UT-Martin 87, Tennessee Tech 80

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 09, 2013
Rickiesha Bryant scored the first five points of overtime, and Tennessee Martin beat Tennessee Tech 87-80 Saturday for its third straight Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Tennessee Martin (19-14) has won eight straight overall. The Skyhawks beat Tennessee Tech for the sixth time in their series, including each of the last three tournament title games. Tennessee Tech (19-12) snapped a four-game winning streak after being unable to finish off the Skyhawks in the final seconds of regulation after leading 72-69. Jasmine Newsome scored 34 points in setting an OVC tournament record with 98 points in three games. Heather Butler added 24, and Bryant finished hitting all eight of her shots and all four free throws while also grabbing 12 rebounds. The Skyhawks trailed 72-71 after a pair of free throws by Chelsey Hall with 12.1 seconds left in regulation and needed to foul Tennessee Tech four times to send the Golden Eagles to the free throw line. They managed to do just that, putting Lashay Davis on the line with 9.2 seconds left. She hit the first, missed the second, and Tennessee Martin got the rebound. Newsome tied it up with her layup with 2.3 seconds left. The Golden Eagles tried to beat the buzzer, but the ball came nowhere near the bucket. Jala Harris led Tennessee Tech with 19 points. Davis had 15, Diamond Henderson added 14 before fouling out, Molly Heady had 12 and Kylie Cook 11. Tennessee Martin, the OVC's top-scoring team, wound up outshooting Tennessee Tech, hitting 48.4 percent (31 of 64) from the floor and making 18 of 19 from the foul line. The Golden Eagles shot 40.8 percent (29 of 71), including 31.7 percent from beyond the arc where they were 13 of 41. Bryant scored with 4:45 to go in overtime to put Tennessee Martin ahead to stay. The senior added a three-point play for a 78-73 lead with 1:52 left. Tennessee Martin wound up outscoring Tennessee Tech 14-7 in overtime, hitting all seven free throws. The Skyhawks' fans started chanting ''Three-peat'' as Butler and Newsome took turns hitting free throws in the final seconds for the win. Tennessee Martin led 45-38 at halftime. When Bryant scored with 8:09 left, that put the Skyhawks up 65-58. Then Harris hit three straight 3-pointers to start a 15-8 run for Tennessee Tech, and Davis's 3 with 4:04 remaining gave the Golden Eagles their first lead since midway through the first half at 18-17. But the Golden Eagles managed only the lone free throw by Davis after Heady's layup with 3:01 left put them up 72-69.
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