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UTM burns visiting foe after break

UTM burns visiting foe after break
The UT Martin men’s basketball team opened the second half with a 14-4 run to ignite an 84-58 triumph over Fontbonne University Wednesday night at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
UT Martin (1-2) led 39-36 at the half but picked up the defensive intensity at the beginning of the second half, holding the Griffins without a field goal for 7:15 early on in the second stanza. The stingy defensive effort allowed the Skyhawks to build as much as a 28-point lead in the second half.
Junior Bobby Jones led UT Martin in scoring, tossing in a game-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and five steals in 26 minutes. Myles Taylor collected his fifth career double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds), Mike Liabo added 11 points off the bench and Justin Childs dished out a game-high eight assists for the Skyhawks, who scorched the net for 59.4 percent (19-for-32) shooting in the last 20 minutes.
For Fontbonne, Greg Gentry scored 16 points while Jared Greenlee (12 points) and Blake Welch (10) also cracked double-figures in the scoring column for the Griffins, who were held to 20.8 percent shooting (5-for-24) in the second half.
Skyhawk head coach Jason James knew the key was his team’s efficiency in the second half, helping UT Martin outscore Fontbonne 48-18 in the paint and 19-2 in fast break points.
“Fontbonne came out aggressive and we didn’t. We were flat in the first half and we weren’t ready to play,” James said. “We executed a little better, took better shots and shared the ball a lot better in the second half.”
A Jones 3-pointer and layup by Taylor got the Skyhawks off to a 5-0 start early. A fast break trifecta by Jones at the 16 minute mark made the score 12-7 in UT Martin’s favor.
The Griffins then scored six unanswered to take their first lead of the game at 17-14, and minutes later Fontbonne would use a 7-2 run to go on top 27-20 at the 9:50 mark of the first half.
A fast break layup by Tobias Dowdell combined with a three-pointer by Liabo tilted the score back in UT Martin’s favor at 32-31. Liabo closed out the half with a transition layup to put the Skyhawks on top by three heading into the break.
Jones (10 points), Dowdell (eight points, seven minutes) and Liabo (eight points) led UT Martin in the first half, while Gentry’s nine points paced the Griffins.
Ten unanswered points during the Skyhawks’ run to start the second half shot UTM ahead 53-40 with 14:30 to go.
The Skyhawks host Arkansas State on Friday.
 in the Elam Center, hosting Arkansas State at 7 p.m. Published in The Messenger 11.15.12