CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team placed four players in double-figures in the scoring column but the Skyhawks could not battle back from an early deficit in an 81-68 loss at Austin Peay this evening.
Junior forward Myles Taylor poured in a game-high 19 points while tying a career-high with 14 rebounds for UT Martin (5-12, 0-2 Ohio Valley Conference). Tonight’s performance marked the 13th career double-double for the Little Rock, Ark. native.
Justin Childs scored 14 points – just one point off his season-high effort – while Terence Smith (11 points) and Dee Oldham (10 points) also reached double-digits. Mike Liabo added eight points and Marshun Newell set a career-high with seven assists for the Skyhawks, who won the rebounding battle by a 43-37 margin.
Austin Peay (7-8, 1-0 OVC) was led by Chris Horton’s 16 points and 12 rebounds. Zavion Williams added 16 points and seven assists while Will Triggs (15 points), Travis Betran (15) and Damarius Smith (11) heavily contributed to the Governors’ attack.
“We had a hard time getting going from an energy standpoint,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “We came out fairly fast but Austin Peay came out faster. I thought tonight we were an offensive sensitive team at times – everything was rushed and our shots just weren’t falling.”
Smith came out blazing for the Skyhawks, scoring UT Martin’s first five points in a span of 1:39. After Smith’s initial spurt provided the Skyhawks with a 5-2 lead, Austin Peay went on an 11-0 run over the next 2:53 to take its first lead of the contest.
UT Martin used a 9-4 run to pull within a single possession (17-14) with 12:41 to go in the first half. The Governors would stretch their lead back out to 22-14 but the Skyhawks responded with a 7-2 run to get right back within three points (24-21) with 9:29 remaining in the first half.
Austin Peay answered with nine unanswered points before an Oldham free throw ended the scoring drought at the 5:23 mark for the Skyhawks. The Governors would lead by 13 points after a Horton basket with 3:20 left to play but UT Martin closed out the first half strong, as a 20-foot jumper by Childs at the buzzer capped off a 6-2 run and pulled the Skyhawks within single-digits at 39-30.
Smith’s 10 points in 10 minutes paced UT Martin in the first half while Horton had a game-high 12 points at the break.
The Governors accounted for the first five points of the second half but back-to-back layups by Taylor ignited a 6-2 Skyhawk run that made the score 48-38 at the 15:13 mark.
Austin Peay would later go on an 18-6 run to take a 63-42 advantage before the Skyhawks used a 14-5 spurt – capped off with an Oldham trifecta at the 7:07 mark – to make the score 68-56.
A Childs short jumper with 5:17 left to play kept the UT Martin deficit at 12 points but unfortunately the Skyhawks would not get any closer the rest of the way.
UT Martin rounds out its OVC-opening three-game road trip with a short drive to Murray State on Sunday, Jan. 5. The game – which will be broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network – is slated to tip off at 2 p.m.