KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team dominated the glass this evening en route to a 77-66 win over UMKC at Municipal Auditorium.
The Skyhawks (10-4) racked up 59 rebounds tonight, establishing a new Division-I school record in the process. Four UT Martin players hauled in at least seven rebounds as the team combined for 16 offensive boards and 43 caroms on the defensive end.
Three days after he became only the third Skyhawk in program history to ever record a triple-double, Kedar Edwards collected his eighth career double-double tonight with 18 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. He corralled 14 boards in the first half alone to set the tone for UT Martin’s impressive team performance.
For the second straight game, Malik London set a new career-high in points as he tossed in 16 points to go along with seven rebounds off the bench. Kahari Beaufort also established new career-highs in points (11) and rebounds (seven) while Jalen Jackson reached new career-highs with nine points and seven rebounds in his first career start. Matthew Butler added nine points for UT Martin, who held a 50-16 advantage in points in the paint this evening.
UMKC (7-7) was led by LaVell Boyd’s 32 points. He was the only Kangaroo to score in double-figures as the stingy Skyhawk defense limited UMKC to just 31.3 percent (21-of-67) shooting for the contest.
“I’m proud of these guys,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We came on the road in a tough place to play against a well-coached team and we got it done. I was proud of our bench tonight. Like I have said, there’s not a guy I wouldn’t put in the game at any point in time because they are prepared and we believe in them.”
Both sides got off to a slow start offensively, as the Skyhawks converted only one of their first nine field goal attempts through four-plus minutes. Edwards accounted for UT Martin’s first four points, securing a pair of layups to get the Skyhawks within one point at 5-4.
UMKC led by a 14-9 margin at the second media timeout but a Butler free throw trimmed UT Martin’s deficit to a single point (14-13) at the 10:32 mark.
A lengthy offensive drought then took place, as both teams only managed one bucket in a span of 4:25. The Skyhawks then claimed their first advantage of the game after tallying a 13-2 run to close out the first half.
Back-to-back fast break layups by Edwards began the run while Beaufort lifted UT Martin with five consecutive points at one point. A backdoor layup by Edwards and a leaner by Chandler Rowe in the final minute of the first half resulted in a 30-21 Skyhawk lead at the break.
Edwards posted game-highs of 12 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two steals in the first 20 minutes, while Beaufort chipped in with 10 points in the opening stanza. Boyd’s nine points paced the Kangaroos, who shot 21.9 percent (7-of-32) and did not manage a field goal (0-for-11) over the last 9:09 of the first half.
UMKC scored on its opening possession of the second half but the Skyhawks stormed back for six straight points, as a fast break leaner by Butler made the score 36-23 with 16:26 left to play.
Buckets in the paint by Butler and Edwards helped UT Martin extend its lead out to 14 points on two different occasions. A pair of London free throws at the 10:53 mark made the score 51-35 in favor of the Skyhawks.
A tip-in putback by Rowe kept the UT Martin advantage at 16 points but UMKC scored nine of the next 11 points to creep back within single digits (55-46) with a little under eight minutes to go.
The Skyhawks were able to push their lead back out to 14 points after a pair of Jackson free throws made the score 68-54 with 1:36 remaining. The Kangaroos had one last run in them, however, as UMKC went on a 10-2 run to close within six points with 49 seconds left to play. The Kangaroos would eventually get within five points with 37 ticks left before London (dunk) and Malik Pugh (back-to-back fast break layups) accounted for the final six points of the game.
UT Martin concludes nonconference play on Thursday, Dec. 22 when it travels to Southern Illinois. Tipoff from SIU Arena is set for 7 p.m.