Skyhawks lights-out in conference win; men just miss again

Skyhawks lights-out in conference win; men just miss again
By KEVIN WEAKS
Messenger Sports
UT Martin shot the lights out … literally.
A transformer outside the Elam Center blew out during the second half of the women’s game on Saturday, stopping action with the Skyhawks holding a 30-point lead on SIU-Edwardsville.
UTM didn’t skip a beat when the lights came back on, either, pulling away to a 91-59 win.
“The thing I was most impressed with was that we defended,” UTM head coach Kevin McMillan said. “After giving up 105 points (114-105 win vs. Tennessee State on Jan. 2), I was worried where our mindset would be. I thought it was, overall, the best team defense we’ve had all year.”
UTM improved to 3-0 in the conference and 9-6 overall
At the time of the blowout, which had all the lights out for a few seconds and still too many off to resume play for 18 minutes, UTM had hit on 23-of-40 field goals, including 8-of-15 3-pointers, and 3-4 free throws on the way to a 64-34 lead by the 11:56 mark of the second half.
UTM finished the game at 53.7 percent from the floor, hitting 36-of-67 field goals (14-of-27 threes) and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) at the line.
“I think when you shoot better, your defense is better, you pass better, everything is better,” McMillan said. “I don’t know why that is.”
Jasmine Newsome had the best shooting night, connecting on 10-of-13 field goals overall, including all three of her 3-point tries, for a game-best 26 points.
Heather Butler (8-of-17 field goals) had 22 points, while Perica Glenn added 12 points and nine rebounds and Jaclissa Haislip scored 11 with seven boards.
“Newsome found open people and made shots,” McMillan said. “Newsome and Butler are hard to handle, and when you get shooters around them and put in a post player like Perica, you give yourself a chance.”
A third straight OVC win was pretty much wrapped up by the time the game was two minutes and 20 seconds old.
Newsome hit a pair of 3-pointers and Haislip added another for a 9-0 lead.
The Skyhawks never trailed, led by as much as 20 in the first half despite a comeback attempt in the middle of the quarter by the Cougars and eclipsed 90 points for the second time in league play and third time overall this season.
While UTM’s outside shooting was prominent early, Glenn was just as important in setting the tone, getting a pair of layups as the Skyhawks pulled out to a 17-2 lead at 14:16.
“What Perica’s done is make people have to respect her,” McMillan said. “If you leave her down there one-on-one, she’s liable to get 20 points and 15 rebounds. Our season is going to hinge on her play. If she starts having bigger games, we’re going to have bigger games.”
SIU-E 69, UTM 65 (M)
The Skyhawks dropped their fifth Ohio Valley Conference game in Saturday’s second game.
The Skyhawks (3-15, 0-5) fell behind by as many as 11 points in the first half before closing to within four at the break and then trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, only to battle back to within five in the final minutes. The four-point final margin came on a basket in the lane at the buzzer.
“We have to get better on the defensive end,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “Scoring 65 points should be enough to win in this league. We have to get more consistent on the defensive end. Until we do that, every night will be a crap shoot.”
UT Martin led just once in the game, going up 6-4 on a pair of Mike Liabo free throws at 15:49 of the first half.
Other than that, UTM played catch-up all night.
SIUE (5-8, 3-1 OVC) scored nine straight to go up 13-6 and never trailed again. The Cougars did have to fight to keep their lead on occasion, however.
Edwardsville twice led by 11 in the first half, but the Skyhawks closed the half on a 9-2 run to get within 35-31. Liabo had seven of those points, including a 3-pointer as he finished the first 20 minutes with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 at the line.
After being outscored 15-2 to start the second half, UTM topped Cougars 30-19 the rest of the way and got as close as six points on three occasions in addition to the late five-point margin. Published in The Messenger 1.9.12

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