MARTIN, Tenn. – Senior forward Javier Martinez corralled his second double-double of the season this evening for the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team but the Skyhawks couldn’t solve a hot-shooting Arkansas State team in an 87-68 setback at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Martinez recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds for UT Martin (8-4), coming up just two points and two rebounds shy of his previous career-highs set on Nov. 18 against Cleveland State. The St. Croix, Virgin Islands native also added two blocks, two steals and an assist in a career-high 37 minutes of play.
Kedar Edwards was the only other Skyhawk in double-figures in the scoring column, as he produced a line of 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. UT Martin played without its leading scorer (Jacolby Mobley) for the third time in the last four games but led for a majority of the first half before the Red Wolves seized command in the final 20 minutes.
Arkansas State (8-2) was led by Devin Carter, who scored 33 points while shooting 10-of-19 from three-point land. Deven Simms (16) and CJ Foster (14) also added double-digit scoring performances for the Red Wolves, who sank 43.8 percent of their three-point attempts (14-for-32) tonight.
“I was very disappointed tonight,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We definitely need to play better on both ends of the court and we have a lot of things we need to work on. We need to have a better effort going forward.”
A free throw by Martinez opened the game’s scoring but Arkansas State soon claimed a four-point advantage. UT Martin responded with 14 unanswered points – seven of which came from Matthew Butler – in a span of 4:43 to take a 23-13 lead at the 10:31 mark of the first half.
Five different Skyhawks accounted for UT Martin’s next eight points before the Red Wolves reclaimed the lead with six straight points to wrap up the first half, taking a 35-33 lead into the locker room in the process.
Martinez’s nine first-half points were a team-high for the Skyhawks, as he also hauled in six rebounds to help UT Martin produce a 21-16 advantage on the glass. Carter was responsible for five of Arkansas State’s six trifectas in the opening stanza.
A jumper by Martinez and a layup by Butler resulted in a tie at 37-all with 18:33 left to play but the Red Wolves scored the next five points and would not trail the rest of the way. Arkansas State used a 12-3 run to go ahead by 14 points but Martinez came right back to score six consecutive points for UT Martin.
The Red Wolves continued to stave off a potential Skyhawk rally, as Arkansas State scored 14 of 19 points in less than three minutes to take an 86-60 lead with 3:07 to go. Edwards scored six straight UT Martin points as part of a game-ending 8-1 Skyhawk run but ultimately it was too late for the Skyhawks to hatch a comeback.
UT Martin will look to get back in the win column this Saturday, Dec. 17 when it hosts Bethune-Cookman. Tipoff time from the Elam Center is set for 7 p.m.