UTM MEN'S HOOPS LOCKS UP BIG 72-69 ROAD WIN AT CANISIUS
November 21, 2016
BUFFALO, NY – The University of Tennessee at Martin overcame a double-digit deficit and used a balanced scoring attack to secure a big 72-69 road victory at Canisius in the Bluegrass Showcase this evening.
The Skyhawks (4-1) trailed by 11 points in the first half but stormed back to eventually open up a double-digit lead of their own with 7:20 remaining. Canisius was able to trim its deficit down to three points and had a chance to tie the game in the final 30 seconds before a defensive stand sealed the win for UT Martin.
“I’m elated – I’m real proud of my guys,” Skyhawk head coach Anthony Stewart said. “We probably had our worst half of the year in the first half. We were 1-of-11 from three-point range, we were missing a lot of defensive assignments and the ball wasn’t popping and moving. Offensively, we were playing selfishly and defensively, we were letting our emotions dictate us because we weren’t making shots. In the second half, we regrouped, started off the half well and showed resolve at the end to get the victory.”
Javier Martinez led the Skyhawks in scoring for the second straight game, tossing in 17 points to go along with seven rebounds. Kedar Edwards accounted for a stat line of 16 points, eight rebounds and a career-best seven assists while the starting backcourt of Jacolby Mobley (15 points) and Matthew Butler (11 points) also scored in double figures.
Canisius (1-3) was led by Phil Valenti’s 21 points while Jermaine Crumpton and Kiefer Douse added 17 and 11 points, respectively. The Golden Griffins held a 36-32 halftime lead but only shot 20 percent (6-of-30) from three-point range tonight.
UT Martin trailed for the entire first half as Canisius jumped out to an early 7-2 lead. Martinez helped the Skyhawks close within five points after he scored six of UT Martin’s first 10 points of the contest.
A Mobley three-pointer at the 12:29 mark of the first half pulled the Skyhawks within four points at 17-13 but a 7-0 Golden Griffin run provided Canisius with an 11-point lead just over three minutes later.
Martinez converted an old-fashioned three-point play to cap off an 11-3 UT Martin run to make the score 33-30. The Golden Griffins answered with a trifecta before a nice move inside by Dante Bailey provided the 36-32 halftime score.
Leading the Skyhawks at the break was Martinez, who had 11 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting. The duo of Valenti and Crumpton each had 12 points apiece to pace Canisius.
Two quick buckets by Mobley and Edwards tied the game at 36-all less than a minute into the second half. The Golden Griffins scored four unanswered but a Chandler Rowe offensive rebound and stickback gave UT Martin its first lead of the game (45-44) with 15:39 remaining.
Canisius evened the score at 49-49 but Butler knocked down a big triple to ignite a 10-1 Skyhawk run. During that span, UT Martin received a huge lift from senior forward Malik London, who threw down a pair of dunks and notched an old-fashioned three-point play on three straight possessions.
A fast break layup by Butler at the 7:20 mark gave the Skyhawks a 66-56 edge while a Mobley jumper kept UT Martin’s lead comfortable at 70-61 with just under four minutes to go.
However, the Golden Griffins reeled off eight of the next 10 points and had the ball down by three points with 30 ticks left. After the Skyhawks snuffed out Canisius’ initial play call, the Golden Griffins called timeout with nine seconds left to regroup. UT Martin then locked down its defense one more time and forced an errant, off-balanced three-pointer from the left wing that fell short and into the arms of Edwards as the Skyhawks celebrated their first road win of the season.
UT Martin will look to stay unbeaten in the Bluegrass Showcase with a Wednesday, Nov. 23 matchup at Duquesne. Tipoff against the Atlantic 10 Conference member is set for 6 p.m. CST.