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Austin Peay set to face nemesis Morehead State in key early-season OVC matchup

APSU Men’s Basketball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Although Murray State is Austin Peay’s acknowledged rival, Morehead State certainly has proven to be its nemesis in recent times.

Those two clubs will square off 7:30pm, Tuesday night in Dave Aaron Arena as  the Governors close out pre-Christmas play with a key Ohio Valley Conference contest.

Until the Governors squeaked out a 56-55 thriller on a Justin Blake three pointer against the Eagles late last January, the Governors had lost four straight in the series, including a double-overtime 67-65 loss in the 2009 OVC title game.

APSU Men's Basketball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)
APSU Men's Basketball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

This Morehead State team, picked to finish second in the preseason OVC poll, comes in smarting from a 70-64 overtime loss at Tennessee State, Sunday. The Eagles are determined not to fall to 2-2 in OVC heading into the 2011 portion of the league schedule, especially after a convincing 75-65 victory against league favorite Murray State earlier this month.

When you have a player such as Kenneth Faried (18.6 ppg), losing streaks are not common. He comes in leading the nation in rebounding (14.0 rpg) and field-goal percentage (64.5 percent) while also owning 22 blocked shots and 28 steals. NBA scouts are flocking to his games, seeing how much the 6-8 senior has improved after pulling his name from last spring’s NBA draft.

Josh TerryBut Faried certainly is not a one-man show. Guard Demonte Harper is averaging 15.5 ppg  while Terrance Hill is averaging 12.7 ppg during league play.

The Eagles also are expecting to get a lift from Drew Kelly, the grandson of the late Lake Kelly who coached APSU to a trio of NCAA tournament appearances. Drew Kelly signed out of Centennial High School with Miami (Ohio) but transferred to Morehead State last winter.

He played in his first game at TSU, scoring three points and grabbing three rebounds.

Melvin BakerMeanwhile, the Governors are coming off an impressive Saturday victory against Eastern Kentucky. The Govs built a 15-point halftime advantage, 40-25, and never looked back, leading by as much as 31 points in the second half.

Josh Terry led the Governors with a career-best 22 points and was equally impressive on the defense end. Meanwhile, fellow forward Melvin Baker added 14 points and eight rebounds for his third-straight solid performance.

APSU limited Eastern Kentucky to just 36.5 percent shoot from the floor.

The Series

This is the 98th meeting between the two Ohio Valley Conference rivals, Austin Peay and Morehead State, with the Governors holding a slight lead, 49-48. The Governors snapped a four-game losing streak in the series a year ago when they defeated the Eagles, 56-55, last January 31st, in Clarksville on a game-winning three pointer by Justin Blake. The Govs lost the season’s previous meeting, January 2nd, 68-65 in overtime.

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