King consistent, but UTM falls
Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 10:40 am
MARTIN, Tenn. – Freshman Troy King led The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team with 19 points tonight, but Tennessee Tech shot 82.6 percent in the second half and left the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center with an 85-71 Ohio Valley Conference win.
For King, it was the third time in the last four games that he has led the team in scoring and eighth time overall. The Gaithersburg, Md. native scored 14 of those points in the first half, thanks in large part to a 4-for-6 effort from behind the 3-point line.
The Skyhawks (9-18, 4-11 OVC) also got double-figure efforts from Reuben Clayton (15 points), Terence Smith (13) and Andres Irarrazabal (10). Smith also handed out a career-high seven assists while Clayton tallied a season-best five assists for UT Martin, who led by as many as seven points early in the first half.
Jud Dillard went a perfect 9-for-9 from the floor and scored a game-high 23 points to lead Tennessee Tech (14-11, 10-6). Zac Swansey tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, while Kevin Murphy and Bassey Inameti scored 16 and 10 points, respectively for the Golden Eagles. In the second half, Tennessee Tech hit 19 of its 23 attempts from the field and shot 67 percent for the game.
King was on fire early, scoring 11 of UT Martin’s first 13 points in the first seven minutes. The Skyhawks led for six of the game’s first eight minutes until Murphy made a fastbreak layup at the 11:43 mark to put the Golden Eagles ahead 14-13.
Murphy’s bucket began a 7-0 run for Tennessee Tech, but UT Martin clawed back to take a 22-21 lead on a Clayton jumper in the paint with 7:30 to go in the first half. Two ties and two lead changes would then occur over the next 1:53, as King’s fourth 3-pointer of the evening gave the Skyhawks a 29-26 lead at the 5:37 mark.
However, the Golden Eagles reeled off an 11-0 run over the next 4:37, taking an eight-point lead before Daron Hood converted a layup for the Skyhawks with one minute left in the half. A Murphy jumper just before time expired gave Tennessee Tech a 41-33 lead at the halftime break.
King’s 14 points at the half were a game-high, while Dillard scored 13 points in the first 20 minutes to lead Tennessee Tech. King’s accuracy from long distance helped UT Martin shoot 50 percent (5-of-10) from 3-point range in the first half, while the Golden Eagles shot 55.2 percent as a team.
Tennessee Tech scored eight of the first 12 points in the second half to take a 49-37 lead and a 12-3 run over a span of 4:39 gave the Golden Eagles an 18-point advantage halfway through the second stanza.
Dillard scored on a layup at the 7:07 mark to make the score 71-50, but the Skyhawks kept fighting back and made a game of it late. UT Martin put together a 14-2 run in a stretch of 4:10 to slice its deficit to eight points at 79-71 with just over a minute to play.
It turns out that the Skyhawk comeback came too late, as Tennessee Tech scored the last eight points of the game to provide the final 85-71 margin.
UT Martin will prepare for a big OVC road game at Eastern Illinois tonight (Tuesday). Both the Skyhawks and Panthers own identical 4-11 league records and are tied with each other for eighth place with three conference games left. The top eight teams advance to the OVC Tournament. Last month in Martin, Benzor Simmons nailed the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 27 seconds left on the clock to lift the Skyhawks to a 63-62 victory.