PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Jacolby Mobley poured in a career-high 25 points tonight – including a game-winning 25-foot buzzer beater from the left wing – to help the University of Tennessee at Martin soar for its fifth consecutive victory, a 66-63 road win at Duquesne.
The Skyhawks trailed by 16 points with under 14 minutes to go in the contest before Mobley’s heroics capped off one of the program’s most impressive non-conference wins in recent memory.
Mobley, who also sank a game-winning three-pointer at Austin Peay on Feb. 13, 2016, received the inbound pass from Matthew Butler with 3.3 seconds remaining. The senior out of Starkville, Miss. took two dribbles, created some separation and let it fly from in front of the Skyhawk bench. The shot found nothing but net as his teammates rushed the court to hoist him on their shoulders.
“We had about three or four plays we were trying to draw up in the huddle,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We were running out of the time but Jacolby said to just give him the ball so we did and he did what seniors do. He carried us to the finish line.”
In addition to his career best scoring output, Mobley also added a career-high six rebounds to help UT Martin improve to 5-1 on the season. Butler was the only other Skyhawk to reach double figures in the scoring column, as he added 13 points. Javier Martinez and Fatodd Lewis each corralled nine rebounds to help UT Martin win the battle on the glass by a 49-38 margin.
Duquesne (2-4) was led by Emile Blackman’s 19 points while Isiaha Mike (15) and Rene Castro (11) were also double-digit scorers. The Dukes, members of the prestigious Atlantic 10 Conference, took a 38-28 halftime lead before the Skyhawk defense bottled them up for 31 percent shooting – including a 1-of-10 effort from three-point range – in the final 20 minutes.
Duquesne scored the first four points of the game before a Butler three-pointer and a Kedar Edwards dunk on two straight trips down the floor gave UT Martin its first lead of the game.
Malik London scored on back-to-back possessions before Mobley reeled off five straight Skyhawk points to even the score at 16-all midway through the first half.
The Dukes answered with a 14-2 run to go ahead by a 32-20 margin before another Mobley trifecta got UT Martin back within single digits. Chandler Rowe then closed out the first half with five straight points for the Skyhawks but Duquesne scored on a last-second play to take a 38-28 lead into the halftime break.
Mobley’s 10 first-half points guided UT Martin, who shot 28.2 percent (11-of-39) in the first 20 minutes. Castro’s 11 points off the bench led a Duke squad who hit five 3-pointers in the opening half.
Duquesne scored five of its first six points of the second half and eventually stretched its lead out to 52-36 with 13:52 remaining. Butler then sank a pair of three-pointers and Dante Bailey contributed four points during a Skyhawk surge before Mobley took over the game.
Mobley accounted for eight straight UT Martin points in the span of 2:26, helping the Skyhawks pull within five points (59-54) with 7:28 to go.
The Dukes knocked down a pair of free throws and followed with a layup at the 4:54 mark to take a 63-56 lead. However, that would be the last points that Duquesne would score the rest of the way, as the Dukes went 0-for-7 from the field while committing two turnovers from that point forward.
Edwards pumped in five straight points – including two free throws to even the score at 63-all with 3:13 left to play. That proved to be the last points before Mobley’s game-ending heroics.
The Skyhawks will enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow before rounding out their participation in the Bluegrass Showcase with a nationally televised road tilt at No. 1 Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 25. Tipoff time from Rupp Arena is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST as the SEC Network will have live coverage.