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APSU Governors Basketball head to Nashville to face Vanderbilt Commodores

 

Austin Peay (0-0) vs. #18/#20 Vanderbilt (0-0)

Friday, November 13th, 2015 | 7:00pm
Nashville, TN | Memorial Gym

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team faces a tall order literally and figuratively when it plays Vanderbilt, 7:00pm, Friday, in Memorial Gym to open the 2015-16 season.

The contest represents the first game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Vanderbilt eventually will end up in Maui for its final three games while APSU, after playing at Indiana, Monday, heads to Greeley, CO, to play its final two games.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball at Vanderbilt Friday. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball at Vanderbilt Friday. (APSU Sports Information)

Not only will the Governors be facing the nation’s No. 18 preseason ranked team in the Commodores, they will be play a team whose roster boasts five players who stand taller than 6-8.

APSU will take just one player—senior center Chris Horton—that stands 6-8 or taller.

In fact, the Commodores are led by 7-0, 250-pounder All-SEC center Damian Jones (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) while 7-1 Frank Kornet (8.7 ppg) flanks him up front.

APSU Chris Horton“They are big, no question, and they make shots,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “They have a number of good shooters on their basketball team…and not just guys we normally view as guards.  They have some bigs who can make shots.

“Their size—Damian Jones is just an outstanding player who can beat you with his athleticism—and ability to put the ball in the basketball is the big challenge. They have excellent guards who can shoot the basketball.”

Vanderbilt is coming off a 21-14 season that saw the then-young Commordores finish 10-4 down the stretch. Returning seven of their top eight players from that team has vaulted them into national consideration.

APSU Josh RobinsonThe sophomore tandem of Williams Baldwin IV (9.3 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Riley LaChance (12.3 ppg) were members of the SEC All-Freshmen team a year ago and provides Vandy one of the top young backcourts in the south, if not the country.

The Govs faced Jones and Kornet, in particular, two years ago in APSU’s narrow 58-56 road loss. Both have evolved in their respective roles. The new rules, emphasizing eliminating some of the physical play in the post, has Loos concerned entering the contest since the Govs are so few in numbers inside.

“College basketball could be off to a rough start this year until people figure out what the expectations are going to be and how you are going to have to play,” said Loos, now in his 30th head-coaching season. “We have to be really concerned. It’s imperative we keep the right people on the floor. We cannot have Chris Horton in foul trouble. But with our few number of people with size it is going to be very important we keep those people out of foul trouble.”

For the most part, Loos has liked what he has seen so far in the two exhibition contests, beating Thomas More, 85-64, and Sewanee, 91-64.

“We are anxious to play,” Loos said. “For us it is about effort and attitude and going out there playing hard. The effort and attitude to this point has been encouraging. We have had our moments. We have not executed as well as we would have liked and we also had a few times where I thought the effort could be better.”

Keep An Eye On

  • The Governors made a woeful 30 percent of its three-point shots a year ago, with Josh Robinson APSU’s lone consistent contributor (37 percent 3FG%). With Robinson now a sophomore and the addition of wings Jared Savage and John Savage and the presence of freshman point guard Zach Glotta, that number should rise.
  • Chris Horton (13.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg) became the first APSU player since Tommy Brown (1990-91) to average a double-double last season.
  • Freshman wing Jared Savage is the son of APSU Hall of Fame player, Jermaine Savage, who was a star for Loos’ when the Govs went to the NCAA in 1996.
  • Damian Jones is a legitimate All-America candidate at 7-0, 250 pounds. He led the OVC in field-goal percentage and was named to the league’s All-Defensive team in addition to be a dominant inside offensive presence.
  • Sophomore point guard Wade Baldwin IV was just one of two freshmen (D’Angelo Russell, now with the LA Lakers, being the other) to average 9 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game in 2014-15.
  • Sophomore guard Riley La Chance was SEC Freshman of the Week four times last season.
  • Friday’s contest will be Dave Loos‘ 900th as a college head coach.

Inside the Vanderbilt Series

The Series: Austin Peay trails the series, 2-14
Series Streak: Govs have lost the last 11 meetings
Last Meeting: APSU lost to Vanderbilt, 58-56, December 17th, 2013, in Nashville.

Broadcast Information

Radio • Governors Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Scott Chase
Analyst: David Loos

TV • SECN+
Play-by-Play: Kevin Ingram
Analyst: Shan Foster

Governors on the Web

Live Statistics: www.LetsGoPeay.com
Live Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com


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