Skyhawks go cold in loss to Samford
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
A poor second half of shooting by UT Martin combined with a good second half of shooting by Samford led to a fourth consecutive loss for the Skyhawks men’s team, a 75-62 setback Wednesday night at the Elam Center.
The Skyhawks (3-9) saw a 55 percent first half shooting performance turn into a 32.3 effort in the second half. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, hit 52.2 percent of their shots in the first half and were even better in the second by hitting 60.9 percent.
Samford (3-10) turned a 36-30 lead into a 17-point lead with 4:02 to play in the game. The Skyhawks’ biggest lead came with 10:30 to play in the first half on a layup by Mike Liabo for a 18-11 lead.
Raijon Kelly of Samford tied the game at 20 on his 3-pointer with 7:47 to play in the first half, and then he hit another trey with 6:57 to play in the half to give the Bulldogs a 23-22 lead.
Skyhawk head coach Jason James was at a loss for words after the game, not pleased with the lack of preparation from his team.
Liabo was the bright spot when the Skyhawks found themselves struggling to get the ball to fall through the hoop. He scored a game-high 23 points and hit four 3-pointers, Dee Oldham scored to get UTM within nine points at 67-58 game with 2:15 remaining.
A jumper by Kelly pushed the lead back to double digits 18 seconds later. Liabo followed with his fifth 3-pointer to make 73-61 with 1:09 remaining on the clock. That was as close as the Skyhawks could get.
The five 3-pointers by Liabo was a career high. He also led the Skyhawks in steals with three and assists with four.
It looked like it was going to be a good shooting night for UTM early on when the Skyhawks took an early 9-4 lead on six unanswered points. Kelly scored on a jumper to tie the game at 11.
BJ McLaughlin gave the Skyhawks their second lead on his layup to make it 13-11 with 11:49 to play in the opening half. That’s when the Skyhawks went on a seven-point run.
UTM had a 14-2 scoring stretch during part of the first half, but then things fell apart at the seams in the second half with the cold shooting.
The Skyhawks will have some time to work on their game with a 10-day break. UTM will return to action on Dec. 29 for a noon game at Southeast Missouri to begin Ohio Valley Conference play. Published in The WCP 12.20.12