UTM upsets EKU
UTM's men's basketball team pulled a major upset last night when they beat Eastern Kentucky University 72-65. The win has given the team the faith they need to go into the next three home games.
The Skyhawks went into the game with a record of 2-7 in the OVC standings. The Colonels were 6-2 and were favored to win the game. The Skyhawks met the colonels at half court for the tipoff. EKU went on a 7-0 run in the beginning of the game. It seemed the Skyhawks were going to allow the Colonels to run all over them. Luckily, something clicked and the Skyhawks began fighting back.
Through the whole game, the Skyhawks switched from man-to-man to 2-3 zone defense many times. These styles of defense helped the Skyhawks keep the Colonels from shooting on the inside. After Mike DiNunno hit a couple of 3-point shots, the Skyhawks knew where to look.
For a short while it was a battle between Mike and Mike. Mike DiNunno would hit a three and Mike Liabo would answer with one of his own. But Liabo was not the only Skyhawk who stepped up his game.
Freshmen Dee Oldham and BJ McLaughlin are usually sent in when the Skyhawks need a major play. Oldham and junior Terence Smith work well together because they know where each other is at all times. It could be described as a connection that the fans do not see but feel. On the other hand, McLaughlin and Liabo have the same connection. They can just find each other on the court.
These connections were good for the Skyhawks because when the Colonels were guarding Liabo, Myles Taylor, or Smith, Oldham and McLaughlin would sneak in and make the goal.
Even though they were on the low end of the scoring range, they pulled off a few major plays. With 12:58 left to play in the first half, Marcus Lewis stole the ball from Justin Childs and went in for a layup. McLaughlin caught him at the goal and blocked the shot. The ball got stuck between the rim and the backboard.
The Skyhawks held the Colonels. The game tied eight times and the lead changed 12 times. The Skyhawks played with renewed vigor and passion, even going so far as to getting the fans excited. With the fans at their back, the Skyhawks pulled away to a 72-65 victory.
The leading scorer of the games was Myles Taylor with a double-double of 21 points, 14 rebounds, one steal and one assist. Mike Liabo was the runner up with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. Third place belonged to Jeremy Washington with 12 points and seven rebounds. Freshmen Dee Oldham and BJ McLaughlin are not freshmen anymore. Oldham secured four points and six rebounds. McLaughlin had six points, four rebounds, one steal and two assists.
The Skyhawks continue with a three-game home stand. They will take on Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Elam Center at 7 p.m. To follow the game, follow The Pacer on Facebook and Twitter, @thepacer.
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