In their first road trip since January 29th, the UT Martin basketball teams traveled up to Edwardsville, Illinois to play the SIUE Cougars. The women's team was able to put together one of their most impressive performances of the season, winning 83-64. However, the men's team saw their four-game winning streak come to a close as SIUE powered past the Skyhawks, 89-75.
Five players were in double figures as UT Martin (9-12, 6-5 OVC) forced 26 turnovers to rout SIUE (6-16, 5-6 OVC) in Edwardsville. Shae Littleford (20), Josie Story (17), Sharneece Currie-Jelks (13), Paige Pipkin (12), and Lexi Rubel (11) exploded for arguably the most complete game UT Martin has been able to put together all year.
OVC Player of the Year hopeful and SIUE forward Ajulu Thata scored 19 points and brought down 14 rebounds, but that wasn't enough to overcome a 3-14 day from behind the three-point line. On the year Thata averages 18 PPG and 10.5 RPG in conference play.
UT Martin made a season-high 48% of their threes on 12-15 shooting from beyond the arch. The Skyhawks dominated in the points off of turnovers category, winning 33-13.
SIUE (15-9, 6-5) got off to a 23-4 run to start the game and that was enough to propel the Cougars to their first win since January 14th. UT Martin guard Parker Stewart was out for the second time in three games and his absence hurt the Skyhawk offense. UT Martin (15-9, 7-4 OVC) shot 40% from the field and just 22% from three.
The Skyhawks were able to cut the Cougar lead down to 11 with 2:24 left in the first half but SIUE ignited for 11 unanswered points to take a 49-27 lead at the break. UT Martin had four players in double figures with Jordan Sears (19), KJ Simon (13), Desmond Williams (10), and Jalen Myers (10).
Cougar guard Ray'Sean Taylor (27 points, 10 rebounds) and forward DeeJuan Pruitt (11 points, 13 rebounds) spearheaded the attack for SIUE. The Cougars shot 50% from the floor and connected on 18 of their 26 free throws.
UT Martin will remain on the road when they travel to Saint Charles, Missouri to square off with the Lindenwood Lions. The women's game will start at 1, with the men tipping off at 3:30.