Senior guard Marshun Newell led the University of Tennessee to a 75-73 overtime win over the Eastern men’s basketball team
Thursday at Lantz Arena.
Junior forward Twymond Howard converted on a put-back attempt from an offensive rebound coming off a missed lay-up by senior guard Deville Smith with four seconds left that proved to be the game-winner.
Howard had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Newell scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and overtime. He was 9-of-17 from the floor in 45 minutes of action.
Tennessee-Martin (17-9) out-rebounded the Panthers (15-12) 46-21 for the night which Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour said was one of biggest problems his team had tonight.
“We got caught standing a lot,” Spoonhour said. “We stood and watched them rebound the ball.”
Newell scored nine of the last 17 points in the game for the Skyhawks including a free throw in overtime giving them the lead which, Eastern would never regain.
The Skyhawks started off the game on a 13-0 scoring run in the first half led by junior forward Twymond Howard who closed out the half with eight points and five rebounds.
“We’ve had two games in a row now where we just started and were heavy legged,” Spoonhour said.
Tennessee-Martin connected on more than 45 percent of its shots in the first half including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Dylan Chatman hit a three-point shot that gave the Panthers their first points of the game. Eastern went on to follow that shot with a scoring run of its own.
Junior guard LeTrell Viser hit a three-point shot that capped off a 13-2 run for Eastern and brought the team two points of the Skyhawks. Olivier tied the game at 26 points with an offensive rebound and tip-in off a miss by junior forward Trae Anderson.
Olivier played 36 minutes in his second game back from being out with sickness. He finished the game with a season-high 25 points along with seven rebounds and six blocks.
“I’ll take the win over anything,” Olivier said. “I’d rather have nine points in a win over whatever numbers I had tonight in a loss.”
Spoonhour said having Olivier back is great especially on the offensive end, but was more concerned with the Panthers’ defense.
“We have to do a whole lot right on the defensive end,” Spoonhour said. “We have to be really smart and really tough. We have to do it all the time.”
Freshman guard Cornell Johnston finished the game with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point line to go with six assists for the Panthers.
Johnston hit his fifth three-point shot of the game with 46 seconds left to play in overtime and tying the game.
A defensive stop by the Panthers followed by a loose ball going out of bounds off senior guard Reggie Smith allowed the Skyhawks to use all but three of the last 46 seconds to try for a game winning shot.
“It was a tough one,” Spoonhour said. “It was a big game for both of us and (UT-Martin) went and got it.”
The Panthers are now 8-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference while Tennessee-Martin improved to 9-4 in conference play after its victory Thursday night.
Eastern plays its last home game Sunday against Southeast Missouri State University before heading to Murray, KY to face the conference’s top team of Murray State University.
Jehad Abbed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]