Skyhawks upset TSU to extend tourney stay
Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 12:02 am
Terence Smith scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half to help eighth-seeded University of Tennessee at Martin upend No. 5 seed Tennessee State 68-64 Wednesday night in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament in Nashville.
After trailing for most of the contest, UT Martin freshman Mike Liabo made a four-point play with 4:31 remaining to give the Skyhawks the lead, 60-59. The advantage for the Skyhawks was their first since they opened scoring in the game for the 2-0 lead.
Smith then scored UT Martin’s next seven points, including a turnaround jumper to give the Skyhawks their largest lead, 65-61, with 42 seconds left.
Tennessee State trimmed the Skyhawk lead to a point, 65-64, on two free throws by Patrick Miller and one charity shot by Kenny Moore with 15 seconds to play.
A quick foul sent Terence Smith back to the line where he nailed both shots to boost the lead to three. Smith also finished with a team-high eight rebounds and played all 40 minutes.
The TSU Tigers were called for an offensive basket interference to give UT Martin possession with a three-point lead.
Liabo, fouled with 6 second remaining, made it a two-possession game at 68-64 by hitting one from the free-throw line to seal the upset win for UT Martin.
Liabo and Reuben Clayton finished with 12 points each for the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks survived a miserable shooting effort in the first half that saw them miss 10 point-blank shots in the paint as part of a 9-of-32 effort for only 28 percent. Thanks to a much more accurate second-half effort (15-of-26), UT Martin ended up hitting 41 percent of its attempts from the floor.
UT Martin (12-20) will play fourth-seeded Tennessee Tech in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Kenny Moore scored 18 points and had nine rebounds for the Tigers (14-16), who went on a 10-0 run after UT Martin’s first basket. They led by as many as 10 points midway through the second half.