Clarksville, TN – Travis Betran tallied 23 points and Chris Horton 21 while Damarius Smith recorded 12 assists as Austin Peay State University defeated Liberty, 77-71, Saturday night in non-conference basketball action in Dave Aaron Arena.The victory evened the Governors record at 5-5 while snapping a two-game losing streak. Liberty, meanwhile, fell to 4-6 on the season. The contest was APSU’s last remnant of the BracketBuster Series as the Govs traveled to Lynchburg, VA, last February in the final year of the actual event.
Trailing 43-39 early in the second half, the Governors began to take control. With 16 minutes left in the game, Ed Dyson knocked down a three pointer to cut the deficit to one before Smith scored on a layup to give APSU the lead, 44-43. The Flames Antwan Burrus scored on a layup as Liberty regained the lead. However, that was Liberty’s final lead.
Dyson knocked down his second straight three pointer, this one from the left wing, as the Govs went on a 9-0 run fueled by Smith’s passing and the free-throw line as APSU built a 54-45 lead with 10:40 left. .
But the Govs were unable to shake the Flames, the defending Big South tourney champions. In fact, they had a 10-3 surge of their own, cutting the deficit to two, 57-55, with 7:06 left. It remained a two-point game with 5:19 left when John Caleb Sanders drove and spun a layup off the glass.
Horton stretched the lead to three with a free throw and then Betran helped get the Govs transition game moving by blocking Davon Marshall’s three-point attempt. The ball was snared by Smith who exploded down court and found Dyson for a dunk.
Smith then hit a short jumper to push the lead to seven, 66-59, with 4:14 left before Smith found Betran in the left corner for a three pointer to give APSU a 69-59 lead with 3:30 left. Liberty could not get closer than five points the game’s remainder.
Not only did Horton record his season’s second 20-point contest on 8-of-10 shooting but his fifth double-double this season by snatching 12 rebounds. He also blocked four shots.
For Betran it was his season’s third 20-point contest and 14th for his career. He was an efficient 4-of-6 from three-point range.
A game after shooting 28.1 percent at Samford, the Governors finished Saturday night 25 of 48 (52.1 percent). Entering the game averaging 17.2 turnovers per game, the Govs committed just 12 against Liberty, only five in the second.
Liberty’s Burrus led all scorers with 27 points while Sanders had 16 points and seven assists.
Liberty vs Austin Peay
Saturday December 14th, 2013 | 7:00pm
Clarksville, TN | Dunn Center
|21||VANDER POL, Joel||c||2-2||0-0||0-0||2-5||7||4||4||0||0||1||0||21|
|33||SANDERS, John Caleb||g||6-15||1-5||3-3||1-1||2||3||16||7||4||0||1||29|
Austin Peay 77
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|Austin Peay||35||42||77||Record: (5-5)|
| Officials: Michael Terry, Jaclyn Goble, Chris King
Technical fouls: Liberty-SANDERS, John Caleb; CORONADO, JR. Austin Peay-FREEMAN, Chris.
Player of the Game: Damarius Smith