Austin Peay Basketball
Clarksville, TN – Don’t look now, but a familiar name is quietly creeping up the OVC standings.
After starting 0-3 in the conference for the first time in 20 years, Austin Peay evened its conference mark Monday, using timely defense and persistent offense to defeat Tennessee State 69-63 in the Dunn Center.
Facing a decided height advantage against the long and lengthy Tigers, the Govs (6-13, 3-3 OVC) were outrebounded by the Tigers (10-10, 3-4 OVC) 38-29.To counter, the Govs decided to attack the basket and get to the free throw line, converting 17-of-26 attempts to preserve the victory.
“They beat us on the boards pretty bad but we got to the free throw line and that was the difference,” Govs head coach Dave Loos said. “Even though we didn’t make as many as we would have liked, we got there enough to make enough to win the game.”
In a typical slugfest between two schools separated by just 50 miles, the Tigers and Govs traded blows in a first half that saw a total of five lead changes.
At the end of the half, however, it was TSU clinging to a 1-point lead – not the Govs, who commited 13 first-half turnovers.
“We agreed at halftime that we might be the luckiest team in basketball,” Loos said. “It was like starting over and playing a 20-minute game. We played a lot better in those 20 minutes in the second half.”
The Tigers were single-handedly kept in the game by Robert Covington, who entered the game ranked fourth in the OVC in scoring and turned in a career night, scoring 30 points and hauling in 15 rebounds.
The junior, who has garnered looks from NBA scouts over the past few weeks, got started early, scoring 15 points in the first half on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
“We had no one that could guard Covington,” Loos said. “He’s one of the top players in this league for sure and I’m really impressed with his ability to play inside and out on the perimeter. He could be a pro.”
John Fraley and Melvin Baker did their best to wear down the Tigers front line, scoring 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The duo also combined for 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“We needed everything we got,” Loos said. “That’s got to be our focus. We’ve got to pound it inside and get to the free throw line…and they’ve got to make them.”
In addition to the bigs, guards Josh Terry and TyShwan Edmondson were offensive factors, adding 12 and 10 points each.
“This was a team effort,” Fraley said. “There wasn’t one person doing it all. It was the whole team and I think that was evident down the stretch in the second half.”
With the win, the Govs won their third straight game for just the second time this season, matching a run in early December that saw wins over Arkansas State, Tennessee and Rochester.
The win also capped off a perfect homestand for the Govs, who joined Morehead State and SIU-Edwardsville at 3-3 in the conference standings.
“That feels good,” Loos said. “We dare not try to catch our breath because we’ve got to stay focused and on top of what we’re doing.”
Austin Peay Governors at SIU Edwardsville Cougars
7:00pm, Thursday, January 19th
Govs to play newcomer SIUE for first time It has been a long transition for SIU Edwardsville from Division II to Division I. SIUE joined the OVC in 2008, but this is the first season competing as a basketball member. The Cougars got off to a flying start, winning three of their first four OVC games, including an impressive home win against Tennessee Tech.
Jerome Jones (13.1 ppg), who is averaging 6.4 rpg, and Mark Yelovich (12.8 ppg), lead the SIUE attack. Freshman guard Kris Davis (12.3 ppg) is one of the OVC’s best three-point shooters. Lennox Forrester, who has led SIUE in the transition to Division I, in his fifth season as head coach.
Tennessee State vs Austin Peay
1/16/12 -7:30pm at Clarksville, TN. (Dunn Center)
Tennessee State 63
Austin Peay 69
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|Tennessee State||29||34||63||Record: (10-10, 3-4 OVC)|
|Austin Peay||28||41||69||Record: (6-13, 3-3 OVC)|
|Points in the paint-TSU 30,APSU 28. Points off turnovers-TSU 20,APSU 22.|
|2nd chance points-TSU 12,APSU 9. Fast break points-TSU 6,APSU 8.|
|Bench points-TSU 8,APSU 13. Score tied-9 times. Lead changed-14 times.|
|Last FG-TSU 2nd-00:01, APSU 2nd-02:03.|
|Largest lead-TSU by 9 1st-14:51, APSU by 8 2nd-00:25.|
|Officials: Bret Smith (R), Steve Divine, Charles Jones
Technical fouls: Tennessee State-None. Austin Peay-None.
Copies in a Flash Players of the Game: John Fraley & Melvin Baker