RICHMOND, Ky. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team fell 89-66 to Eastern Kentucky in Ohio Valley Conference action at McBrayer Arena this evening.
UT Martin (7-17, 2-7 OVC) matched the Colonels for the majority of the first half until Eastern Kentucky closed out the half on an 11-1 run. The Skyhawks would not get within single-digits the rest of the way.
Myles Taylor led the Skyhawks with 17 points (on 5-of-6 shooting) and five rebounds tonight, while Dee Oldham tied a career-high with 16 points for the second straight contest. Marshun Newell added nine points with a game-high six assists for UT Martin.
Eastern Kentucky (15-7, 6-3 OVC) was led by Marcus Lewis’ 19 points while Glenn Cosey tallied 18 points. Eric Stutz (14 points), Tarius Johnson (12) and Orlando Williams (10) also reached double-figures for the Colonels, who shot a season-best 64 percent (32-for-50) for the game.
“We were getting some good looks at the rim but we missed six free throws in the first half and that was big,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “At the end of the half, Eastern Kentucky turned up the heat a little bit and we lost our composure. We were a step behind the play and you can’t do that against guards who are that quick and strong.”
The Skyhawks started the game off strong, hitting three of their first four shots on the way to a 9-8 lead with just under 17 minutes to play in the first half. A steal and fast break layup by Oldham at the 12:55 mark extended the Skyhawk lead out to three points at 15-12.
Over the next 5:26, Eastern Kentucky would go on a 16-3 run to go on top by double-figures (28-18) with 7:29 remaining in the first half. UT Martin came right back with an 8-0 run, as a pair of Taylor free throws sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 28-26 at the 5:20 mark.
After Cosey hit a long three-pointer on the Colonels’ next possession, Taylor answered right back with an old-fashioned three-point play to keep the margin at two (31-29) with 3:18 left to play before the halftime break.
However, Eastern Kentucky would close out the first half on the aforementioned run and take a 42-30 advantage at the end of the first half.
Taylor’s 11 points led all scorers at the half, while Stutz led the Colonels with 10 points.
Early buckets by Oldham and Taylor in the second half kept the Skyhawks’ margin at 12 points but a Cosey three-pointer at the 17:26 mark pushed Eastern Kentucky’s lead out to 51-34.
Two more free throws by Taylor with 14:09 remaining made the score 56-43 but the Colonels came back with a 13-2 run to go ahead 69-45 midway through the second half. The closest UT Martin would get was 21 points the rest of the way.
The Skyhawks will now have a full week off from official competition before they travel to Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.