APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team got a trio of standout performances to drop Morehead State in a 92-76 affair, Saturday, at the Dunn Center.
The win in a foul-filled contest (62 combined fouls) moved Austin Peay to 12-10 (7-3 OVC) on the season; Morehead State falls to 6-15 (2-8).
The Govs started out hot again in this one, hitting seven of their first eight shots from the floor to stake a 17-9 lead.
Morehead State, an outfit ranking 309th in fouls per game (20.6) coming into the contest committed 10 in the first 9:50 of regulation, putting the Governors in the bonus early in the first half.
Between the 15 free-throw attempts (10 made) and white-hot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) shooting from the floor, the Govs offense alone likely would’ve given them a comfortable lead at halftime.
Add in a stifling defensive effort, which limited Morehead State to 28.0 percent (7-of-25) shooting, along with 11 points and 13 rebounds in the first half alone from senior Averyl Ugba, and the Govs used the first half to make a statement to the rest of the league, leading 49-25 at the break.
Morehead State didn’t roll over; in fact, the Eagles gamely pushed their way back into contention by outscoring the Govs 28-16 over the first 10 minutes of the second half, eventually whittling Austin Peay’s lead down to five after a Djimon Henson three-pointer with 8:03 remaining.
With the game suddenly in the balance, Austin Peay’s offense roared once more to life. On back-to-back possessions, freshman Dayton Gumm pulled down an offensive board and laid it in for two, then was on the receiving end of a steal and assist from freshman Terry Taylor, which Gumm slammed home for two points to put the lead back in double digits.
Down the stretch, the duo scored 18 of Austin Peay’s final 24 points, outscoring Morehead State over the final eight minutes by themselves (18-13) to preserve the win for the Govs.
Morehead State tied the Dunn Center record for most fouls by an opponent with 35, set January 12th, 1980 by… Morehead State. It marked the most fouls by an Austin Peay opponent this season and the first time an OVC opponent committed 30 or more against the Govs since… Morehead State, January 28th, 2015.
The fouls are relevant not only because they allowed the Govs to take 40 free throws—second-most this season and most against a Division I opponent since the 2015 contest against Morehead State—it ensured that the Eagles were always playing with a short bench; four of the 11 players who saw action for Morehead State fouled out of Saturday’s contest.
Ugba played like a man possessed from the opening tip. He recorded a double-double in the first half alone (11 points, 13 rebounds) and finished the night with 18 points and a career-high 15 boards—the latter mark is the most by a Governor this season and the first time since Chris Horton (March 4th, 2016 against Belmont in the OVC Tournament semifinals) that a Gov has pulled in at least 15 rebounds.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Govs against Morehead State, and served as the Governors first home win against the Eagles since 2013.
The Govs have won six straight at home, most since a six-game home OVC winning streak during the 2009-10 season.
In breaking the 90-point barrier for the second straight game, it marked the first time since Jan. 29-31, 2008 that that the Govs scored at least 90 points in back-to-back games—both those 2008 contests were overtime affairs.
Freshman Dayton Gumm finished with 21 points, his season’s third 20-point outing and first since November 26th against Miami. Included in this were a career-high in made free-throws (seven) and career-best shooting percentage (75 percent, 6-of-8 shooting) from the floor.
The Govs secured a winning record in January for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
With 17 second-chance points, it marked the 13th consecutive game the Govs accrued at least 10 second-chance points.
The win is Austin Peay’s seventh in OVC play, marking the earliest the Govs have achieved seven league wins since the 2010-11 season. It also equaled Austin Peay’s conference win total from a year ago and surpassed the Governors overall win total from the 2016-17 season.
Junior Zach Glotta hit a trio of three-pointers; he’s averaging 8.9 ppg in Austin Peay’s 12 victories this season.
The Govs’ 40 points in the paint marked the first time since November 22nd-26th (Bethel and Miami) that they scored 40 in the paint in back-to-back contests. Austin Peay’s 40-20 advantage in the paint against Morehead State was its largest since outscoring SIU Edwardsville 48-27 in the paint, December 28th, 2017.
Junior Chris Porter-Bunton dished out a career-high tying seven assists and scored seven points, giving him 500 for his Austin Peay career.
In a battle between two of the league’s best rebounding squads, Austin Peay emerged victorious, pulling in six more boards (38-32) than Morehead State, including 11 on the offensive glass.
For the fifth time this season, Austin Peay accrued more than 20 points off turnover, turning 18 Morehead State miscues into 23 points.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger
On the first half
“I give my kids a lot of credit; they knew my displeasure from Thursday’s game and we tried to clean up our defensive rotations, which were poor, and we spent all day Friday on that. And how many times have we been in 24-point halftime lead situations? It’s a learning process.”
“Our kids showed resilience, and I knew Morehead wasn’t going to quit. We did something to those guys that hadn’t been done all year in league play, and that was getting after it against them right off the bat. They don’t throw in the towel, and that’s a credit to Preston Spradlin.
On the second half
“We shot jump shots and didn’t throw the ball inside; that’s the whole thing. I maybe got a little passive and worried more about getting to the backside of the shot clock, and guys started jogging cuts and hoisting threes. They were coming kamikaze and we didn’t make free throws and we turned the ball over.”
Next Up for APSU Men’s Basketball
Austin Peay hits the road for four straight, beginning with a 7:30pm, February 1st visit to UT Martin.