APSU Sports: Austin Peay Men’s Basketball
Murray, KY – Coming off their first loss of the season, Murray State entered Saturday night’s return game against the Austin Peay Governors eager to prove to the rest of the nation that the Racers are still the team to beat in the Ohio Valley Conference.
And, unfortunately for the Govs, the Racers had no problems proving that point as Isaiah Canaan scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, fueling the Racers to a 82-63 blowout win over their conference rivals in the CFSB Center.“This is a great rivalry,” Austin Peay Governors head coach Dave Loos said. “I just wish we had played a little closer. If we don’t play closer, this won’t be a rivalry any longer.”
Things started on a well enough note for the Govs (9-18, 6-7 OVC), who jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after early baskets from John Fraley.
The Govs extended their lead to 5-0 after Melvin Baker’s made free throw, but then went on the first of two prolonged first-half scoring droughts, allowing the Racers to go ahead on a 28-7 run and enjoy a double-digit lead for much of the first half.
“It seemed like the score stayed at 5-5 forever,” Loos said. “Given how they played it was probably a good thing for us.”
Eventually trailing by as many as 21 points, the Govs managed to trim the halftime deficit to 37-24 after a bizarre sequence saw Racers head coach Steve Prohm and forward Latreze Mushatt receive technical fouls.
After a Mushatt foul on Thomas Greer, Herdie Lawrence fell to the floor as a result of contact between the two, eventually resulting in a brief stare down between Mushatt and Lawrence that prompted Prohm to leave the sideline in an attempt to diffuse a possible dustup.
“I think it was way overblown,” Prohm said. “We have had some bad situations in college basketball and it’s the coaches job to make it right. I did that.”
“It was not nearly as bad as it looked,” Loos said. “The first bit was accidental and there might have been some talk. I thought (Prohm) was trying to do the right thing.”
Melvin Baker would go on to convert a free throw as the Govs appeared to have some signs of life heading into the locker room.
After the two teams returned to the floor, however, another big Racers run buried any hopes of a comeback for the Govs.
“It certainly did not catch us by surprise,” Loos said. “They are a good team. We could not afford to give them any extra opportunities.”
Alton Williams – who provided positive offensive minutes in Monday’s loss at Belmont – was again a factor in the second half of Saturday’s game, leading the Govs with a career-high 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Fraley and Josh Terry finished with 13 points each in the loss.
In the end, however, offensive rebounds and turnovers were too much for the Govs to overcome.
In all, the Govs allowed 17 second-chance points off of 17 Racers offensive boards.
The Govs also finished with 18 turnovers – their fifth straight contest with double-digit giveaways.
The Fort Lauderdale native finished with just nine points and four rebounds, but provided match up problems down low for the Govs.
“It was great to have him back (against the Govs),” Racers forward Donte Poole said. “It was good to have that presence and that leadership back against those guys.”
The win was a small measure of revenge for the Racers (24-1, 12-1) who had their 25-game home win streak snapped by the Govs a season ago.
With the loss, the Govs fell below .500 in the conference for the first time since rallying back from an 0-3 start in January.
Coupled with Morehead State’s 58-45 win over Eastern Kentucky, the loss also means the Govs will need a win over the Eagles to continue to jockey for position in the middle of the OVC pack.
“We have three (OVC games) left,” Loos said. “I told our guys that we need all three of them.”
Austin Peay vs Murray State
02/11/12 – 7:30pm at Murray, KY (CFSB Center)
Austin Peay 63
Murray State 82
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|Austin Peay||24||39||63||Record: (9-18 (6-7 OVC))|
|Murray State||37||45||82||Record: (24-1 (12-1 OVC))|
|Officials: Craig Murley, Todd Austin, Johnny Pearson
Technical fouls: Austin Peay-LAWRENCE, Herdie. Murray State-MUSHATT, Latreze; TEAM.