For the first time in UTM’s history, the Skyhawks lead Duke University, and they did it three times.
In the team’s first meeting on Nov. 20, the Skyhawks were defeated 46-88 by the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“Going into this game, there were two things that we were concerned about,” said Bret Campbell, UTM’s sixth-year head coach.
“Really three; we had three things on the board. I didn’t think we really accomplished any of those three. One was take care of the basketball. I think Duke is obviously a very good defensive team. They can expose you, especially in this place (Cameron Indoor Stadium). And, I’m not sure we really competed. Maybe a little bit in the first half, then we tried a little bit in the second half.”
At the break, UTM was only down 14 points. Duke managed to outscore the Skyhawks 49-21 in the second.
“I didn’t think we were playing poorly in the first half,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We were shooting poorly. If the other team quits on you, you don’t have to worry about those things, but Tennessee-Martin played hard all game.”
The nationally ranked Blue Devils forced the Skyhawks to play a sloppy game, having 23 turnovers and being held to less than 30 points in either half.
Duke also out-rebounded UTM, 57-33.
Leading the Skyhawks in scoring was junior forward Jared Newson, with 14. Newson also had seven rebounds in 33 minutes and had a .500 field goal percentage.
Following him was junior guard Marcus Ford with nine points and four rebounds and 24 total minutes.
Six Duke players finished with points in double digits, including All-American J.J…. Redick and Daniel Ewing who each had 20.
UTM vs. Reinhardt
The Skyhawks got huge offensive outputs from Earl Bullock and Jared Newson , and Newson provided a key block in the final minute of the game as the team pulled out a tough 84-79 win over the Reinhardt College squad on November 22.
The two Skyhawks shared the honor of the game’s high scorer with Reinhardt’s Chris Jones. Each player finished with 21 points.
Reinhardt jumped out to a quick advantage in the first half despite shooting only 34 percent from the floor. They were helped by UTM turnovers and their own offensive rebounds.
In the first half, Reinhardt held a slight advantage in points off turnovers at 15-14. The offensive rebound category was close as well, but went to the Skyhawks, 11-10.
UTM held a brief 30-27 lead after two Aaron Ferrell free throws with 3:48 remaining in the half, but Shae Blair tied the score with a three-pointer and Tyler Clevenger made one of two free throws to send the teams to the locker rooms at the end of the first half with Reinhardt ahead, 31-30.
The Skyhawks bettered the Eagles both from the free-throw line and from the floor, hitting 67 percent of their free-throw attempts and 38 percent of their field goals.
“Reinhardt is a talented team,” Coach Campbell said. “They will have a very good season at their level.”
The Eagles began the second half by extending the lead to 35-30 before the Skyhawks rallied to tie the score at 35.
“The difference was we played more inspired in the second half,” Campbell said.
The teams battled back and forth throughout the early part of the half until Jared Newson hit a jumper with 11:20 remaining to give the Skyhawks the lead for good, 54-52.
On the very next play, Jason Thompson came up with a blocked shot on the other end of the floor to preserve the lead.
The Skyhawks led by as many as six points in the final 5:28 until a Jared Newson free throw put them up 84-77 with 13 seconds left in the game.
With a tight score and the clock ticking down under 30 seconds, Newson swatted away a Shae Blair lay-up attempt to preserve the Skyhawks’ lead.
“It was tough, but we wanted to get that bad taste out of our mouth from the loss at Duke,” UTM center Cleve Woodfork said. “We were happy to get the chance to get back on the court within 48 hours.”
Newson and Bullock each made seven free throws in the game. The Skyhawks made 63 percent of their free throws to 50 percent for the Eagles. Along with his 21 points, Newson pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double. Marcus Ford led the team with seven assists. Earl Bullock made four of UTM’s five three-pointers in the game. The Eagles connected on 10 long- range attempts.
Although he was pleased with his team’s win, Coach Campbell emphasized that they still have work to do in preparation for their upcoming schedule.
“I was encouraged by our 19 offensive rebounds, but we need to limit teams to 10 offensive rebounds, maximum. We gave them 16 offensive rebounds. You win championships by defending and rebounding. It’s nice to score, but we cannot outscore everybody every night,” Campbell said.UTM vs. Illinois State
The Skyhawks dropped their second “money game” of the season Saturday afternoon against the Redbirds of Illinois State, 80-51.
ISU went on a 17-4 run in the first half. Despite cutting the Redbirds lead to five with just over eight minutes left before the break, the Skyhawks trailed 38-23 going into the second half.
The Redbirds once again went on a high scoring run against UTM early in the second, putting 13 points on the board to the Skyhawks three.
The Skyhawks were 13-17 from the line, and had an overall field goal percentage of .288. They only managed to hit 4-13 from three point range, however.
Junior forward Jared Newson put up his second double double of the season, scoring 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior center Jason Thompson and senior guard Earl Bullock each had eight points on the night with eight and four rebounds, respectively.
The Skyhawks are now 1-2 on the season. They look ahead to Monday night’s game against the Bobcats of Bethel University at home.
The team will then start a five game road stint facing Evansville, Arkansas State, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Portland State and Ole Miss.