Skyhawks denied by buzzer misfire

Skyhawks denied by buzzer misfire
UT Martin held a lead for the first 26 minutes against Southeast Missouri, but Marcus Brister scored on a layup with 12 seconds remaining to give the Redhawks a 73-71 road win in Ohio Valley Conference men’s play Thursday night at the Elam Center.
Mike Liabo, who had made three treys heading into UT Martin’s final possession, hoisted up a 3-pointer from the right wing with two seconds left that seemed halfway down before rimming out to close out the game. Liabo ended his evening with a game-high 18 points while tying a season-high with six rebounds.
“Mike came to get the ball. They switched out and we had our best perimeter player with the ball in his hands late in the game; we couldn’t ask for much more than that,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “His shot hit every part of the rim, it just didn’t fall.”
Skyhawk freshman Myles Taylor continued his remarkable freshman campaign with 16 points, converting seven of his 12 field goal attempts. Troy King pitched in 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting (3-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line) off the bench, while Dane Smith tallied his fifth double-digit scoring effort of the season with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Omari Minor and Chris Richardson each handed out a season-best five assists for UTM (3-14, 0-4 OVC), which amassed a season-high 21 assists and committed a season-low seven turnovers.
Tyler Stone and Nick Niemczyk scored 16 points each to pace Southeast Missouri (8-7, 3-0 OVC), one of two remaining undefeated teams in league play. Marland Smith scored a dozen points while Brister compiled 11 points and seven assists for the Redhawks.
In a game that featured 13 lead changes and six ties (all in the second half), James and the Skyhawks appeared close to capturing their first Ohio Valley Conference victory of the season after a solid performance against a physical Southeast Missouri team.
“We matched their physicality with a little bit of our own,” James said. “I was pleased with our effort and our ability to compete. We didn’t wilt when they made their run; we withstood their run with a little run of our own. Tonight was also the first time we had fewer than 10 turnovers all season, so there are some things to build on.”
UT Martin jumped out to a fast start, leading 5-0 while not conceding a field goal over the first 2:58. Five different Skyhawks accounted for the team’s first 12 points as Corderio Maclin’s fifth straight point pushed UT Martin ahead 18-13 midway through the first half.
Southeast Missouri cut its deficit to two points until back-to-back three-pointers by King and Gary Love gave the Skyhawks a 24-16 lead with 9:11 to play in the first half. A fast break dunk by Taylor less than two minutes later extended UT Martin’s lead out to double-figures (28-18) at the 7:37 mark.
A 3-pointer by Liabo made the score 33-21 with under six minutes to go in the first half, and a layup by King at the 1:11 mark capped off a 7-2 run for the Skyhawks. However, Southeast Missouri ended the first half by scoring five of the last seven points as UT Martin took a 44-35 lead into the halftime break.
Liabo (13 points) and Marland Smith (10) each led their respective teams at the half as both squads got off to good starts offensively. UTM sank 55.2 percent of its attempts (16-for-29), while Southeast Missouri made exactly half of its shots (14-for-28) in the first 20 minutes.
King canned a 3-pointer with 17:33 remaining to give the Skyhawks a 10-point lead at 49-39, but Southeast Missouri responded with a 14-2 run to take its first lead of the game on a jumper by Leon Powell at the 13:21 mark.
UT Martin answered right back with baskets on consecutive possessions to take a 55-53 lead, but Brister tied the game with a layup with 11:14 to go. Liabo put the Skyhawks back on top with a three-pointer from the left wing at the 10:01 mark, but four straight Redhawk points tilted the score back in Southeast Missouri’s favor.
Another King triple gave the Skyhawks a 61-59 lead with 6:59 to go, but Southeast Missouri answered with a three by Niemczyk.
Published in The Messenger 1.6.12

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