MARTIN, Tenn. – UT Martin overcame a halftime deficit to defeat SIUE 75-67 Saturday night at the Elam Center.
SIUE fell to 0-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 5-16 overall. UT Martin improved to 14-8 overall and 4-3 in the OVC.
The Cougars enjoyed as much as a five-point lead during the first 20 minutes Saturday and led 37-35 at the break.
UT Martin opened the second half on a 12-2 run to lead 47-39. They Skyhawks never trailed again.
"We did a really good job in the first half, defensively," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "They were off-balance. Now you give them a little confidence early in the half and then they make some big shots late."
The Cougars scored the next six points to pull within two at 47-45, but it was as close as SIUE would get.
"We have to find a way to start halves better," Harris said. "Whether we make a run at them or not. At that point they have momentum."
The Skyhawks got up by as many as 13 points when Matthew Butler hit a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left to make it 73-60.
Tre Harris led SIUE in scoring for the second consecutive night. Harris scored 18 points on six-for-15 shooting. He was 5-13 from beyond the arc, giving him 12 three-pointers over the last two games.
"He does a good job moving and his teammates do a good job finding him and obviously he can make shots," Coach Harris said of Tre. "For the most part he isn't taking bad shots."
Jalen Henry chipped in 17 points and six rebounds.
"(Jalen) has struggled for two or three games," Harris added. "For him to come back with 17 and six and three offensive rebounds is big. It's hard in the zone, we didn't get the ball to him at the level I would have liked."
Keenan Simmons added 10 points.
The Cougars knocked down a season-high 83 percent of their free throws, connecting on 20 of 24 attempts.
"We did a great job (at the foul line)," Harris said. "We've done a good job of getting fouled all year. We haven't consistently made them. Today 20 out of 24 is a really good number."
Jacolby Mobley led UT Martin with 18 points. Butler scored 14. Both players were 3-8 from beyond the three-point arc.
SIUE returns home for a Wednesday matchup with Tennessee State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game is the first of three games in six days for the Cougars who will travel to Eastern Illinois and Belmont in the stretch.
"We have to stay with a positive mind set because we are right there," Harris said. "As bad as the record is, we've been in games. We were in this game tonight."