CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team started out well but ultimately ran into a Southeast Missouri buzzsaw in a 90-61 Ohio Valley Conference loss at the Show Me Center.
The Skyhawks (18-11, 8-6 OVC) led for the first nine-plus minutes of the game but couldn’t contain a hot shooting Redhawk squad that knocked down 16 three-pointers in 34 attempts (47.1 percent).
Javier Martinez amassed his 10th double-double of the season with team-highs of 12 points and 10 rebounds today for UT Martin. Matthew Butler also added 12 points while Kahari Beaufort secured 11 points off the bench for the Skyhawks.
Southeast Missouri (13-16, 8-6 OVC) placed five scorers in double-figures, led by Antonius Cleveland’s 21 points. Denzel Mahoney added 17 points while Jamaal Calvin (15), Daniel Simmons (15) and Jaylen Benton (11) also fueled the Redhawk scoring attack.
“We couldn’t find a rhythm offensively but it doesn’t matter how many score if you give up 90 points,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We still have an opportunity to do great things this year. The challenge is there – our five seniors can leave behind a great legacy but we have work to do this upcoming week.”
A Chandler Rowe putback dunk opened the game’s scoring just 37 seconds into the game. Martinez followed with the Skyhawks’ next six points, allowing UT Martin to take an 8-4 lead at the first media timeout.
Southeast Missouri charged back to tie the game at 10-10 but Martinez answered with a bucket underneath the basket to put the Skyhawks back on top. Two more ties took place before Dante Bailey drained a trey to put UT Martin ahead 18-15 at the 11:08 mark.
The Redhawks responded with a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game, eventually leading by as many as nine before Butler canned a trifecta to make the score 31-25 with 6:16 remaining in the first half.
Southeast Missouri then used a 13-2 run to go on top by a 44-27 margin. Beaufort tossed in a pair of three-pointers over the last four minutes of the first half while the UT Martin defense held the Redhawks scoreless over the final 3:05 to make the score 49-38.
Martinez’s 10 points and seven rebounds paced the Skyhawks in the first half, as UT Martin outrebounded Southeast Missouri by a 21-12 margin. Cleveland (16), Mahoney (13) and Calvin (12) each tallied double-figures in the scoring column in the first half for the Redhawks, who shot 8-of-16 from three-point range.
A pair of Martinez free throws began the second half and resulted in a single-digit deficit (49-40) for UT Martin. However, Southeast Missouri scored 10 of the next 12 points to extend its advantage out to 59-42.
Jacolby Mobley scored in traffic to make the score 61-45 at the 13:16 mark but another lengthy Redhawk run put the game out of reach for UT Martin. The 16-point deficit was as close as the Skyhawks would get the rest of the way, as Southeast Missouri led by as many as 33 points on its way to the win.
The Skyhawks close out the regular season with a pair of home games against OVC West rivals next week. UT Martin hosts Austin Peay on Thursday, Feb. 23 before a Senior Night showdown against Murray State on Saturday, Feb. 25.