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MARTIN, Tenn. – Kedar Edwards knocked down a pull-up three-pointer with 1.3 seconds to go to help the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team grind out a come-from-behind win, soaring to an 82-81 win over Florida Atlantic at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
For the third consecutive win, the Skyhawks (6-2) battled back from a double-digit deficit to come out on top. UT Martin trailed by seven points at the halftime break and 11 points with 9:59 remaining before mounting yet another comeback, aided by a 60 percent shooting (18-of-30) effort in the second half. Edwards received an inbounds pass 75 feet away from the basket before taking five dribbles and rising up for the go-ahead bucket.
After Florida Atlantic (2-4) called a timeout to set up a play, Edwards intercepted the ensuing pass and the celebration began for the Skyhawks.
“We just kept fighting and wouldn’t give up,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We had two of our senior leaders go down injured but we didn’t make excuses and our guys played for each other. Big players hit big shots and that’s what Kedar did.”
Fatodd Lewis led the Skyhawks in scoring tonight as he established new career-highs in points (19), three-pointers (four) and minutes played (32). Matthew Butler played big down the stretch and piled up 15 points while Edwards (13), Malik Pugh (12) and Jacolby Mobley (11) all reached double-figures in scoring. Chandler Rowe also enjoyed a great all-around performance with six points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals in a game-high 39 minutes.
The Owls were paced by Jailyn Ingram’s 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting while Ronald Delph posted a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Nick Rutherford tallied 17 points and nine assists while Adonis Filer rand up 10 points for Florida Atlantic, who competes in Conference USA.
A three-pointer by Butler provided UT Martin with its first lead of the night at 5-2 but it was the Owls who soon seized the lead, edging the Skyhawks for 35:34 of clock time. A 12-2 Florida Atlantic run resulted in a 19-10 UT Martin deficit with 10:45 remaining before the halftime break.
The Owls took a 25-14 lead at the 6:27 mark of the first half but the backcourt duo of Butler and Mobley combined for the next eight Skyhawk points to trim their deficit to seven points. Lewis drilled a three-pointer with 49 seconds to go in the half to provide the 38-31 halftime score.
Mobley boasted a team-high 11 points for UT Martin in the opening half but the Skyhawks could not overcome a hot shooting performance by Florida Atlantic, who connected on 51.9 percent of its attempts. Ingram tossed in 12 points to lead the Owls in the first half.
Lewis converted a three-pointer to open UT Martin’s scoring in the second half, trimming its deficit to six points early. Edwards racked up six consecutive points for the Skyhawks but Florida Atlantic came back and extended its advantage to 10 points (51-41) with 14:11 left to play.
UT Martin then went on a 7-0 run to get back within a single possession but the Owls came right back with eight unanswered points of their own, opening up a 59-48 advantage midway through the half.
Lewis followed by going on a scoring spree, accounting for eight of the Skyhawks’ 10 points during one stretch. Pugh chimed in with seven consecutive UT Martin points to put the Skyhawks in prime position for the comeback.
Despite UT Martin’s grit, Florida Atlantic took a 78-72 lead with a little over two minutes remaining. Butler soon took over and scored five points during a 7-0 Skyhawk run – including an old-fashioned three-point play that briefly gave UT Martin a 79-78 advantage with 17 ticks to go.
Florida Atlantic’s Gerdarius Troutman then buried a deep three-pointer from the right wing with six seconds to go, tilting the score back in favor of the Owls at 81-79. Edwards’ heroics followed, as he put the finishing touches on a performance where the senior out of Brooklyn, NY scored all of his 13 points after the halftime break.
The Skyhawks return to action on Thursday, Dec. 1 when they travel to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m.