Myles Taylor hit two free throws with :00.1 left in overtime to give the Skyhawks their first regular season Ohio Valley Conference win since February 24, 2011 against Eastern Kentucky. The Skyhawks used 22 offensive rebounds to put up 17 second chance points and that was the difference as in key moments it was the glass going favorably to UT Martin.
The Governors exploded out to a 13-2 run in the opening 5 minutes as Anthony Campbell hit three triples to give the Governors the hot start. However the Skyhawks would close the gap to five as Dee Oldham buried a corner three in the closing seconds of the first half. The opening twenty minutes saw the visitors shoot 52% and 6-9 from behind the arc.
The Skyhawks pulled to within one at the start of the second half, with Taylor going on his own four point run. The Governors responded, building the lead up to 10 with 11:40 in the half, but just two minutes later the lead was back down to one. The changing point occurred at 7:27 in the second half, as the Governors would go over 4 minutes without a field goal, making just 4 field goals for the entire half.
UT Martin head coach Jason James said after the game that he wanted to take away the three ball and they did, holding the Peay shooters to just one made three the rest of the game. With 1:19 remaining, Campbell gave the Governors the lead, but it was the offensive glass that allowed the Skyhawks to send it to overtime as Jeremy Washington missed a layup that was put back in by Oldham.
In the overtime period, things got crazy and the finish was nothing short of it. Once again the Governors had a the final shot, and used it to shoot themselves in the foot . Travis Betran missed with 2 seconds left, and on the rebound Chris Horton was called for over the back with one-tenth of a second remaining, a call that gave the Skyhawks the winning free throws.
The Governors were led by Betran and Campbell, each with 22pts. The Skyhawks were led by Mike Liabo (21pts) and Myles Taylor (19pts and 13 rebounds). Another good note was that Terence Smith got back into the starting role after coming off the bench the last few games for the Skyhawks.
Dave Loos once again got the hot start he wanted but “Then they turned up the intensity and we were doing everything off the dribble.” This game marks the third consecutive loss for the Govs by just two points, each time with Austin Peay starting off hot then being unable to close in the final minutes. As to the poor start in OVC play Loos fired back saying “Rest of the people in the OVC won’t feel sorry for us.” The bright spots were at the free throw line as his team shot way above their 67% going 27-31 in the loss.
UT Martin head coach James Jones said, “This is the team we see everday and practice, lots of time people in the stands don’t see this team, a team that is fully engaged mentally, full of passion and energy.”
UT Martin resumes OVC play on the road at Tennessee State on January 10. Austin Peay will continue to search for their first OVC win on the season as they host Murray State on the 12th.