UTM MEN'S HOOPS GEARED UP FOR JSU IN SECOND CONSECUTIVE OVC FINALS APPEARANCE
March 4, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the second consecutive season, the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team will play for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship when it matches up against No. 4 seed Jacksonville State on Saturday, March 4. Tipoff time from Municipal Auditorium is set for 7 p.m.
The Skyhawks (21-11), who won the OVC West division en route to the league’s No. 2 seed, earned a spot in the finals after a 73-67 win over Murray State. UT Martin led for 26:47 of clock time, sinking 51 percent of its field goal attempts to overcome a 36-34 halftime deficit. Matthew Butler tossed in 17 points while Kedar Edwards (16 points, seven rebounds) and Fatodd Lewis (10 points) helped lift the Skyhawks to the win.
UT Martin has never faced Jacksonville State in the OVC tournament and will look to avenge a 90-72 home loss to the Gamecocks on Dec. 29. In that game, the Skyhawks only trailed by five points at the halftime break but would only shoot 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the final 20 minutes. Javier Martinez dialed up one of his 12 double-doubles (18 points, 11 rebounds) on the season against the Gamecocks.
This game pits two of the league’s top rebounding teams against each other. UT Martin ranks atop the league in rebounding offense (37.9 per game), rebounding margin (+4.9) and offensive rebounding percentage (.380) while Jacksonville State leads the league in defensive rebounding (31.7 per game). The Gamecocks also led the OVC in scoring defense (66.9 points per game) and field goal percentage defense (.414) in conference play.
Jacksonville State (19-14) advanced to the championship game via a 74-51 win over No. 5 Southeast Missouri on Thursday and a 65-59 victory over No. 1 Belmont on Friday. All-OVC second team honoree Malcolm Drumwright has averaged 18.0 points per game while Greg Tucker (15.0 points per game) and Norbertas Giga (11.0 points, 9.5 rebounds per game) have also guided the Gamecocks in the tournament.
The game will be aired live on ESPN2 or on ESPN3 at the link above. Chris Brinkley and Tom Britt will call the game on KYTN 104.9 FM while WUTM 90.3 FM will also broadcast the game at the links above. Live stats for the game can be tracked at the link found at the top of the webpage.