UTM balance key in OVC win

UTM balance key in OVC win
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — The UT Martin men gained their balance on Saturday and, more importantly, their first Ohio Valley Conference triumph of the season — a 63-60 victory over Jacksonville State.
On Saturday, a trio of UTM players finished in double digits and no team member attempted more than seven shots.
“Balance is kind of our middle name and we have to be balanced to be good,” UTM men’s coach Jason James said. “When we’re balanced — everybody is getting their chance, sharing the ball and taking shots — we’re hard to stop and we’re pretty good.”
In the ladies game, UTM’s Jasmine Newsome poured in a career-high 30 points as her team came from behind to prevail 74-67.
The UT Martin women host Southeast Missouri on Wednesday evening at 7:30, while their male counterparts entertain SEMO at 7 Thursday night.
UTM 63, Jax. St. 60 (M)
UT Martin’s Benzor Simmons recorded a game-high 16 points on Saturday, doing most of his damage from the charity stripe (10-for-11).
In a return to his home state, freshman Terence Smith netted 13 points and a game-high five assists, while Troy King also reached double-figures with 10 points. Dane Smith pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for UT Martin, which shot 51.4 percent (19-for-37) from the field.
With Saturday’s victory, the Skyhawks (5-14, 1-7) surpassed their win total from last season.
“We got this win off our backs,” James said. “We were able to execute for 40 minutes. It’s been a long time coming since we played a whole basketball game. I’m really proud of our young men.”
UTM 74, Jax. St. 67 (W)
Newsome scored a total of 23 points in the second half, but it was a 23-6 run in the first half that helped the Skyhawk ladies overcome a 15-point deficit en route to the victory.
“I was proud of our composure and the way we battled back,” UT women’s coach Kevin McMillan said. “This is a great win for a young team on the road.”
The deficit in the first half was the largest of the season the Skyhawk women (10-8, 5-2) have overcome.
The Skyhawks trailed by 15 points with 12:55 to play in the opening half.
Then, UTM went on its 23-6 run and tied the game at 25-all when Taylor Hall made a layup with 1:01 left.
Rickiesha Bryant gave the Skyhawks a 27-25 halftime lead when she made a jumper with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.
During the spurt, UT Martin forced 12 turnovers, while Jacksonville State only scored on three of its last 25 possessions in the first half.
Gibson County product Heather Butler finished the game with 11 points, while freshman Jaclissa Haislip had a double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds).

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