Twymond Howard Hits Last-Second Jumper to Lift UT-Martin Skyhawks to First Win of 2015-16

Twymond Howard hit a three-pointer with 3 seconds left to break the tie and lift the UT-Martin Skyhawks to their first win of the season, a 75 - 72 decision over James Madison.
Twymond Howard hit a three-pointer with 6 seconds left to break the tie and lift the UT-Martin Skyhawks to their first win of the season, a 75 – 72 decision over James Madison.

On the heels of a successful 2014-15 season, the Tennessee-Martin (UTM) Skyhawks have found themselves on the wrong end of some close game to open the 2015-16 campaign. Three of their four losses have come by 7 points or less, including a four-point defeat at the hands of Oral Roberts.

Sunday night brought forth another opportunity for the Skyhawks to take home their first victory of the season, this time taking on the James Madison Dukes. The trend of close-games would continue, as the game was tied with under 10 seconds to go.

On Sunday, the Skyhawks would come out on the right side of the final score, thanks to some late-game heroics from their star senior.

Twymond Howard hit a clutch three-pointer with less than 6 seconds left on the clock, and the Skyhawks scored a big road win over the Dukes, 78 – 75.

From the outset of the game, the Skyhawks were focused on ending their losing streak and coming out on top. They opened the game with an 11 – 1 run, making four straight field goals in the process. A three-pointer from Chandler Rowe at the 17:32 mark prompted a timeout from the Dukes, as the hosts were looking to stop the run by the Skyhawks.

The timeout wouldn’t serve its purpose, as the Dukes were held to just three points over the first six-plus minutes of the game. UTM stretched their lead to 17 – 3.

With the game in danger of slipping through their hands before the halfway point of the opening half, the Dukes started to chip at the lead. While they started to make noise on offense, their defense had no answer for the Skyhawks on the other end of the floor.

That was until the 4:49 mark, when a layup from Winston Grays III ignited a 10 – 0 run to cut the deficit to just 6 points. Both teams would trade baskets down the stretch, and a three-pointer from Ron Curry just before the buzzer kept the Dukes within 6 at the break.

UTM held a 37 – 31 lead at the break, and were in good position moving forward as they looked for their first win.

If James Madison wanted to get back into the game, the first five minutes were going to be crucial. The Dukes came out with a heightened level of intensity, and eliminated the Skyhawks’ lead. At the 15:22 mark, a Joey McLean three pointer tied the game at 46-all.

As the second half wore on, the teams would constantly swap the lead as neither team was able to build a consistent level of momentum on the offensive end of the floor.

With just 21 seconds left, Curry made a layup for the Dukes to get the game all tied up at 75. Curry was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw, and Twymond Howard grabbed the rebound for UTM. The Skyhawks had the ball and had the option of taking the last shot in the game, putting themselves in a great position to notch their first win of the year.

On this night, the Skyhawks wouldn’t be denied of a win. With just 6 seconds on the clock, Howard hit a clutch three pointer to put UTM ahead, 78 – 75. A missed three pointer from Joey McLean sealed the Dukes’ fate, and the game was over.

The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks came away with a hard-fought 78 – 75 victory over James Madison Dukes for their first victory of the year.

Jacolby Mobley led the way for the Skyhawks on Sunday afternoon, scoring a team-high 16 points in the win. Chandler Rowe added in 14 points as four different players scored in double-figures.

Twymond Howard was held to just 5 points on the day, but he came up clutch with his three pointer in the dying seconds to secure the victory.

For James Madison, guard Ron Curry scored a game-high 21 points in a losing effort. Jackson Kent added in 9 points, and Joey McLean added 8 points of his own.

Tennessee-Martin (1 – 4) put an end to their four-game losing streak, and will be looking to keep the winning moving along to close out the month of November. The Skyhawks return home on Wednesday night to take on non-Division I opponent Harris Stowe.

As for the James Madison Dukes (2 – 3), the loss marks their second straight defeat. They will remain at home, inside the JMU Convocation Center, to take on non-Division I opponent East Mennonite on Tuesday night.

– T.B.