The men’s basketball team’s game last week broke their losing streak with their game against the University of Tennessee at Martin. Redshirt junior guard Shamar Wright scored the 1,000th point of his career during the game.

At the start of the game, the team opted to open without their usual center, sophomore Jonathan Kurtas. The team still immediately took possession of the ball. After a missed layup from redshirt sophomore forward DeeJuan Pruitt, redshirt junior forward Lamar Wright rebounded the ball back to Pruitt. After his second attempt, Pruitt scored the first basket of the game.

A few minutes later, Pruitt scored another basket, which was followed by another from UT Martin. However, keeping up the pressure, Pruitt scored a 3-pointer, assisted by redshirt sophomore guard Ray’Sean Taylor.

Despite a possible opening for a 3-pointer from Taylor, he took the option to pass it to Shamar Wright in the paint, who scored a basket.

Before the end of the first five minutes of the game, SIUE firmly had the lead in its hands, with a score of 14-4. 

Shamar Wright was knocked to the ground by UT Martin’s defenses while trying to shoot a 3-pointer. He made two of the three shots at the foul line.

After a short defensive gridlock between the teams, with neither being able to score a basket, Shamar Wright broke the tension with a slam dunk at 12:57. This triumphant moment was his 1,00oth point. And, eager to keep the pressure up, he scored a jump shot off the backboard not even a half minute later.

The teams came back from a UT Martin timeout, and UT Martin quickly scored a basket, and two shots at the foul line. Kurtas, who had entered the game earlier, scored his first basket of the game, bringing the score to 25-8. UT Martin was beginning to make some progress.

The rest of the half continued with UT Martin almost closing the gap between the scores. As the game approached 5:00, Pruitt, Taylor and Shamar Wright all tried for 3-pointers but were unable to score. With four minutes remaining in the first half, the score was 21-34.

Jumping forward, with two minutes left, UT Martin had stopped SIUE’s momentum, but the scores were 27-40. SIUE had maintained a 13-point lead. In the final two minutes of the first half, UT Martin scored no baskets, and Taylor scored two layups, a 3-pointer and a shot at the foul line.

At the start of the second half, the score was 49-27. Sophomore guard Damarco Minor charged toward the basket with the ball, but suddenly stopped and scored the first basket of the final half at 19:20. After this, within 30 seconds, Taylor scored two different layups in the paint for SIUE.

A defensive rebound from Shamar Wright gave Minor a chance to run up to the basket for a 2-pointer inside the defense. UT Martin scored a basket of their own after this, as well as a 3-pointer, but an assist from Taylor gave redshirt sophomore guard Desmond Polk a clean basket. The score was now 69-46.

From 10:40 until 9:10, the only points scored were at the foul line by either team, but UT Martin broke this streak with a basket. Taylor scored two more shots at the foul line at 8:52, and UT Martin attempted a turnover. However, Polk stole the ball and ran down the court for a dunk.

At 7:53, Taylor scored a basket of his own, despite a hit to the head from UT Martin’s defense. And, thanks to a pass from sophomore forward Terrance Thompson, graduate student guard Jalen Hodge scored a basket as well, bringing the score to 81-57. Despite a few plays from UT Martin, SIUE’s lead stayed strong.

Despite standing amid UT Martin’s defense, Polk scored another dunk for SIUE at 5:00. From 4:50 until 1:30, UT Martin kept up a scoring streak, uninterrupted by SIUE. Kurtas put a stop to this at 1:22, with an easy drop-in on the basket.

UT Martin began another scoring streak after this, but Taylor stole the ball and scored a slam dunk just before the final 30 seconds of the game. However, he did receive a technical foul as well. Despite a few more tries from UT Martin, the final score of the game was 89-75.

After this game, SIUE beat University of Arkansas at Little Rock in an away game thanks to a 3-pointer from beyond half-court from Taylor on the buzzer. The team’s next home game is 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 against Eastern Illinois University.

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