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Austin Peay State University Basketball hosts SIU Edwardsville Thursday

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball opens the 2017-18 Ohio Valley Conference slate against relative league newcomer SIU Edwardsville with a 7:00pm, Thursday, December 28th tilt in the Dunn Center.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball takes on SIU Edwardsville Thursday night at the Dunn Center in the start of OVC play. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball takes on SIU Edwardsville Thursday night at the Dunn Center in the start of OVC play. (APSU Sports Information)

With five straight wins against the Cougars, the Govs look to kick off conference play on the right foot—a victory, in addition to making Austin Peay 8-4 all-time against SIU Edwardsville, would make the Govs 11-7 in league openers since the turn of the century. It also marks the fourth time in five seasons that Austin Peay will kick off the league slate at home.

With Edwardsville a (figurative) stone’s throw from St. Louis, a trio of Govs will certainly look to leave their mark on this contest. St. Louis natives Steve Harris and Richard Henderson look to make their first appearances against the Cougars, while Zach Glotta, who hails from nearby O’Fallon, Missouri, looks to replicate his first appearance against SIUE, when he scored 10 points in the January 21st, 2016 edition of this contest.

About the SIU Edwardsville Cougars

Although Jon Harris’ Cougar squad won just four games in the conference and 12 overall the past two seasons, change is coming in Edwardsville. In fact, the Cougars are among the hotter teams entering conference play, having won three straight for the first time since 2015 by knocking off IUPUI, South Alabama and Chicago State earlier in the month.

Jalen Henry’s continued improvement has seen him grow from a little-used reserve as a freshman in 2014-15 to the league’s sixth-leading scorer (16.5 ppg) this season, while newcomer Daniel Kinchen is Averyl Ugba‘s top competition for top newcomer in the league, averaging 14.7 ppg.

The Govs prowess on the offensive glass bodes well for them in this one, as SIUE is 0-4 when grabbing fewer offensive boards. However, in close contests, SIUE has shone this season, going 3-1 when the margin of victory is five points or less.

Last Time Out Against SIU Edwardsville

Seniors John Murry (game-high 25 points) and Kenny Jones (20) made the most of their final appearance in the Dunn Center, enabling Austin Peay to hold off SIUE in a 92-84 win against the Cougars, February 18th. The Govs hit 50.9 percent from the floor (29-of-57), 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from three and 73.5 percent (25-of-34) from the free-throw line–Austin Peay’s first 50-50-70 game since February 6th, 2016 at Murray State.

Keep An Eye On

A win would be the Govs first in the conference opener since the 2013-14 season, and would be Austin Peay’s sixth straight against the Cougars. It also would even Austin Peay’s December record at 3-3 with one game remaining in the month; the Govs have not posted a winning December since the 2010-11 campaign.

Ugba was tabbed as OVC Newcomer of the Week, December 27th, for his work against Troy and Western Kentucky; he averaged 13.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg against the Trojans and Hilltoppers as an APSU player has now won at least one of the OVC Newcomer, Freshman and Player of the Week honors in five of the last six weeks.

The Govs are averaging 18.2 ppg off turnover over their last five outings.

With Terry Taylor (15.2 ppg) and Dayton Gumm (12.2) leading the Govs in scoring, Austin Peay is one of five Division I teams with freshmen owning the top-two spots in scoring. Only Kentucky (whose top six scorers all are freshmen), Alabama, Houston Baptist and UTSA can boast the same claim.

Veterans Steve Harris and Tre’ Ivory already have posted career-highs in points, field goals, free-throws, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes played.

Led by Taylor (3.9 offensive boards per game, eighth in the nation), the Govs have posted six straight contests with 10 or more offensive rebounds, averaging 12.8 during that span.

Junior Chris Porter-Bunton needs two points for 400 in his Austin Peay career.

Follow APSU Govs Online

Check back at LetsGoPeay.com and on Austin Peay’s Official Athletics Facebook page often for up-to-date news about all Governor athletics, as well as the Governor men’s basketball Twitter page (@AustinPeayMBB). Live stats will be available during the game at PeayStats.com, and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games can be viewed on www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com.

Postgame video interviews and other videos from around APSU Athletics can be found on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/letsgopeay).

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