EKU surprised by UT-Martin, 72-65

MARTIN, Tenn. – A poor shooting night doomed the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team in a 72-65 loss at Tennessee-Martin on Thursday. The Colonels shot 35 percent from the field, 32 percent from three-point range and 54 percent from the free throw line.

Junior Glenn Cosey made his return after missing the last six games. He finished with 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field, including 6-of-14 from three-point range. Mike DiNunno had 14 points and seven assists but made just 5-of-18 attempts and 3-of-13 from behind the arc.

A three-pointer and two free throws by Terence Smith gave the Skyhawks (6-16, 3-7 OVC) a seven-point lead, 66-59, with only 1:29 left in the game, but the Colonels (16-6, 6-3 OVC) didn’t go down without a fight.

Tarius Johnson hit a three with 41 seconds to go to get the deficit to four. After UTM made only 1-of-2 free throws at its end, Cosey knocked down a trey to close the gap to two, 67-65, with 32 seconds remaining. Dee Oldham converted a pair at the stripe to push UT Martin ahead by four.

Johnson finished with 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Cosey’s three-pointer just missed, but the Skyhawks missed twice at the free throw line. Corey Walden then missed a lay-up that would have made it a two-point game. UTM missed one and made one at the line for a five-point lead with 10 seconds left. The Colonels had two three-point attempts in the closing seconds but missed on both.

Myles Taylor led all players with 21 points and 14 rebounds for Tennessee-Martin. He went 11-for-13 at the free throw line. The Skyhawks out-scored Eastern 28-7 at the charity stripe and out-rebounded the visitors by 25.

EKU attempted 38 shots from behind the arc, hitting on 12 and were 23-for-65 from the field. The Colonels turned it over only five times, compared to 14 for UT Martin.

Eastern Kentucky concludes its two-game OVC West Division road trip at Southeast Missouri on Saturday. Tip-off at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.

*Eastern Kentucky is ranked 19th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25. Belmont is ranked fifth.

*EKU had lost the turnover battle in each of its previous three games but committed nine fewer turnovers than the Skyhawks.

*Tennessee-Martin entered the game allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent from the field. Eastern made only 35 percent of its shots.

*Sophomore Corey Walden entered the game having made 55-of-58 attempts (94.8 percent) from the free throw line. He went 2-for-2 against UT Martin.

*Eastern Kentucky leads the all-time series 24-16 and is 8-12 against the Skyhawks in Martin.

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