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APSU Basketball holds off Eastern Kentucky for 90-84 win

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballClarksville, TN – Six Austin Peay State University men’s basketball players scored in double figures as a total team effort helped the Governors fend off Eastern Kentucky, 90-84, Thursday, in the Dunn Center.

The Govs (11-10, 6-3 OVC) got out to a hot start, hitting nine of their first 13 shots to double up the Colonels, 24-12, nearly halfway through the opening period.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball had six players in double figures in victory over Eastern Kentucky Thursday night at the Dunn Center. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball had six players in double figures in victory over Eastern Kentucky Thursday night at the Dunn Center. (APSU Sports Information)

Eastern Kentucky (8-14, 2-7 OVC) roared back on a 20-8 run to briefly take the lead inside the three-minute mark in the first half before the Govs closed six unanswered points to take a 40-35 advantage into the break.

Austin Peay led for nearly the entirety of the second half, but that doesn’t mean the path to victory against the Colonels was an easy one. After a jumper from junior Zach Glotta pushed the lead to 10 with 11:24 to go, the Colonels slowly chipped away at the Austin Peay advantage and tied the game at 82 with 1:38 remaining on two Dedric Boyd free-throws.

As they often do, the Govs turned to freshman Terry Taylor in crunch time, and as he often does, Taylor did not disappoint.

First came an old-fashioned three-point play with 29 seconds remaining to break the tie, then a pair of free-throws with 12 seconds left to push the advantage to seven points—the Colonels would get no closer than five the rest of the night.

The Difference

With just nine players dressed—believed to be the fewest in uniform for an Austin Peay squad since February 15th-17th, 1992—the Governors had little leeway in terms of foul trouble. Not only did the Govs expertly manage the foul situation—senior Tre’ Ivory is the only APSU player with four or more fouls—the Governors committed six fewer fouls than EKU (20-14) and soundly outpaced the Colonels in attempts (25-12) and makes (18-9), including a 15-of-16 showing from the charity stripe in the second half.

Notably

APSU Men's Basketball - Terry TaylorThe win gives Austin Peay back-to-back victories in the series for the first time since winning three straight from 2010-11.

Austin Peay put six players in double figures for the first time this season; the last occurrence was November 14th, 2016 against Oakland City.

The victory was Austin Peay’s first this season when allowing an opponent to score 80 or more points.

Junior Steve Harris scored 15 points, reaching double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his Austin Peay career and running point guard for a large portion of his 20 minutes on the court.

APSU Men's Basketball - Steve HarrisThe Govs scored 40 of their 90 points in the paint, the first time since opening conference play, December 28th, that the Govs have put up 40 or more points in the paint and the fifth time overall this season.

After being forced to sit out the Belmont game due to illness, freshman Dayton Gumm bounced back with 10 points against the Colonels.

After the Govs recorded a season-low five assists in Saturday’s contest against Belmont, Ivory had six by himself against the Colonels—the fifth time this season he’s posted at least six assists in a single game.

Austin Peay scored 20 points off turnover, most since the Miami game, November 26th. The Governors reserves scored 29 points, also most since the contest against the Redhawks.

APSU Men's Basketball - Chris Porter-BuntonJunior Chris Porter-Bunton scored 13 points, leaving him seven away from 500 for his Austin Peay career.

The Governors 14 second-chance points mark 13 straight games with at least 10 points in second chance opportunities.

Glotta scored 11 points, his sixth game this season in double figures—all Austin Peay victories. He’s averaging 8.9 ppg in wins and 3.7 ppg in losses this season.

Austin Peay’s plus-five turnover margin was its best since a plus-13 showing against Alabama A&M, December 2nd.

Taylor’s ninth double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds) is the most by an Austin Peay player in a single season by an Austin Peay freshman since at least the 1997-98 season.

Seven blocked shots by the Governors equaled the season high set November 22nd against Bethel. Averyl Ugba‘s four blocked shots were most by an Austin Peay individual this season, while freshman Richard Henderson set a career-high with three swats.

Ten steals were the most by Austin Peay since December 6th at Illinois and represented the fifth time this season the Govs posted double-digits in thefts.

Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger

On the win
“I’m always happy to win and to win a league game. At home or on the road, those are valuable, and they put us a step closer to our first goal, which is to qualify for the tournament. But outside of us scoring the ball, I felt like our defensive performance was pathetic.”

On Steve Harris
“I got an epiphany on Sunday, woke up and said, ‘You know what, let’s play Steve Harris at the point.’ It just took me 20 games to figure that out. I knew this was going to be his most uncomfortable game there. One thing, he’s 6-4, 6-5 and when the pressure comes he can just break it down and get the ball to the front of the rim.”

On defense
“It’s a combination of a lot of things. Not guarding the ball the way we should initially, lack of rim protection on the back line, guys not rotating. We had it early and then we completely stopped that.”  

Next Up for APSU Men’s Basketball

Austin Peay hosts Morehead State, which fell on the road to Murray State, 87-81, Thursday, in a 7:00pm, Saturday, January 27th contest in the Dunn Center.


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