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APSU Governors Basketball edged out by Belmont, 82-77

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's Basketball - Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team took the preseason Ohio Valley Conference favorite down to the wire to open OVC play, dropping an 82-77 decision to Belmont at the Dunn Center.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball junior guard Josh Robinson scores 27 points in lose to Belmont Saturday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball junior guard Josh Robinson scores 27 points in lose to Belmont Saturday afternoon. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay led for much of the first half on the strength of Kenny Jones‘ inside presence and the outside shooting of Jared Savage and Josh Robinson; Jones posted 10 points and seven boards in the first half, while Robinson and Savage combined combined for half (16) of the Governors 32 first-half points.

But a late Belmont run and Governor scoring drought made it 40-32 at the break and the Bruins pushed that lead out to 13 early in the second half before the Governors began to chip away at it.

An 11-5 run midway through the half—thanks to seven points from Robinson—cut the deficit to five and a later 10-3 run cut it to four with under a minute to go.

After the teams traded points on an Austin Luke lay-up and free-throws from Jones, Belmont’s Evan Bradds missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity and Robinson got a look at three-pointer that rolled off the rim.

Belmont’s Taylor Barnette, who led all scorers with 28 points, hit four free-throws to seal the game, the final two coming after a Robinson three-pointer—the final of points of his 27-point outing—with 1.8 seconds to go had cut the deficit to three.

The Difference

Belmont’s bench, led by Nick Smith (11 points), outscored Austin Peay’s reserves 18-0—the first time Austin Peay’s bench has been shut out since November 19th at Miami.

Notably

  • Robinson made it six straight games with 20 or more points, the longest by a Governor since future APSU Hall of Fame Inductee Drake Reed scored 20 points from January 31st-February 28th, 2009—a span of nine games.
  • Jones posted his season’s fifth double-double, pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds. The eight made free-throws were also a career-best for the senior.
  • Belmont was efficient on the offensive glass, turning 13 offensive boards into 15 points (1.15 ppr); nine Austin Peay offensive boards yielded just eight points (0.89 ppr).
  • The Govs held Belmont to 49.2 percent shooting, snapping an eight-game streak of opponents shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.
  • The Bruins two steals equaled the season-low by an APSU opponent.
  • In addition to holding preseason OVC Player of the Year Evan Bradds well below his normal numbers—he finished with 14 points and seven rebounds—Chris Porter-Bunton also equaled his career-high with three steals.
  • The Bruins hit nine three-pointers, giving opponents an average of 13.0 made threes over the last four games, although Belmont needed 32 attempts, equaling an opponent season high against the Govs.
  • Robinson passed Joe Sibbitt for 19th all-time in scoring and now has 1,228 career points. Up next: Lamonte Ware (1,261 points)

Coaching Quotables

Head Coach Dave Loos

On positives

“I thought we were better defensively, although we still had a couple of lapses that really hurt us. They were shooting 78 percent early in the second half, which really hurt us. But the effort was better; it was a winnable game.”

On offense

“I thought we moved the ball and a number of guys contribute, which was a good sign.”

On Belmont’s second-chance opportunities

“I think Belmont is a team we should out-rebound and they got a number of second-chance opportunities. We talked about that at halftime but weren’t able to conquer it.”

Up Next for the APSU Govs

Austin Peay takes its first road trip of the conference schedule next week, beginning with a Thursday, January 5th venture to Cookeville to take on Tennessee Tech.


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