Time runs out on UTM comeback
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 12:03 pm
Four UT Martin players reached double figures in the scoring column Sunday afternoon against IPFW, but the Skyhawks couldn’t complete a valiant comeback attempt, falling 82-76 at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Trailing by 20 points at the 3:16 mark of the first half, the Skyhawks used a 15-2 run that lasted 5:23 to position themselves to make a comeback.
UT Martin got within five points on two occasions, but time ran out on the Skyhawks (3-10), who forced 20 turnovers and shot 60.7 percent in the second half on their way to the highest-scoring half of the season (48 points).
“To score 48 points in the second half is pretty good, but we have to score more than 28 in the first half,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “In the second half, we were able to move the ball and put the ball in the hole. We got things going by throwing it inside and that really helped us out. We just couldn’t find a rhythm in the first half. We played well enough to win in the second half, but there are 40 minutes in a game.”
Freshman Myles Taylor led the team in scoring for the third straight game, pouring in 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor in 21 minutes of play. Mike Liabo wasn’t too far behind with 17 points, while Troy King and Dane Smith each added 11 points. King pulled down a season-high seven rebounds while Omari Minor pitched in eight points and tied a career-high with three steals.
Frank Gaines recorded a game-high 22 points for IPFW (7-3), while Trey McCorkle compiled 17 points and nine rebounds. Isaiah McCray (11 points) and Jonny Marlin (10) also reached double-figures for the Mastodons.
IPFW scored the first six points of the game before a fast break layup by Smith less than two minutes into the game made the score 6-2. The margin remained at four after a jumper by Minor in the paint at the 14:43 mark.
A pair of Liabo free throws with under 12 minutes to play got the Skyhawks with six points at 15-9, but the Mastodons scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 23-11 lead midway through the first half.
Liabo converted an open layup at the 7:05 mark to trim IPFW’s lead back down to single-digits (26-17), but a 13-2 IPFW run followed to make the score 39-19 with 3:16 to go before the break.
UT Martin answered back with a 9-2 run to close out the half — capped off by a three-pointer by King — that sent the Skyhawks into the locker room with a 41-28 deficit.
The Skyhawks came out fired up to begin the second half, scoring six unanswered points to get within seven points on a Taylor layup with 18:10 to play.
Over the next three minutes, UT Martin mostly stayed within single-digits until IPFW reeled off five consecutive points to lead 52-39 with 14:22 left.
UT Martin quickly bounced back to slice its deficit to single-digits, getting within five points at the 9:38 mark after King sank a pair of attempts from the charity stripe. However, over the next 6:05, the Mastodons pieced together an 11-1 run to extend their lead out to 70-55 with 3:33 to play.
The Skyhawks kept fighting, receiving their next 11 points via five different scorers to ignite a 14-4 run to get within five points with less than 30 seconds to go. However, IPFW made all of its three free throws from that point on and UT Martin couldn’t gain any ground.
UT Martin opens Ohio Valley Conference play Wednesday when it makes the short trip across the state’s northern border to take on No. 24-ranked Murray State 7 p.m. in the CFSB Center. Published in The WCP 12.20.11