OVC WEST CHAMPION UT MARTIN SKYHAWKS SET FOR LEAGUE SEMIFINALS ON FRIDAY
February 28, 2017
MARTIN, Tenn. - The No. 2 seeded University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball squad makes its Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Championship debut in the Friday night semifinals at Municipal Auditorium on March 3 at 9 p.m.
The Skyhawks' (20-11) opponent is yet to be determined but will be either No. 3 Morehead State, No. 6 Tennessee Tech or No. 7 Murray State. UT Martin went 3-1 in the regular season against those potential opponents (1-0 vs. Morehead State, 1-0 vs. Tennessee Tech, 1-1 vs. Murray State).
This will be the fourth time in program history that the Skyhawks have made an appearance in the OVC tournament semifinals. Last season, UT Martin made it to the league championship game for the first time in school history before falling by an 83-73 margin to No. 8 seed Austin Peay.
The Skyhawks earned the double-bye into the tournament semifinals by clinching the program’s second straight OVC West division crown. UT Martin has posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time ever while its 61 wins since 2014-15 are the most for any three-year span in school history.
At the forefront of the Skyhawks’ success is first-year head coach Anthony Stewart. Of the 29 first-year head coaches in Division-I basketball, Stewart trails only New Mexico State’s Paul Weir (24) and Valparaiso’s Matt Lottich (24) for the most victories in the country by a rookie bench leader.
UT Martin’s veteran-laden lineup is led by Jacolby Mobley, who was crowned as an All-OVC first team performer after leading the OVC in three-point field goals made (3.3 per game) while pouring in 21.4 points per contest in league play. Javier Martinez earned All-OVC second team accolades after securing 12 double-doubles on the season and ranking fifth in the nation with a .677 field goal percentage. Matthew Butler garnered OVC All-Newcomer status after ranking fifth in the OVC in three-point field goals made (2.5 per game) and 10th in assists (3.7 per game). Kedar Edwards (second in the OVC with 1.6 steals per game, sixth with 4.4 assists per game) and Chandler Rowe (eighth in the OVC with 1.1 blocks per game, 10th in steals with 1.3 per game) round out the Skyhawks’ starting five.
The game will be broadcasted nationally on ESPNU or online on ESPN3 at the link above. Locally, the game will be carried on the radio airwaves on Star 95.1 FM or on WUTM 90.3 FM, each of which can be heard at the links found at the top of the webpage. Live stats for the game can be found via a link above.