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January 15, 2009

UT Martin Skyhawks rally in second half for 83-72 OVC win at Tech

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Lester Hudson led UT Martin with 29 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals and the Skyhawks outran Tennessee Tech in the second half to claim an 83-72 Ohio Valley Conference victory over the Golden Eagles Thursday night in Eblen Center before a national TV audience on ESPNU.

Hudson was one of three Skyhawks to score in double figures, joined by Oladije Hay with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Marquis Weddle with 16 points.

Tech had four players in double figures on the scoreboard, topped y junior DJ Lindsay with 15 and Will Barnes with 14. Daniel Northern notched the third double-double in the contest with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Zach Bailey also scored 10.

The difference in the contest can be traced to the shooting percentage for each team. Tech shot 55.2 percent in the first half but cooled off to 34.4 percent in the second for a 44.3 percent game total. UT Martin hit 46.9 percent in the first half and heated up to 57.1 in the second and finished at 52.2 percent.

The win helped UT Martin improve to 11-6 overall and 4-3 within the OVC. Tech's record evened out at 8-8 overall and slipped to 2-4 in conference play.

The Skyhawks looked ready to roll from the start, taking a quick 4-0 lead, but Tech got untracked with a 3-poiner by Frank Davis. That bomb ignited a 16-4 run by Tech and put the Golden Eagles out front by eight, 16-8, with just over 14 minutes left in the period.

Weddle and Hudson led the Skyhawks back into the battle and the visitors pulled within two, 20-18, at the 11:35 mark.

From there to the halftime buzzer, the largest lead for either team was three points and the score was tied four times, including 37-37 at the intermission.

Tech shot 50 percent in the opening half (19-for-38) while UT Martin hit 51.2 percent (21-for-41).

The Skyhawks eased out to a slim lead early in the second half as Tech lost the range, then pushed their margin to double digits, 53-43, when Olajide Hay hit a layup with 14:40 remaining.

The UTM lead bulged to 12 four different times, and each time Tech worked its way back, pulling to within seven twice, the second on a jumper by Bassey Inameti with 8:49 to play.

With 7:30 remaining, Zach Bailey hit a layup to get Tech within six points, 65-59, but Hudson answered with a quick layup at the other end.

Two more times Tech made it a six-point game, the final time coming on a dunk by Daniel Northern with 6:02 left.

From there, Djero Riedewald, Weddle and Hudson scored for a 6-0 UTM run and the Skyhawks were back out front by 12 with 4:33 to go. They were able to stay on top by double figures the rest of the way, going up by 14 a couple of times in the final 2:13.

Zac Walker's 3-pointer with 24 seconds left sliced the final difference to 11 points.

The next action for the Golden Eagles comes Saturday night when Murray State visits Eblen Center. The first game of the doubleheader will be televised nationally by ESPNU, while the men's game is slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Saturday is "Pack the House" Night, with several special events and activities planned. For ticket information, call (931) 372-3940 or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center Friday during regular business hours.