Austin Peay Sports Information
Birmingham, AL – Despite being just 2-of-20 from the floor so far this season, Evan Taylor stepped up when it counted.
The freshman guard hit a step back jump shot with 0.9 seconds left and Samford thwarted Austin Peay State University’s comeback bid as the Governors fell, 68-67, Wednesday night in Pete Hanna Center.
The Governors, now 1-2 on the season, trailed by as many as 18 first-half points and 11 early in the second half but clawed their way to the lead, 65-63, on a Chris Freeman short hook shot over 6-10 Michael Bradley with 2:01 remaining. It was APSU’s first lead since owning a 13-10 advantage with 13:19 left in the opening half.
But Samford cut it to one at the free throw line and then took the lead when Christen Cunningham drove to the basket and shot over Tre’ Ivory for a 66-65 lead with 56 second left.
With freshman guards Tre’ Ivory and Josh Robinson on the court the Govs struggled getting a desired look. Finally with the shot clock winding down Khalil Davis forced up a shot that failed to draw iron. However, Chris Horton grabbed the miss and laid it in with 22 seconds left for a 67-66 advantage. He was fouled but failed to convert the three-point play, leaving it up to Taylor to provide the game-winning heroics.
Taylor entered the game 1-of-14 for the season and was 1-of-6 in Wednesday’s game before hitting the game winner.
“We got what we wanted,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “We told Horton when Bradley set that high ball screen to hang back in the lane. (With his presence) they passed up two shots because of that.”
Horton and Freeman again sparked the Govs comeback. Freeman scored 12 of his 16 points in the final half while Horton tallied 13 in the final 20 minutes. In fact, Horton followed up his Sunday triple double against Berea with a double-double with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds against Samford. He also had four blocks.
“We played hard,” Loos said. “I told them from day one this year there are two things that upset me, a lack of effort and a lack of focus. We did that, especially in the second half—I was pleased with the effort. But you also have to play well and we didn’t do that much of the game. We have a bunch of things to clean up.”
The Govs also must receive more bench production. Josh Robinson‘s second-half three pointer was APSU’s only bench points. APSU’s bench was a combined 1-of-9 from the floor with three rebounds in 41 minutes.
“We have to have someone make a shot, simple as that,” Loos said. “We also need some help off the bench. And when I am talking about needing someone to make a shot, it is just not the bench; our starters have to shoot the ball better.
“Somebody has to make some shots.”
Despite making just 2-of-6 shots, Khalil Davis finished with nine points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Zavion Williams also had five assists to go with nine points before fouling out with 4:55 left.
Cunningham led Samford, now 1-2, with 14 points. Brandon Roberts added 11. APSU held scoreless Samford leading scorer Tyler Hood.
Samford 68 (1-2) vs Austin Peay 67 (1-2)
Austin Peay 67