UTM flips its style, keeps same look
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 12:03 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
The UTM men’s team saw a complete reversal to the way its games have been going this season. The result, however, was all too familiar.
The Skyhawks had a solid first half but faded in the second half Saturday at the Elam Center, losing 85-62 to Tennessee Tech in Ohio Valley Conference play.
The Skyhawks, who have been struggling most of the season with slow starts, found themselves hitting the tough shots in the first half against the Golden Eagles and shooting 63.6 percent from the field
It was a completely different story in the second half, though, as the tough shots didn’t fall, UTM hitting only 21.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles hit 52.6 percent of their shots and outscored the Skyhawks 42-27 in the second half.
“In the first half, we made a lot of tough shots. We made shots with hands in our faces and kind of off-balance shots. The second half we got those same shots, but we just didn’t make them,” UTM head coach Jason James said. “It’s kind of a combination of their defense and our offense in both halves. I thought we got those same shots, but the ones in the first half were very tough and we missed in the second half with the same tough shots.”
The Skyhawks threatened to make a run at the Golden Eagles in the second half with a 3-pointer by Mike Liabo, a pair of free throws by Myles Taylor and layup and another free throw by Taylor to get UTM within four points of Tech by the score of 51-47 with 15.26 to play.
Taylor scored a game-high 26 points.
But the wheels fell off for the Skyhawks. The Golden Eagles went on a 15-4 run to extend their lead 56-51. Tech was getting the points in the paint, while UTM suddenly could not get a shot to drop. Tech scored 18 points in the paint in the second half to UTM’s four.
“We got to within four and then we turned the ball over three times in a row,” James said. “Mike (Liabo) took a bad shot and then he turned the ball over twice, and they are off and running.
“They are one of the better teams in the league, and you just can’t make those kind of plays and try to come back. We were trying to play too fast, made poor decisions, not playing smart and the list could go on and on.”
The Skyhawks will host SEMO Thursday at the Elam Center at 7 p.m. and then play SIU Edwardsville on Saturday in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
UT Martin is now 3-13 and 0-3 in the conference play. Tennessee Tech improves to 9-6 and 1-1 in the conference.
TSU 83, UTM 67
NASHVILLE — The UTM men were within one possession of tying the game with under eight minutes remaining against Tennessee State, but the Skyhawks were held scoreless for the next five minutes as the Tigers captured an OVC win at the Gentry Center.
A scoring surge by sophomore Mike Liabo set up the Skyhawks for a late push, as he ended the night with a team-best 13 points — his 35th career double-figure scoring game in his young career. He also added a career-high six assists and four rebounds.
Myles Taylor (12 points), Troy King (11) and Dane Smith (10) also reached double-figures for UT Martin.
Published in The WCP 1.3.12