January 6, 2018

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MURRAY, Ky. – Matthew Butler led the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team in scoring for the seventh time this season but Murray State pulled away in the second half to hand the Skyhawks an 82-68 loss at the CFSB Center tonight.

UT Martin shot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) in the second half, pulling within two points early in the stanza against the Ohio Valley Conference-leading Racers. However, the Skyhawks (6-11, 1-3 OVC) could not get over the hump as Murray State made eight 3-pointers over the last 20 minutes.

Butler’s 20 points ranked as a team-high while Terrence Parker secured 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds for UT Martin. Delfincko Bogan produced a stat line of 10 points, five assists and four boards while the Fatodd Lewis/Mike Fofana duo registered eight points and seven rebounds apiece as the Skyhawks outrebounded the host Racers by a 34-33 margin.

Murray State improved to 12-3 overall with a 4-0 OVC mark behind Jonathan Stark’s 22 points. Byron Hawkins (14), Terrell Miller (13), Shaq Buchanan (10) and Ja Morant (10) also heavily contributed to the Racer scoring attack.

“Hats off to Murray State – they were well prepared,” UT Martin head coach Anthony Stewart said. “I just wish we could have put two halves together tonight. I thought we matched their toughness somewhat for the majority of the first half and to start the second half. But unfortunately, we ran out of gas and we ran out of time.”

An 18-foot Lewis jumpshot at the 19:15 mark put the Skyhawks on top by a 2-0 margin. Murray State answered with a 9-0 run until Bogan scored on a drive to the hoop to close the gap to five points.

The Racers led by double-digits (16-6) with 10:27 to go in the first half before UT Martin scored six of the next eight points. Lewis (backdown jumper), Parker (left-handed hook shot) and Butler (reverse layup) were each responsible for the Skyhawks whittling into their deficit.

Lewis scored back-to-back buckets to key a 6-0 Skyhawk run, as a Butler fast break layup at the 4:41 mark made the score 24-20 in Murray State’s favor. The Racers accounted for the next four points but Butler (three-pointer from the right wing) and Dominique Williams (18-foot jumper) in the final minutes of the first half helped make the score 31-25 at the break.

Butler compiled a game-high nine points in the first half as UT Martin shot 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the floor. Stark was responsible for a team-high eight points in the first half for Murray State, who connected on 35.7 percent (10-for-28) of its field goal attempts.

The Skyhawks came out roaring in the second half, scoring seven of the first 10 points to close within a single possession (34-32) with 18:47 remaining on the clock. Parker tallied UT Martin’s first two buckets of the half before Darius Thompson swished a three-pointer from the left corner to get the Skyhawks within striking distance.

Over the next three minutes, the Racers reeled off 14 unanswered points to go ahead by a 48-32 margin. Williams scored on a drive with a little under 15 minutes to go to conclude UT Martin’s drought.

A pair of Butler free throws at the 12:08 mark made the score 54-38 but Murray State would once again go on an extended run, using a 9-0 run to build a 63-38 advantage.

Butler tacked on a pair of three-pointers before the Skyhawks accumulated a 13-0 run over a stretch of 3:37. A rim run dunk by Parker with 2:31 left to play pulled UT Martin within 14 points at 76-62. However, the comeback attempt was too late for the Skyhawks.

UT Martin returns home for its next two OVC games, beginning with a Thursday, Jan. 11 tilt against Eastern Kentucky. Tipoff from the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center will follow the women’s game at approximately 7:30 p.m.

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