UT Martin men finally get elusive OVC win
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
UT Martin men did something Saturday night they have not done since Feb. 24, 2011 — win an Ohio Valley Conference game.
The Skyhawks ended a 20-game skid in the OVC when Myles Taylor hit a pair of free throws with one-10th of a second left on the clock in overtime to defeat Austin Peay 76-74.
Taylor went up for a defensive rebound and was fouled by Austin Peay’s Chris Horton with 0:00.1 showing on the clock and the score tied 74-74. Taylor hit the first the free throw shot and waved his arms high in the air to get the Skyhawks fans involved. The crowd responded by cheering for Taylor and the rest of the Skyhawks.
Mike Liabo kept the Skyhawks (4-12, 1-3) in the game during the overtime period with a 3-pointer that gave the ’Hawks a 72-71 lead with 1:01 to play. He attempted another 3-point shot with UTM down 74-72 with 15 seconds to play and was fouled on his attempt. He made 2-of-3 shots to tie the game at 74-74.
“I just had to stay tough, and my team needed me,” Liabo said. “I just wanted to execute down the stretch. We were down the whole game and just kept fighting. We did not give up. We knew if we kept battling for the offensive rebounds that we would be there.”
Liabo led the Skyhawks with 21 points and went 5-of-11 from 3-point range. Before the game, he was awarded a basketball with his name on it for joining the 1,000-point club, having reached that mark against Southeast Missouri on Dec. 29.
UTM outrebounded the Governors 44-32 overall and 22-6 on the offensive end. Taylor had a career-high 13 rebounds to go with his 19 points. Tobias Dowdell had nine rebounds with some big putbacks to help keep UTM in the game.
UTM’s first lead in the game came with 4:15 to play in regulation on a 3-pointer by Terence Smith for a 59-58 advantage. The Govs (4-12, 0-2) led by as many as 11 points on three separate occasions in the first period and were up by 10 with 11:40 to play in regulation.
The Skyhawks went on a nine-point run to cut the lead down 51-50 on a layup by Dowdell with 9:02 on the clock. Dee Oldham tied the game at 66-66 on a short jumper to send the game into overtime.
Head coach Jason James said after the game that this is the team he sees every day at practice and the one he knows can compete with any team in the OVC.
“A lot of the time, the fans in the stands do not see this team,” James said. “This is the team I see almost every single day. I knew these guys could play like this. If we play the right way and do the right things, then we can play with just about any team in the league.”
The Skyhawks were outshot by the Govs 41.7 percent to 38 percent, UTM hit a season-high 11 3-pointers in the game to make up for the shooting percentage. Justin Childs went 2-for-2 from downtown and Oldham hit a pair of 3-pointers. Bobby Jones and Smith each hit one from long range.
The Skyhawks got 40 points from the bench while the Govs only scored four points from their bench. UTM outscored APU 28-18 in the paint thanks to wide margin of offensive rebounds.
“We wanted to make a conscious effort to attack the glass,” James said. “I knew with a little effort there that we could get some easy baskets. I thought we did that.”
Travis Betran and Anthony Campbell each scored 22 points for the Govs to share the game-high in points.
UTM will be on the road to take on Tennessee State on Thursday and Belmont on Saturday. The Skyhawks’ next home game will be Jan. 19 against Morehead State. Game time is set for 6 p.m. at the Elam Center. Published in The WCP 1.8.13