The Martin Men Punish Visiting Vikings

UT Martin (3-1) defeated Cleveland State (1-2), 85-74, Friday night.

Javier Martinez lead all scorers with 23 points and 14 rebounds.  Both are career highs for the senior forward.  Kedar Edwards scored 17 eventful points and tied his career high of seven assists.

Cleveland State found some fire early second half.  Credit the Vikings.  They could have packed it in for the night, down by an embarrassing 27-point margin at halftime.

With some forced turnovers and made baskets the Vikings made UT Martin keep playing.  The first ten minutes of the second half witnessed just 10 UT Martin points.  10.  Dumb passes and timid offense puiled on top of careless possessions and lackluster defense.  During the bleak, dystopian second half everything fell apart.  The UT Martin coaching staff looked like somebody shot their collective dog.   Head Coach Stewart lost his jacket and nearly his patience.  Nearly.

That old adage, a pressuring team doesn’t like pressure applied.

UT Martin committed 16 turnovers in the second half.  In a word it was…ugly.

“We made a decision to go a little bit smaller and use a zone,” said Cleveland State Associate Head Coach  Larry DeSimpelare.

Javier Martinez had a wonderful first half.  He scored a game-high 13 points and collected an incredible 9 rebounds.  Javier excels against shorter front lines.  His quick release works around the tin.

He ran the floor too.  Martinez had a career night from the field and on the glass.  For a 6-foot-7 player to so thoroughly dominate the paint, at the D1 level, speaks to the activity of Martinez and the size deficiency of both teams.

He gets the ball from his waist up to the rim as fast as anybody in the conference.

More than last year, Kedar Edwards is emotionally invested every play.  He is vocal. He is a leader.  He is connected with his coach.

Mobley had fun.  He broke down a physical defense repeatedly.  Mobley found the bottom of the net, but more importantly spotted a few open teammates.  The Mississippian must elevate his career-high five assist tally this season for the team to reach its full potential.

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