EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — UT Martin used one of its best defensive performances of the season to clinch a 65-62 triumph over SIU-Edwardsville in men’s Ohio Valley Conference action Saturday at the Vadalabene Center.
That win gave UTM a split on the afternoon as the Skyhawk women dropped a a 67-66 overtime decision.
The UTM men are now 5-16 overall and 2-7 in the OVC and will host Eastern Kentucky 7 p.m. Thursday. UT Martin’s women fall to 10-12 and 5-3 and are back in action tonight at Eastern Illinois.
UTM 65, SIU-E 62 (M)
UT Martin built a steady lead from the start and only trailed for 28 seconds late in the contest before digging in on the defensive end in the final two minutes. That staunch defensive mindset resulted in the lowest amount of points conceded by the Skyhawks against a Division-I team this season.
“We played with a sense of urgency,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “We were very active in our zone — flying around, rebounding the ball and doing a little bit of everything. We were able to make some shots but even when we didn’t make our shots, we were still guarding. That’s why we were able to be successful. We stayed together and came out here in a hostile environment and overcame. Tonight we saw the team we can be if we put our minds to it.”
Junior Mike Liabo compiled a co-game-high 16 points, while Myles Taylor racked up his ninth career double-double — tallying 12 points to go along with a career-best 14 rebounds.
Jeremy Washington tied a season-high with 15 points while adding five rebounds and a pair of blocks for UT Martin, who also received eight points out of Terence Smith and a career-best six points by DeMarc Richardson to round out the starting five.
James was impressed with his team’s composure down the stretch and throughout the entire evening, particularly by Taylor and Liabo.
“Myles impacted the game by doing the fundamental things – posting hard and showing his hands, being assertive with his moves and getting to the free throw line,” James said. “Mike’s tipped rebound to himself late in the game was smart basketball and his three-pointer after we went down by one was absolutely huge. That was a heck of a big play and I think that may have been the play to get us over the hump.”
Mark Yelovich posted team-highs of 16 points and seven rebounds for SIU-Edwardsville (7-11, 3-5 OVC). Jerome Jones added 13 points for the Cougars, the second place team in the OVC West division.
SIU-E 67, UTM 66 (W)
UT Martin led by nine points in the first half and held a one-point advantage at the halftime break. Rickiesha Bryant sank a free throw with 13 seconds left in the second half to force overtime, but SIU-E was able to outscore the Skyhawks 9-8 in the extra frame.
Jasmine Newsome led UTM with 17 points, adding a career-best seven steals to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Heather Butler drained four 3-pointers on her way to 14 points, while freshman Sydney Vanlandingham (10 points) reached double-figures for the fourth time in her young career.
Schubert and Bryant each added nine points for the Skyhawks, who forced SIU-E into 23 turnovers.
For SIU-E (10-10, 4-4 OVC), Raven Berry registered a double-double with game-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Tierny Austin also tallied a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), while Jessie Wendt scored 12 points off the bench. Michaela Herrod added nine points and 11 rebounds while making the game-winning free throw with five seconds left in overtime.
Published in The Messenger 1.28.13