UTM men don’t finish off Govs

UTM men don’t finish off Govs

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 12:38 pm

UTM men don’t finish off Govs

Troy King
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team showed tremendous signs of progress Monday evening against Ohio Valley Conference leading Austin Peay, but the Governors shot 61.3 percent in the second half to claim a 71-61 victory in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Freshman Troy King put together the third 20-plus point game of his young career against APSU, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting to lead UT Martin (4-13, 0-6 OVC). King drilled four of his eight attempts from beyond the 3-point line and logged a career high in minutes (35) for the third consecutive game.
Joining King in double-figures scoring was fellow freshman Mike Liabo (12 points), who tallied his team-leading 11th game of 10 or more points. Senior Andres Irarrazabal pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Freshman Terence Smith handed out five assists to lead the Skyhawks, who were ahead by nine points at halftime (34-25) and out-rebounded Austin Peay by a 37-29 margin.
Austin Peay swingman Josh Terry scored 25 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. TyShwan Edmondson and John Fraley scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Governors (12-6, 6-0 OVC).
The Skyhawks gave no ground to first-place Austin Peay for the majority of the game until a late Govs run sealed the game and left UT Martin out of time.
“Austin Peay’s level of play stepped up to an OVC championship level and I thought for about 35 minutes, our guys raised to somewhere close to that level,” Skyhawk head coach Jason James said. “But the last five minutes we started to get out of character – we started to one-touch and shoot and give up layups and those are the kind of things that got us out of winning the ball game. We have to continue to do the things that got us those leads to keep us in the game.”
With that said, the game provided another example of a young Skyhawk team that is very close to turning the corner as a program.
“We’re very proud of how far we have come to this point,” James said. “We are going up against the best this league has to offer and we have a chance to win these basketball games. We just have to clean up some things late in the game and keep believing – it’s a process.”
It was evident early that King owned the hot hand, as the 6-6 forward netted UT Martin’s first eight points for an 8-4 Skyhawks lead 3:10 into the game. Austin Peay came back to tie the game at 8-all, the second of seven ties in the first half alone.
Neither team pushed its lead out to more than three points until an Edmondson jumper at the 7:15 mark gave the Govs a 22-18 lead. The Skyhawks roared back thanks to Dane Smith, who scored five straight points in a span of 35 seconds to put UT Martin up 23-22 heading into the last media timeout of the half.
After Edmondson converted one of two free throws out of the timeout, the Skyhawks rolled out an 11-2 run to close out the first half, capped off by a Terence Smith drive to the hoop with six seconds remaining to give UT Martin its biggest lead.
King accounted for 11 points in the first half to lead all scorers. Fraley and Justin Blake scored eight points apiece to lead the Govs. The Skyhawks shot 40.7 percent (11-for-27) in the first 20 minutes aided by a 5-for-11 effort (45.5 percent) from 3-point range. Austin Peay shot 37.5 percent (9-for-24) from the floor in the first half.
Terry scored eight of the Govs’ first 10 points in the second half, igniting an 8-1 run that brought Austin Peay back. A layup by Tyrone Caldwell at the 15:14 mark tied the game at 37-37, but King answered with a trey as the Skyhawks scored six unanswered points to go back ahead 43-37 with 12:24 to go.
Austin Peay sliced its deficit to one on two different occasions until a Terry layup off a Skyhawk turnover knotted the score at 49-all. Liabo answered with a jumper on UT Martin’s next possession to regain the lead, but a layup by Melvin Baker tied the score just 23 seconds later.
Terry’s jumper at the 7:40 gave Austin Peay its first lead in 16:45 of clock time, but the Skyhawks quickly tied the game on their next possession with a Terence Smith jumper.
Over the next 6:04, however, Austin Peay pieced together a 14-4 run, capped by an Edmondson 3-pointer from the right wing at the 2:39 mark. A pair of free throws by King got the Skyhawks within eight points, but back-to-back dunks gave the Govs a 71-59 advantage with 53 seconds left. King capped his stellar night with a dunk of his own with nine seconds left, but that ended the scoring on both sides.
UT Martin will now head back on the road for its next two OVC games. The Skyhawks will travel to Cookeville tonight (Thursday) to take on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles before heading to Jacksonville, Ala. to battle the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Saturday.

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