MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team received a game-high 19 points out of sophomore forward Myles Taylor this evening, but Eastern Illinois shot 65 percent on its way to a 93-65 win at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
The Skyhawks (6-17, 3-8 Ohio Valley Conference) led on four occasions early in the contest and trailed by just one point at the 4:27 mark in the first half. However, the Panthers hit four 3-pointers in the final 3:19 of the first half and UT Martin wouldn’t get any closer than five points the rest of the way.
Along with Taylor’s 19 points, he also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to go along with a pair of steals in 31 minutes. Terence Smith (11 points, team-high four assists), Mike Liabo (10) and Justin Childs (10) also each cracked double-figures in the scoring column for the Skyhawks, who shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51) from the floor.
Morris Woods’ 18 points and Sherman Blanford’s double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) paced Eastern Illinois. Alex Austin added 16 points, Austin Akers tallied 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Malcolm Herron scored 12 points for the Panthers (7-17, 4-7 OVC), who hit nine of their 12 three-pointers in the first half.
“We came out flat and then got back into the game but we became offensive sensitive,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “They made a bunch of shots and we couldn’t get out to their shooters. They got into a rhythm in the first half and we were playing from behind from there.”
Taylor was responsible for UT Martin’s first six points in the game. A jumper by Jeremy Washington at the 14:20 mark gave the Skyhawks an 8-7 lead, but Eastern Illinois soon went on a 7-0 run to go on top 19-10 with 11 minutes left in the half.
Back-to-back treys by Smith and Dee Oldham helped UT Martin inch within five points (25-20) at the 7:57 mark but the Panthers opened up a 31-20 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Childs then ignited a 10-0 run for the Skyhawks, scoring five straight points to begin a run that sliced UT Martin’s deficit to 31-30 at the 4:27 mark. The Panthers then ended the half on the aforementioned run of three-pointers to lead 43-34 at the break.
Taylor poured in 10 points to lead the Skyhawks at the half, while Herron’s 12 points paced Eastern Illinois.
UT Martin began the second half on a 7-2 run – capped off by a Liabo trifecta that made the score 45-41 with 18:18 left to play. That was the beginning of eight straight Skyhawk points for Liabo but the Panthers would go back ahead by double-figures for good at the 16:11 mark.
A 6-0 Eastern Illinois run provided a 16-point lead with 13 minutes to go, but seven straight points by Taylor and a layup by Childs got the Skyhawks within 11 points on two different occasions.
However, the Panthers would soon score seven unanswered points as part of an 18-2 run over the next 5:47 to go ahead 84-57 on their way to the win.
UT Martin continues its four-game homestand with a nationally-televised noon matchup against SIU Edwardsville on Saturday, Feb. 9. Skyhawk fans are invited to “White Out” the Elam Center for the contest that will be aired in Tennessee/Kentucky on Fox Sports South and nationally on Fox Sports Midwest.