UTM unable to bust loose away from home
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:00 pm
UT Martin battled throughout Saturday night’s game at Southeastern Louisiana but, in the end, Roosevelt Johnson’s 23 points and 19 rebounds paced the Lions to a 64-48 win at the University Center.
Mike Liabo led UTM with 13 points, while Troy King added 10 points in his first start since Dec. 18 against IPFW. Dane Smith (nine) and Jeremy Washington (eight) nearly reached double-figures for the Skyhawks, who outrebounded Southeastern Louisiana by a 39-36 margin.
Sophomore Pierre Mopo pulled down a career-best eight rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench for UT Martin, playing shorthanded in the post as junior Corderio Maclin did not make the trip due to a stomach illness and freshman Myles Taylor was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.
Todd Nelson (18 points) and DeShawn Patterson (10) joined Johnson in double-figures for Southeastern Louisiana.
“I thought we competed to an extent,” Skyhawk head coach Jason James said. “I thought we played hard for most of the game but we went through a stretch there where they just dominated us. Roosevelt Johnson was very active on the boards and got them going and we were playing from behind. They wore us out — especially late in the game.”
The Skyhawks came out of the gate ready, forcing a pair of turnovers and scoring on their first two possessions to lead 4-0 just 56 seconds into the game. An old-fashioned three-point play by King extended UT Martin’s advantage to 7-2 at the 17:30 mark.
However, Southeastern Louisiana answered back with an 11-0 run over the next 4:31 to go ahead by seven with just under 13 minutes to play in the first half.
Four straight points by Washington pulled the Skyhawks within two (13-11) at the 10:13 mark, and the Skyhawks would tie the game at 15-all off a layup by Richardson at the 6:32 mark.
UT Martin would tie the ballgame two more times over the next 2:42 before the Lions ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 31-22 advantage at the break.
Liabo’s seven points led the Skyhawks in the first half, while Johnson tallied 13 points at the break for Southeastern Louisiana.
Johnson scored six straight points for the Lions to open the second half, giving Southeastern Louisiana an 11-point lead. The Skyhawks responded by accounting for six of the next seven points to cut their deficit to six off a layup by Smith with 15:50 to play.
Southeastern Louisiana then stretched its lead back out to 10 at the 14:38 mark, but the Skyhawks battled back, getting within seven points on a fast break layup by Taylor midway through the second half.
The Lions then scored eight of the next 10 points, taking a 52-39 lead at the 6:22 mark. UT Martin would continue to battle until the final buzzer but did not get within single-digits the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks return to the Elam Center for their home finale Thursday against OVC rival Austin Peay at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the game, UT Martin will recognize its lone senior, Dane Smith, for his career accomplishments. Published in The WCP 2.21.12