with 15 seconds remaining.
Newell was then fouled on a drive to the hoop and could not shoot the free throws because of an injury. Oldham stepped in and knocked down two huge shots from the charity stripe to even the score at 74-74. Cleveland’s three-pointer then followed and UT Martin could not get off a shot attempt in the final 0.2 seconds.
The Skyhawks continue their season-ending four-game homestand with an OVC West matchup against Murray State on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m.