MARTIN, Tenn. – Javier Martinez compiled his third double-double of the season tonight but the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team endured a disappointing 90-72 loss to Jacksonville State at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Martinez accumulated 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Skyhawks (10-6, 0-1 Ohio Valley Conference). Jacolby Mobley scored 16 points in his first game back from an injury while Matthew Butler (15 points) and Kedar Edwards (12 points, game-high seven assists) also scored in double-figures for UT Martin, who trailed 52-47 at the halftime break but shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the second stanza.
Norbertas Giga tallied 17 points while Christian Cunningham secured 12 points and 13 rebounds for Jacksonville State, who improves to 8-7 (1-0 OVC). Erik Durham added 16 points while Malcolm Drumwright (15 points) and Greg Tucker (12 points) each contributed to a Gamecock attack that connected on 53.8 percent of their field goal attempts (35-for-65).
“I’m very disappointed in our effort, particularly in the second half,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “I thought we were outhustled. We weren’t physical and I didn’t like our energy, especially with it being our first conference game. We have to get in the gym tomorrow and correct a lot of things to get back to our winning ways.”
A layup by Martinez just 12 seconds in opened the game’s scoring. A three-pointer by Fatodd Lewis at the 17:03 mark gave UT Martin a four-point advantage while layups by Martinez and a trifecta by Butler kept the Skyhawk lead at four points.
Jacksonville State went on a 14-2 run to take a 24-16 lead with 11:53 to go in the first half. Martinez scored four straight points during a 6-0 UT Martin run that sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 31-29 with 7:30 remaining in the opening period.
Butler canned another three-pointer with just under three minutes to go in the first half to keep UT Martin’s deficit at two points before the Gamecocks took a 52-47 advantage into the locker room.
Martinez and Edwards led the way with a game-high 12 points at the break while Butler pitched in with 11 points for the Skyhawks. Tucker was responsible for 10 points to pace Jacksonville State, who made eight of 11 three-pointers (72.7 percent) in the first 20 minutes.
Martinez converted a tough layup in traffic to start UT Martin’s scoring in the second half but the Gamecocks answered with the next 15 points of the game. The Skyhawk drought concluded when Martinez banged in a pair of free throws at the 12:27 mark to make the score 69-51.
Jacksonville State’s lead stretched out to 23 points midway through the second half but UT Martin bounced back with a 12-4 run. A three-pointer by Mobley with 5:48 left to play trimmed the Skyhawk deficit to 82-67. However, UT Martin would not get any closer than that the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks will look to get back in the win column on Saturday, Dec. 31 when they host OVC rival Morehead State for a New Year’s Eve showdown. The game, which serves as the backend of a doubleheader with the UT Martin women’s basketball team, will begin at approximately 6 p.m. A “Dollar Night” promotion is set to take place, as general admission and select concession items will be available for just $1.