MARTIN, Tenn. – Jacolby Mobley pumped in 25 points as the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team overcame a halftime deficit to capture a 79-69 victory over Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Mobley’s 25 points tied a career-best scoring effort, equaling his output from the Duquesne game on Nov. 23, 2016. The senior out of Starkville, Miss. canned eight of his 14 shot attempts (including a 5-of-9 effort from three-point land) while adding a 4-for-4 performance from the charity stripe.
Kedar Edwards tallied 17 points, six rebounds and five assists while Matthew Butler (13 points, game-high six assists, five rebounds) and Javier Martinez (12 points on 6-of-7 shooting) also pitched in double-digit scoring efforts for UT Martin (12-8, 2-3 OVC), who shot 60.4 percent from the floor.
Southeast Missouri (7-13, 2-3 OVC) was led by Denzel Mahoney’s 23 points while Antonius Cleveland tossed in 16 points. The Redhawks held a narrow 39-38 lead at the halftime break before the Skyhawk defense limited them to just 29.2 percent (7-of-24) shooting over the final 20 minutes.
“It was good to see us execute down the stretch in a close game,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We wanted to get Jacolby involved early and he hit several shots while also playing really well on defense tonight. We got in the gym this week and got back to our roots of just grinding it out with a strong work ethic.
An 18-foot Mobley jumper just 26 seconds into the contest opened the game’s scoring. Southeast Missouri came back to take a brief lead before Butler was responsible for five straight points to tilt the score back in favor of the Skyhawks at 9-6.
The Redhawks managed to take a five-point lead at the 14:34 mark but Mobley answered with six consecutive points. A layup by Martinez evened the score at 19-all with a little over 11 minutes to play in the first half.
However, Southeast Missouri went back on a run and claimed a 32-26 advantage with 5:51 remaining before halftime. Edwards then accounted for five points and an assist in the final 2:27 to help pull UT Martin within a single point at the break.
Mobley’s 11 points led all scorers at the half while Mahoney secured 10 points to guide the Redhawks.
Mobley supplied the Skyhawks’ first nine points of the second half, converting an old-fashioned three-point play and back-to-back trifectas to give UT Martin a 47-43 lead.
Three ties followed over the span of 3:05 before the Skyhawks went on a game-changing run. Four different UT Martin players scored during a 9-0 surge that concluded when Martinez sank a layup to make the score 62-53 with 9:33 left to play.
A Mobley layup at the 8:09 mark increased the Skyhawk lead to double-digits at 66-55. Edwards knocked down a pair of free throws to give UT Martin a 10-point edge with four minutes to go but Southeast Missouri collected five quick points to make the score 74-69 at the 2:56 mark.
The Skyhawks did not concede another point the rest of the way as Butler and Kahari Beaufort combined to sink five of six free throw attempts in the final 54 seconds to seal the win.
UT Martin resumes its three-game OVC homestand on Thursday, Jan. 19 when it hosts the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Tipoff time from the Elam Center is set for 7 p.m.