MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM FALLS 80-48 IN ROAD CONTEST AT TENNESSEE STATE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team got off to a fast start this evening at Tennessee State, but the Skyhawks fell 80-48 in Ohio Valley Conference action at the Gentry Center.
Sophomore Myles Taylor compiled a season-high 25 points tonight for UT Martin (4-13, 1-4 OVC). The 6-7 Little Rock, Ark. native converted 11 of his 23 shot attempts, resulting in his 10th career 20-point performance. Taylor also pulled down a team-high six rebounds for the Skyhawks, who shot 32.8 percent (20-for-61) from the field.
Tennessee State (10-7, 4-0 OVC) was led by Kellen Thornton’s 13 points, while Patrick Miller added a dozen points for the Tigers.
“It seemed like there was a lid on the bucket late in the first half,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “We were executing and getting layups, we just weren’t making them. When you don’t make the easy ones, the outside jumpers become harder and harder. The game was physical on both ends and I thought the physicality of the game just wore us down and we weren’t able to overcome that.”
The duo of Taylor and Justin Childs helped the Skyhawks get out to a quick lead, as the pair accounted for six points apiece to help UT Martin take a 12-7 lead at the 14:34 mark of the first half.
However, Tennessee State responded with 10 unanswered points until a Taylor leaner in the paint made the score 17-14 with 10:38 to play in the first half. The Tigers would then tack on seven unanswered to go ahead by a 24-14 margin until an old-fashioned three-point play by Mike Liabo at the 7:49 mark got UT Martin within seven points.
The Tigers then pieced together a 13-2 run until a three-pointer by Dee Oldham off an inbounds play made the score 37-22 at the 2:47 mark. Tennessee State then concluded the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 46-24 lead at the break.
Taylor’s 10 first-half points led the Skyhawks, while Kellen Thornton tallied 11 points to lead Tennessee State.
Taylor started the second half on a roll, tossing in UT Martin’s first eight points over a stretch of 2:55. Jeremy Washington and Terence Smith followed with baskets on back-to-back possessions to cap off a 12-4 Skyhawk run to begin the second half of play.
After the Skyhawks cut their deficit to 14 only six minutes into the second half, Tennessee State scored 12 of the next 14 points to go on top by a 62-38 margin midway through the half.
UT Martin then held Tennessee State without a field goal for a span of 7:18 but could not get any closer than 20 points the rest of the way – despite Smith and Taylor combining for the Skyhawks’ final eight points down the stretch.
UT Martin resumes OVC play this Saturday, Jan. 12, when it travels to league newcomer Belmont. Tip-off time against the Bruins is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Sam Jordan/Tennessee State Athletics