COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Javier Martinez set the tone early as the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team dominated from start to finish in a 75-46 dismantling of Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech this evening.
A senior forward out of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Martinez was responsible for the program’s first-ever game of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds at the Division-I level (since 1992). He scored a game-high 22 points to go along with a career-best 21 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. The 6-7, 210-pounder joins Tennessee State’s Wayne Martin and current Denver Nuggets star and Morehead State alum Kenneth Faried as the only OVC players to record a 20-20 game in the last seven years.
The 29-point margin of victory is the program’s largest OVC road win in school history, eclipsing the previous record of 27 points (a 100-73 win at Tennessee State on Feb. 7, 2009). The 46 points were UT Martin’s second-lowest scoring output allowed against a Division-I opponent, narrowly missing out on the program record of 43 points in a 61-43 road win at Samford on Jan. 24, 2008.
“Our emphasis from here on out is playing defense,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We gave up 94 points at Murray State last Saturday and that’s unacceptable so we got rededicated in the gym and in the film room. Javier has been amazing all year. I’m his third coach at UT Martin and for him to stick in there and believe in me, I’m thankful for that.”
Jacolby Mobley scored 15 points, Matthew Butler added 12 points and Kedar Edwards secured 11 points and a game-high six assists for the Skyhawks (16-9, 6-4 OVC), who shot 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the floor. Dante Bailey tied a career-high with nine points while Chandler Rowe stuffed the statsheet with six points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block for a UT Martin squad that led for 38:42 of clock time.
Tennessee Tech (9-16, 5-5 OVC) was held to 31.1 percent shooting (19-of-61) for the game, including a 5-of-32 effort from beyond the three-point arc. Kajon Mack was the only Golden Eagle to reach double-figures in the scoring column with 12 points.
After Tennessee Tech scored the first bucket of the game, Butler provided four straight points while Martinez was responsible for six consecutive points to close out a 10-0 Skyhawk run. A Mobley three-pointer at the 14-minute mark gave UT Martin its first double-digit lead (15-4) of the night.
Edwards dropped in back-to-back layups to push the Skyhawk lead out to 21-4. The Golden Eagles got back within 11 points at the 7:46 mark. A four-point play by Mobley – the third straight game in which the 6-0 senior has accomplished that feat – expanded UT Martin’s advantage to 34-15 before an old-fashioned three-point play by Bailey made the score 37-17 with less than four minutes to go before the halftime break.
Two Mobley layups and a Bailey three-pointer from the left wing in the final two minutes provided UT Martin with a 44-22 halftime lead. Martinez had a game-high 14 points and eight rebounds while Mobley poured in 11 first-half points.
The Skyhawks began the second half on a 10-2 run, as a layup by Martinez with 16:17 to go made the score 54-24.
Bailey found the bottom of the net on a three-point attempt at the 11:11 mark, doubling up Tennessee Tech at 62-31. The Golden Eagles came back with a 9-1 run but would not get any closer than 23 points the rest of the way.
Rowe buried a three-pointer on UT Martin’s ensuing possession as the Skyhawk lead grew to as many as 32 points when Martinez sank an eight-foot jumper from the left baseline with 1:40 remaining.
The Skyhawks return home for the first time in two weeks as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 4. UT Martin will play host to Eastern Kentucky for a game that will tip off at approximately 6 p.m., following the conclusion of the women’s basketball game.