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UT Martin stops Tech 71-62 despite big games from Murphy, Northern

MARTIN, Tenn. – Freshman Kevin Murphy scored a career-high 23 points and senior Daniel Northern notched his ninth double-double of the season with 13 points and 17 rebounds, but their big efforts weren’t quite enough.

UT Martin got 33 points and 11 rebounds from Lester Hudson, 17 from Marquis Weddle and 11 from Reuben Clayton to hold off Tennessee Tech, 71-62, Saturday night in an Ohio Valley Conference contest.

The Golden Eagles (11-15/5-11 OVC) led for most of the first half, despite a nearly six-minute scoring draught, and had a three-point lead with 10:48 to go in the game.

An 11-2 run by the Skyhawks erased Tech’s 45-43 lead, and put the home team on top by six with six minutes to play. The Skyhawks went 9-for-9 from the free throw line to hold onto their lead and improve to 18-6 overall and 11-3 in the OVC.

Tech bolted on top quickly, took a 7-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Frank Davis at the 17:40 mark. The Golden Eagles built their lead to double figures on two free throws by Murphy with 12:50 to go in the half, and took it up to 13 on two more charity tosses from Murphy.

Up 23-10 with 12:05 to play, Tech didn’t score another point for nearly six minutes, but still held the lead after the Skyhawks used a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to 23-19 with 6:36 remaining.

Tech’s lead went back to seven points, before an 8-0 UTM run tied the game at 30-30 with 3:04 remaining. The Golden Eagles were up by two, 35-33, at halftime as Davis hit another 3-pointer.

Tied twice in the first seven minutes, the Golden Eagles were up 43-41 after Will Barnes hit a layup with 10:48 remaining. The Skyhawks tied the game for the fifth time at 45-45, and then zoomed on top by six with baskets by Olajide Hay, Clayton and Lester for a 51-45 lead.

A three-point play by Hudson with 3:58 to play gave UT Martin a nine-point lead, 61-52. The Golden Eagles pulled to within four on a layup by Murphy with 1:03 to go, and again when Northern hit two free throws with 45 seconds left, but Tech could get no closer as the Skyhawks hit their free throws.

Murphy was 11-for-12 at the free throw line on the way to his 23 points. He also had five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Northern had 13 points, 17 rebounds, two steals and five blocked shots.

Hudson, who went 2-for-11 from long range, finished the game 13-for-29 from the field on his way to 33 points. He also had four assists and three steals. Delrico Lane had five steals and five assists along with six points and five rebounds.

Tech returns home to Eblen Center Thursday night for an 8 p.m. nationally televised game against Tennessee State. It’s the final home game of the year for the Golden Eagles, who will recognize the team’s seniors between games of the doubleheader.

For tickets, visit the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.