MOREHEAD, Ky. — Three players scored in double figures, and the Morehead State men’s basketball team took a big first-half lead before falling behind and rallying early in the second half to defeat UT Martin 64-58 Saturday at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles, who swept the Ohio Valley Conference weekend at home, improved to 8-7 overall and 2-1 in the league. The Skyhawks saw their seven-game winning streak snapped and fell to 9-8 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“That team (UTM) is tough, they really battled us. But, I’m so proud of our guys because they fought back,” said Head Coach Sean Woods. “We made it interesting because we struggled at the free throw line, but the main thing is we won the game.”
Junior guard Corban Collins registered a team-best 13 points, added five assists and nabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Brent Arrington totaled 12 points, a career-high seven assists and a season-best seven rebounds. Freshman forward Lamontray Harris provided a crucial boost off the bench, scoring 10 of his career-high 11 points in the second half while also grabbing a career-best six boards.
MSU shot 40 percent overall (24-of-60) but made only 9-of-20 free throws.
Junior forward Ronnye Beamon also gave his team a spark off the bench, notching nine points and corralling a career-best six rebounds. Morehead State, which leads the OVC in rebounding margin and ranks 14th in the nation in offensive boards, won the rebounding battle, 54-38, while securing 18 on the offensive end. Junior forward DeJuan Marrero and senior front-court man Anthony Elechi each brought down 10 rebounds. The Eagles outscored the Skyhawks 14-4 on second-chance opportunities.
“When Miguel (Dicent) went down, I told our guys that someone has to step up. I’m so proud of Ronnye because he’s been struggling a little bit, and Lamontray has been too, but they both stepped up and played so well tonight and came up big time.”
Morehead State went into the locker room at the half with a 28-22 lead as both teams struggled offensively. The Eagles shot 34 percent but limited the Skyhawks to just 22 percent shooting.
Early in the opening half, MSU went on a 9-0 run to build a 15-6 lead. UT Martin had a stretch where it went 6:15 without scoring, and the Skyhawks started out the half shooting just 2-of-20.
At 31-30 with 17:33 to go in the game, UTM took its first lead since 2-0. The visitors built as much as a 40-34 cushion with 14:26 left, but Harris ignited a 12-2 run with a jumper, and capped it with a free throw at 9:01 to push the hosts ahead 46-42. MSU never trailed again, going on to lead by six three times.
UTM forward Twymond Howard paced all players with 22 points and 14 rebounds. The visitors made just 6-of-25 three-point attempts, while the Eagles connected on seven triples. MSU limited UTM to 31 percent accuracy overall (20-of-64).
MSU is on the road next weekend at SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois. The road swing begins with a 9 p.m. ET matchup Thursday at SIUE.