End of UTM skid is Taylor(s)-made
Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012 12:00 pm
KENNESAW, Ga. — Myles Taylor poured in a career-best 31 points for UT Martin to lead all scorers, but it was Khristian Taylor who made the biggest shot of the game — a free throw with 2.9 seconds left in overtime that wound up being the difference in a 76-75 Skyhawk victory over Kennesaw State at the KSU Convocation Center.
UTM snapped a 15-game losing streak and will next visit Southeastern Louisiana in the Sears ESPN BracketBuster game Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Skyhawks (4-24) battled back from a six-point halftime deficit to lead by as many as seven points in the second half. However, Kennesaw State charged back to take the lead late in regulation before UT Martin forced overtime.
In the extra period, the Skyhawks had to fight back from a pair of three-point deficits before Khristian Taylor became the hero.
Stepping up with 21 huge minutes off the bench in the absence of UT Martin’s fourth-leading scorer Troy King (stomach illness), he drove down the left side and got fouled with the score tied at 75-all and 2.9 seconds left on the clock. He calmly rattled in the second of two free throws for his fifth point of the game to go along with three rebounds and a career-high three steals.
“We always talk about guys being ready to answer the bell,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “Khristian’s number was called tonight because we were a man down and he played with a lot of energy in the first half. In the second half, he was real good defensively for us. He stepped to the line in overtime and we were very fortunate he was ready for the moment.”
In what has been nothing short of a spectacular season for Myles Taylor, this performance was his best. He made nine of his 17 field goal attempts and pulled down eight rebounds in 31 minutes. After missing his first free throw attempt of the game, he calmly stroked 13 straight from the charity stripe. In the last three games, Taylor is shooting a red-hot 94 percent (33-for-35) from the free throw line.
“Myles was able to make a lot of quick moves early, finish some shots and then he got into the rhythm of the game and that’s huge for him,” James said. “He’s hard to guard but when he’s feeling good and moving real well, he’s super tough.”
Mike Liabo (11 points) and Jeremy Washington (10) also cracked double-figures for the Skyhawks, while Dane Smith registered nine points and nine rebounds. UT Martin outrebounded its opponent for the 11th time this season, pulling down 41 boards (14 offense) to Kennesaw State’s 30.
The Owls were led by Spencer Dixon’s 20 points.
, while Delbert Love and Aaron Anderson added 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Myles Taylor got the Skyhawks going early, tallying UT Martin’s first five points of the game in a span of 1:06. Kennesaw State would later score seven unanswered to take a 17-9 lead at the 14:17 mark until two more buckets from Taylor momentarily stopped the Owls’ run.
An old-fashioned 3-point play by Myles Taylor at the 11:39 mark got the Skyhawks within six at 21-15.
However, Kennesaw State would stretch its lead out to nine until UT Martin received a lift from Khristian Taylor off the bench.
Once he checked in, he immediately contributed by sinking two straight baskets to slice the Skyhawk deficit back down to five.
Published in The WCP 2.16.12