Normally, when one team’s top scorer as as many points and any two opponents, his does very well. Tonight was the exception to the rules.
Myles Taylor‘s 25 points easily leads all scorers, but UT Martin is throttled on the road, falling 80-48 at Tennessee State.
The Skyhawks jumped out to an early five point lead, before allowing 10 unanswered by Tennessee State over three and a half minutes. The 10-0 run would become a 17-2 run, as the Tigers were able to push the lead to double-digits. A pair of free throws with 13 seconds in the half gave Tennessee State their biggest lead of the half, as the Tigers would be up 22 at the break.
UT Martin threatened somewhat with a 6-0 mini-run to pull within 14 in the second half, but the Tigers dominated from there on the way to a 32-point win.
Only two Tigers scored in double figures, but all 11 TSU players that saw minutes got into the scoring column. Kellen Thorton led the way with 17 points, and Patrick Miller added 12 in the win. Tennessee State shot 51% from the field, and held the Skyhawks to just 33% shooting on the night. Of the Tigers 80 points, just 14 were scored in the paint, and Tennessee State was outscored on turnovers by 12, not statistics you’re used to seeing from a winning team.
While Tennessee State scored by committee, Taylor contributed over half of UT Martin’s points, as just six Skyhawks scored points. One reason for the lack of scoring: UT Martin shot just 9 free throws on the night. Tennessee State shot 23, and made 20 of those.
This game didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know about these two teams. Tennessee State continues their impressive start to OVC play, and it’s almost not worth mentioning again that they continue to do this without Robert Covington. (But I will at least one more time) The Tigers defensive performance was most impressive, as even the seemingly dominant Taylor scored 25 points, but took 23 shots from the field.
Any momentum UT Martin may have had after beating Austin Peay last weekend is all but gone now. The lack of free throws is especially disturbing, given they have a talented big man that should be getting to the bucket, and getting fouls. The guards also can’t continually settle for jumpers, they must find lanes to drive the ball to the basket for the offense to have consistent success.
Tennessee State remains at home as Southeast Missouri (10-8, 2-2) come to town on Saturday. UT Martin’s road swing brings them to Belmont. (12-4, 3-0)