Jax. St. limited by UTM fellows

Jax. St. limited by UTM fellows
The UT Martin men’s basketball team held Jacksonville State in check during the first half and never looked back, winning 68-55 in an Ohio Valley Conference showdown at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
All totaled, the Skyhawks (9-17, 4-10 in OVC play) limited the Gamecocks to five field goals and 21.7 percent shooting first half en route to a 16-point lead at intermission.
The victory puts UTM in a tie for eighth place overall in the league’s standings, putting the Skyhawks in position to battle for an OVC Tournament berth.
In the evening’s opener, Beth Hawn scored a career-high 18 points to lead UT Martin to a 91-60 victory over Jacksonville State. The win was the 13th consecutive home court victory for the Skyhawk women.
Both UTM teams return to the hardwood on Saturday in Martin against Tennessee Tech. Tipoff for the women’s contest is set for 4 p.m. with the men’s game to follow.
UTM 68, Jax. St. 55 (M)
Troy King led the Skyhawks in scoring with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 effort from behind the three-point line.
Mike Liabo and Reuben Clayton also each poured in 13 points for UT Martin, which shot 53.5 percent from the field and forced the Gamecocks into 26 turnovers.
Nick Murphy scored all of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead Jacksonville State (5-21, 3-12 OVC).
Murphy was the only Gamecock to reach double-figures, as UT Martin collected season-bests in the first half in fewest points allowed in a half (18) and best field goal percentage defense (21.7 percent) in any half.
“We came out rolling, especially defensively,” Skyhawk head coach Jason James said. “We were able to get stops and we contested every shot they got. I thought our defensive intensity was very good to start the game and that led to us being good on offense.”
UT Martin never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early 9-2 lead on an old-fashioned three-point play by Clayton at the 14:49 mark in the first half.
After a layup by Jacksonville State’s BJ Miller with 4:35 to play before halftime, the Skyhawks let loose a 9-0 run over the next 3:07.
A Liabo jumper in the paint capped off the run and gave UT Martin a 32-16 advantage before the Skyhawks settled for a 32-18 lead heading into the break.
UTM 91, Jax. St. 60 (W)
While Hawn turned in a career-high, the Skyhawks got almost half of their 91 points from freshmen guards Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome.
Butler scored 24 points and had seven assists. Newsome netted 20 points, including five 3-pointers. She had six assists.
UT Martin used the 3-pointer throughout the first half to distance itself from Jacksonville State (9-16, 6-8). Newsome hit a 3-pointer with 3:41 and gave the Skyhawks a 29-25 lead.
At 3:01 she hit another trey and the Skyhawks went up by seven points, 32-25. At the break the Skyhawks led 42-31.
Newsome opened the second half with a 3-pointer and the Skyhawks went on a 23-7 run and never looked back.

Leave a Comment