Nashville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team went on the road and stood toe-to-toe with SEC foe Vanderbilt, taking the Commodores down to the wire in a 58-56 battle at Memorial Gym.Austin Peay (5-6) overcame an abysmal first-half shooting effort and actually led 22-20 at the break. Kyle Fuller came off the bench for 10 second-half points, leading Vanderbilt (6-3) to a come-from-behind win.
The Govs and Commodores combined for a first-half notable only for its sloppiness. Vanderbilt shot poorly at 30.8 percent from the field, but Austin Peay matched the Commodores shooting deficiencies with a 25.7 percent mark of their own. The squads also combined for 22 first-half turnovers, 13 coming from Vanderbilt.
Austin Peay’s defense turned up the intensity against the Commodores in the first half. In addition to woeful shooting and an abundance of turnovers, the Govs held Vanderbilt without a field goal for nearly eight minutes until Damian Jones’ lay-up with 1:16 remaining in the half.
Once again it was sophomore Chris Horton who carried the load offensively for the Governors. The Decatur, GA, native hit 4-of-5 shots from the floor in the first half en route to eight first-half points. Against the bigger Commodores, Horton pulled his defenders out with several mid-range jumpers.
The second half was better from the floor for both sides, with both the Govs and Commodores managing to shoot better than 40 percent from the field. The hosts quickly erased Austin Peay’s halftime advantage, but the Govs hung tough thanks to Horton, who finished with his season’s sixth double-double on a 16-point, 10-rebound line, and sophomore Zavion Williams, who scored all eight of his points in the second half.
Tied at 50 with under three minutes to play, Fuller put the Commodores on his back with a lay-up and two free-throws. The four-point advantage equaled Vanderbilt’s largest second-half lead and put the Govs down two possessions with 1:20 remaining.
After being fouled, Horton had a contact issue that precluded him from being able to take the free-throws. Junior Damarius Smith hit one of two in his place, but the Govs fouled Jones on the ensuing possession and he hit one of his two shots to make it a two-possession game again.
Fuller went one-of-two from the line following a Williams foul, leaving the door ajar for Austin Peay to tie or even seize victory from the home team. However, Betran’s jumper clanged off the rim, falling into Horton’s hands; Horton missed a desperation tip-in as time ran out for Austin Peay.
Vanderbilt was led by Jones with 12 points. Rod Odom, the SEC’s third-leading three-point shooter entering the night at 47.9 percent, had 11 points despite a 1-for-8 effort from beyond the arc. As a whole, the Commodores suffered through an off-night from the floor; their 37.3 percent mark from the field was well below their 47.1 percent mark entering the night, which had been sixth in the SEC.
The Govs will need to bounce back quickly. Austin Peay hosts Lipscomb 7:00pm, Thursday, in its final pre-Christmas tilt.
Austin Peay vs Vanderbilt
December 17th, 2013 | 8:00pm
Nashville, TN | Memorial Gym
Austin Peay 56
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|Austin Peay||22||34||56||Record: (5-6)|
|Officials: Kevin Fehr, Byron Jarrett, Lamar SimpsonTechnical fouls: Austin Peay-None. Vanderbilt-None.Attendance: 8422|