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Austin Peay Men’s Basketball at Murray State
Murray, KY – Despite a disappointing 2011-12 season to this point, Austin Peay hopes it can live up to its half of what is called the Ohio Valley Conference’s “Best Rivalry.”
Austin Peay travels to Murray State, 7:30pm, Saturday, looking to snap a three game losing streak that saw the Govs lose, 94-55, Monday at Belmont. Meanwhile, the Racers saw their 23-game winning streak end at home to Tennessee State, Thursday.In seasons past, February has been known as the time Austin Peay elevates its game. But the Govs already are 0-2 in the month and will need to find a way to stop the recent “bleeding.”
First and foremost it will have to start on the defensive end. After permitting fewer than 70 points for six straight games, including five victories, the Governors have allowed more than 70 points the last four times out. In fact, APSU has allowed 94 points in each of the last two games.
Senior center John Fraley, whose concussion saw him miss the season’s first nine games, which contributed mightily to the Govs slow start, has played his career’s best basketball of late. He is averaging more than 20 points per game over his last four outings, including a 31-point, 17-rebound performance against Tennessee Tech, February 2nd. Fraley is averaging 14.8 ppg and 10.0 rpg during league play.
His partner up front, Melvin Baker, also has been a consistent producer, at least until Monday’s game at Belmont. He is second to Fraley in scoring during league play, averaging 13.3 ppg. Between Fraley and Baker they have combined to shoot 60 percent from the floor during league play.
But it has been quite the opposite for the Govs’ perimeter performers. Josh Terry is averaging 12.4 ppg during OVC action while TyShwan Edmondson is at 11.3 ppg. But between Terry, Edmondson and point guard Jerome Clyburn, they are shooting a combined 39.7 percent during OVC competition and have made only 26 three pointers.
What You Should Know
The Series: This is the 116th meeting between the two OVC rivals, Austin Peay and Murray State, with the Governors trailing, 74-41. The Racers defeated the Governors earlier this year in Clarksville by a 87-75 count as Isaiah Canaan scored 35 points, including seven first-half three pointers. The two teams split last year’s two meetings, the Govs winning, 66-64, in Murray to snap the Racers’ 25-game home-winning streak. However, the Racers turned the tables later in Clarksville by claiming a 67-58 verdict.
What A Loss Would Mean: The Govs would fall to 9-18 on the season…they would fall below the .500 mark in the OVC at 6-7…it would be the Govs’ fourth straight loss…it would be the Govs’ third straight loss in the series…it would be Loos’ second loss to first-year Murray State coach Steve Prohm…it would be head coach Dave Loos’ 363rd career loss and 308th Austin Peay defeat.
Govs To Face Former OVC Foe In Bracketbuster Game
Austin Peay will play an old OVC foe for the 10th annual Sears BracketBusters. Youngstown State, an OVC member from 1981-82 season through 1987-88, will come to Clarksville for the February 19th contest, scheduled for 7:30pm. The Penguins, members of the Horizon League, currently are 13-11 overall with an 8-6 conference record.
Austin Peay has a 6-8 record against YSU, having won the last four meetings in the series—two in 1986-87 and two more in 1987-88. This is Austin Peay’s ninth appearance in the BracketBusters event—the most of any OVC school. The Governors are 2-6 in the previous eight games.
Austin Peay comes in amidst a three game losing streak. This is the third time this season the Govs have experienced losing streaks of three game or more. The Govs opened the season with nine consecutive losses. They closed the 2011 portion of their schedule with three consecutive losses and then opened 2012 with another defeat to extend that streak to four.
Austin Peay finished the year with a 0-2 record against future OVC opponent Belmont. The Govs lost to the Bruins, 94-55, Monday night. It was the Govs worst loss since dropping a 93-54 decision to Stephen F. Austin in the 2008 Jim Thorpe Classic.
In the four-game stretch, opponents are shooting 49.2 percent against the Govs, including 39.2 percent from three-point range. The Govs, meanwhile, are shooting 46 percent during that span and have made just 12 three pointers total in the four games.
The Govs made just two three pointers, both coming from walk-on Alton Williams, who finished with a season-best eight points in a career-best 21 minutes.
John Fraley’s 31 points against Tennessee Tech, February 2nd, represented a career-best, six points better than his performance against Eastern Kentucky, January 12th, and the February 15th, 2011 contest at Jacksonville State.
He tied his career best with 10 field goals made while setting his career mark with 11 free throws made (12 attempts). His 17 rebounds were the second most of his career. His double-double was the fifth this season and 17th of his career.
Inside Not Out
The trio of John Fraley, Melvin Baker and Will Triggs combined for 67.9 percent (19 of 28) shooting against Tennessee Tech, February 2nd, while the perimeter performers were a combined 11 of 36 (30.6 percent), including a combined 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) effort from TyShwan Edmondson and Jerome Clyburn.
When the Govs converted 24 of 30 free throws (80 percent) against Tennessee Tech it was the first time since the season’s second game the Govs shot 80 percent or better at the free-throw line. Against California, the Govs made 7-of-8 free throws for 87.5 percent shooting.
Passes Former Teammate
The 17 rebounds John Fraley grabbed against Tennessee Tech not only was the second most of his career but it also gave him 712 career rebounds, allowing him to move past former teammate Fernandez Lockett (703/2003-07) into ninth place all-time in school history.
Just two games earlier, Fraley passed past former Gov and nine year NBA vet Trenton Hassell (1998-01) into 10th place all-time in school history. Hassell had 685 rebounds during this three-season Govs career.
With Austin Peay’s loss to Tennessee Tech, February 2nd, it dropped APSU to 6-4 in the Dunn Center. The four losses are the most home losses since the 2009-10 team finished 11-4.
Austin Peay Governor’s Basketball vs. Morehead State Eagles
When Austin Peay and Morehead State last met, guard Terrence Hill, the team Eagles’ top player, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the closing minute of Morehead State’s victory. The Eagles have weathered the storm and are amidst a group of teams fighting for the No. 4 seed in the upcoming OVC tourney.
Point guard Ty Proffitt (10.1 ppg) and center Drew Kelly (10.0 ppg) have helped pick up the scoring in Hill’s absence along with guard Marsell Holden (8.2 ppg). Kelly is the grandson of the late Lake Kelly, who coached Austin Peay during two tenures (1971-77, 1985-90).
TopicsAlton Williams, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Men's Basketball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Belmont, California, CFSB Center, Clarksville TN, Dave Aaron Arena, Dave Loos, Dave Loos Court, Drew Kelly, Dunn Center, Eagles, Eastern Kentucky, ESPN, Fernandez Lockett, Governors, Govs, Horizon League, Isaiah Canaan, Jacksonville State, Jerome Clyburn, John Fraley, Josh Terry, Lake Kelly, Melvin Baker, Morehead State, Murray KY, Murray State, National Basketball League, NBA, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Racers, Sears BracketBusters, Stephen F. Austin, Steve Prohm, Tennessee Tech, Trenton Hassell, Tyshwan Edmondson, Will Triggs, Youngstown State
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