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APSU vs. Murray State: OVC’s best rivalry renewed for ESPNU audience

 

APSU Men’s Basketball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsMurray, KY – Since 1987 either Austin Peay or Murray State–or both–have appeared in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship game.

As a result, it is no coincidence ESPN The Magazine has called the Austin Peay-Murray State rivalry the OVC’s best. And it’s no coincidence the OVC/ESPNU television package will open with those two teams playing 11:00am, Saturday, in the CFSB Center in Murray, with first place at stake.

APSU Governors Basketball (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

APSU Governors Basketball (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

The Racers are defending OVC regular-season and conference tourney champions, literally having swept to the title a year ago with a 17-1 league record en route to a 31-5 overall mark. With three starters back–and all three (B.J. Jenkins, Isaiah Canaan and Ivan Aska) being named Preseason All-OVC–they were the overwhelming choice to repeat as league champions.

However, it is the Governors off to the early OVC lead, sporting a 4-0 record that includes a pair of road wins (Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois) and two home  verdicts (Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State). In doing so, the Governors, picked fourth in the OVC preseason poll, already have knocked off two teams (Morehead State and Eastern Illinois) picked to finish ahead of them.

TyShwan EdmondsonSince losing to Morehead State, 75-65, December 4th, the Racers have reeled off six straight victories, including Thursday night’s impressive 64-53 win against Tennessee State that pushed their overall record to 10-4. They enter Saturday with 25 straight home wins, the fifth longest home streak in Division I. Nine players are averaging more than 10 minutes per game but it is still guards Canaan (11.9 ppg) and Jenkins (10.4 ppg) along with forward Aska (9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) leading the way.

Meanwhile, the Govs are coming off an impressive home victory, Monday night, against an overwhelmed Chattanooga. The first meeting between the Govs and Mocs in Chattanooga was won with a last-second shot.

Caleb BrownWhen Monday’s final seconds ticked off, many fans already were on their way home as the Governors built an 18-point halftime advantage en route to a 89-57 victory.

TyShwan Edmondson recorded his third straight 20-point outing with a game-high 23 points while Josh Terry added 16 points and seven rebounds, with John Fraley offering his season’s second double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, senior point guard Caleb Brown dished out 10 assists, tallying APSU’s first double-digit assist effort since the 2008 season.

What You Should Know

The Series:

This is the 113th meeting between the two Ohio Valley Conference rivals, Austin Peay and Murray State, with the Governors trailing, 72-40. The Racers won both meetings a year ago, 69-53, January 9th, 2010, in Clarksville, and a controversial 65-63 buzzer-beater decision in Murray, February 6th. Previous to last year’s Murray sweep, Austin Peay had won four straight in the series. APSU owns a 11-10 lead in the series since 2000-01.

Deeper Meanings

What A Win Would Mean:

  • The Govs would rise five games above the .500 mark at 11-6 before heading to UT Martin, Monday.
  • It would extend the Govs season-best winning streak to five games.
  • It would be APSU’s first 5-0 OVC start since the 2007-08 team opened at 6-0.
  • It would give the Govs a 2-0 record in January.
  • It would give the Govs a 5-4 road record.
  • It would give the Govs a 3-0 OVC road record.
  • It would snap a two-game losing streak in the series.
  • It also would be Loos’ 424th career college coaching win and 342nd APSU victory.

What A Loss Would Mean:

  • The Govs would drop back to three games above the .500 mark at 10-7.
  • It would snap the Govs winning streak at four games.
  • It would be the Govs’ first OVC road defeat.
  • It would be the Govs’ third straight loss in the series.
  • It would drop APSU to 40-73 all-time in the series.
  • It would be Loos’ 336th all-time loss and 282nd APSU defeat.
  • It would drop Dave Loos to 18-29 all-time against Murray State.
  • It would drop Dave Loos to 5-5 all-time against current Murray State coach Billy Kennedy.

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