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Early USC pouncing grounds Skyhawks

Early USC pouncing grounds Skyhawks
LOS ANGELES — The University of Tennessee at Martin senior guard Lester Hudson led all scorers with 20 points, but two crucial first-half runs by the University of Southern California Trojans and another off-night shooting the ball for the Skyhawks ended in a 70-43 loss at the Galen Center.
“USC is a very talented team,” Skyhawks head coach Bret Campbell said. “Their size certainly bothered us on both ends of the floor. We had trouble making shots, but that had a lot to do with them.
“We got a lot of uncontested looks tonight as opposed to Tuesday (against Arkansas State); we just didn’t capitalize on them.”
Although the Skyhawks were only outscored 30-26 in the second half, UT Martin shot 29 percent from the floor (18-for-62) and 23 percent from behind the three-point arc (6-for-26) for the game.
Eric Massey finished with six points and eight rebounds, while Benzor Simmons also finished the night with six points. Djero Riedewald (four points), Marquis Weddle (three), MJ Brown (two) and Andres Irarrazabal (two) completed the scoring for UTM.
A Brown jumper was the first Skyhawks’ field goal of the night at the 17:26 mark of the first half, making the score 4-3 in USC’s favor.
After two free throws and a made jumper by DeRozan, Simmons nailed a three-pointer from the right wing to cut the USC lead to 8-6.
After a jumper from Lewis, Hudson answered right back with a lay-up at the 14:19 mark, cutting the deficit to two once again for the Skyhawks.
USC then went on a 15-2 run over the next 5:58 before a layup by Massey at the 8:21 mark made the score 25-12 in the Trojans’ favor.
Another big run was brewing for the Trojans, as they scored 13 unanswered points to pad their lead  to 26 before a layup by Hudson at the 2:50 mark ended the drought for the Skyhawks and made the score 38-14.
Donte Smith made two free throws for the Trojans, and Hudson hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to end the scoring for the first half, with USC leading 40-17 at the break.
Campbell was confident his team’s shooting woes would take care of itself while the Skyhawks continue their slate of games heading into the month of December.
“Anytime you shoot 29 percent from the floor, you’re not going to win a lot of games,” Campbell said. “But every game is a learning experience, and that will change when we get back to playing teams on our level and in our conference.”
The Skyhawks will look to rebound quickly before their next swing of games, which will pit UT Martin against Ohio Valley Conference foes Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State next week. The Skyhawks will first face MSU on the road Thursday, before traveling to Richmond to face EKU on Saturday.

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