NORMAL, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team struggled offensively today, falling by a 74-57 margin against Illinois State at Redbird Arena.
The Skyhawks (8-3) received a game-high 15 points out of Kedar Edwards while Matthew Butler chalked up 12 points courtesy of four trifectas. Fatodd Lewis corralled a career-best 10 rebounds in only 19 minutes off the bench but UT Martin tallied season-lows in points, field goals made (17) and field goal percentage (.321) this afternoon.
All five Illinois State (5-3) starters scored between 10 and 12 points today, as the Redbirds scored the first six points of the game and never looked back. Phil Fayne, MiKyle McIntosh, Deontae Hawkins and Paris Lee each scored 12 points while Tony Wills compiled 10 points for the Redbirds, who made nine of their 18 attempts from three-point land in the first half.
“Illinois State played harder than us today and it was disappointing that we didn’t compete,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We missed about 18 points in layups but credit Illinois State – they’re a good, tough team that played physical and made a lot of open shots.”
The Redbirds claimed an 8-1 lead through the game’s first two minutes but UT Martin got back within striking distance at 11-7. However, Illinois State scored the next 12 points of the contest to go ahead 23-7 before Edwards knocked down a three-pointer midway through the first half. That began a stretch where Edwards was responsible for 10 of the Skyhawks’ 12 points in a span of 4:30.
Three free throws by Jacolby Mobley and a three-pointer by Butler helped UT Martin pull within 11 points before Illinois State took a 43-28 lead into the halftime break. Edwards’ 13 first-half points led all scorers while Wills tossed in 10 points to guide the Redbirds.
The Skyhawks began the second half on a 7-2 spurt, as a Butler three-pointer at the 17:45 mark made the score 45-35. Illinois State pushed back with a run of its own, scoring 10 of the next 12 points to go on top by a 55-37 margin with 16 minutes to go.
Moments later, Butler dialed up another trey but unfortunately, that would be UT Martin’s only field goal over the next 7:15. The Redbirds were able to open up a 23-point lead during the Skyhawk drought and UT Martin would not get any closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks’ next game will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 14 as part of a split doubleheader. Following the UT Martin women’s basketball game at 11 a.m., the Skyhawk men play host to Arkansas State at 7 p.m. in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.