Double time not good for UTM

Double time not good for UTM
RICHMOND, Ky. — The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team clawed back from an 11-point halftime deficit against Eastern Kentucky but eventually suffered an 86-78 loss in double overtime Thursday night at McBrayer Arena.
The Skyhawks never trailed in the first OT, but the Colonels made a long 3-pointer to force a second extra period.
In a game featuring 16 lead changes and 12 ties, the Skyhawks came back from four points down with 42 seconds remaining in regulation. Eastern Kentucky then posted a comeback of its own to force a second overtime, where the Colonels outscored UT Martin by a 15-7 margin.
“We were probably as good defensively in the second half as we have been in a long time,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “It showed right away we were able to make up the deficit and play even for most of the second half. We had a whole new life going into overtime, we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Skyhawk sophomore Mike Liabo poured in a game-high 23 points, his fourth 20-plus point game of the season. Myles Taylor accumulated the third double-double of his young career as the freshman scored 15 points to go along with a career-high 12 rebounds.
Dane Smith added 12 points and eight rebounds for UT Martin (3-17, 0-7 Ohio Valley Conference), who also received eight points and a career-high four steals from Omari Minor.
Eastern Kentucky (11-9, 5-3 OVC) placed four players in double-figures, led by Jaron Jones’ 20 points. Eric Stutz and Joshua Jones scored 18 and 13 points, respectively, while Mike DiNunno scored all 10 of his points in the two overtimes for the Colonels.
“I know we are struggling through a tough year, but I will choose those guys in that locker room every single time,” James said. “I’ll go to war with those guys because all those kids have good hearts. Tonight we played with our heart, we just weren’t quite good enough when we needed to be good enough to win the game.”
Both teams combined for only four points in the first 2:30, but the pace would soon pick up as the lead changed hands eight times in the first eight minutes.
out the half on a 7-2 run, Mike Liabo’s eight points paced UT Martin in the first half, as the Skyhawks shot 45.5 percent (10-for-22). Stutz amassed 14 points in the first half to lead Eastern Kentucky.
The Skyhawks came out on fire in the second half, tallying seven unanswered points while holding Eastern Kentucky without a field goal for the first 5:24.
UT Martin will close out its three-game OVC road trip on Saturday at Morehead State. Tip-off time is set for 6 p.m. Published in The Messenger 1.20.12

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