APSU Men’s Basketball
Close games almost guaranteed when Governors and Eagles battle
Morehead, KY – If it is Austin Peay and Morehead State, a close game almost is assured.
Three of the last four games have been decided in overtime, including the December 21st battle won by the Govs, 86-85, in Clarksville. Last year’s game at Ellis T. Johnson Arena was decided in overtime. That will be the site of Saturday’s 6:15 pm clash.
Morehead State enters the Ohio Valley Conference game with momentum after bouncing back from last Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Eastern Kentucky. The Eagles came right back with a key road victory at Ball State and then came from behind to defeat Tennessee State, 72-65, Thursday night.
When talking about defeated Morehead State it starts with the nation’s leading rebounder, Kenneth Faried, who is averaging 14.2 rpg to go with 17.1 ppg. He is coming off a dominating 23-point, 23-rebound effort against Tennessee State. He is averaging 15.5 rpg during league play. He was the recent subject of a Sports Illustrated feature.
But the Governors also will have a conscience eye focused on 6-4 guard Demonte Harper, who had 34 points against the Governors back in December. He is averaging 15.9 ppg, shooting 40.6 percent from three-point territory. Harper has connected on 41 three pointers this season as has guard Terrance Hill.
After the Eagles recent stumble against Eastern Kentucky, Drew Kelly was inserted into the starting lineup. The 6-8 grandson of the late Lake Kelly, the former Governors head coach, Drew Kelly is averaging 5.0 ppg and 3.9 rpg since satisfying transfer rules in early December.
The Governors, meanwhile, currently sit alone atop the OVC at 8-2 in the OVC and 14-8 overall. They are coming off a 61-52 victory at Eastern Kentucky, Thursday night, which saw the Govs open the second half on an 11-0 run to erase a six-point halftime deficit. The contest was a grind-it-out half-court affair that saw the Govs defense clamp down on the Colonels in the second half.
John Fraley scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds while forward Josh Terry also had 14 points to go with six assists and four steals.
It was APSU’s seventh road victory this season.
What You Should Know
The Series: This is the 99th meeting between the two Ohio Valley Conference rivals, Austin Peay and Morehead State, with the Governors holding a slight lead, 50-48. The Governors have won the last two games, claiming both by one point. In January 31st, 2010, the Govs defeated the Eagles, 56-55, on a Justin Blake game-winning three pointer. Then in December, Josh Terry hit a reverse layup with 0.7 seconds in overtime off to lift the Govs to an 86-85 decision.
What A Win Would Mean: The Govs would rise to seven games above the .500 mark at 15-8 before facing UT Martin, Thursday night. It would give the Govs a three game winning streak. It would make the Govs 9-2 in the OVC. It would assure the Govs first place in the OVC. It would allow the Govs to finish January at 6-2. It would give the Govs an 8-5 road record. It would give the Govs a 6-1 OVC road record. It would snap Morehead State’s two-game winning streak. It would give APSU a 51-48 overall lead in the series. It also would be Dave Loos’ 428th career college coaching win and 346th APSU victory, leaving his four shy of 350 league victories. It would improve Dave Loos to 27-17 all-time against Morehead State. It also would improve Loos to 5-6 all-time against Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall.
What A Loss Would Mean: The Govs would drop back to five games above the .500 mark at 14-9. It would drop APSU to 8-3 in the OVC. It would snap APSU’s two-game winning streak in the series. It would allow Morehead State to split the regular-season series. It would drop APSU to 50-49 all-time in the series. It would be Dave Loos’ 338th all-time loss and 285th APSU defeat.
Defensive Lock Down: Eastern Kentucky scored only 21 points in the second half, Thursday night, the fewest second-half total by a Govs’ opponent this season. In fact, Eastern Kentucky had only eight second-half field goals, matching UT Martin’s eight second-half field goals, January 10th, for the fewest field goals made. EKU also shot just 38.1 percent from the floor (8 of 21) in the final half.
Magic Number: When Austin Peay defeated Eastern Kentucky, 61-52, it was the 12th time this season APSU held the opponent to fewer than 70 points. The Governors are 12-0 in those games.
On The Rebound: After being outrebounded in seven straight contests by Division I opponents, the Governors dominated Eastern Kentucky, 37-24 on the boards, Thursday night. It was the first time since the Govs defeated Eastern Kentucky on December 18th they out-rebounded its opponent. The Govs, in fact, out-rebounded EKU 19-9 in the second half and failed to allow an offensive carom in the half.