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HomeSportsAPSU Basketball gets 59-57 road win over UT Martin

APSU Basketball gets 59-57 road win over UT Martin

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballMartin, TN – A meeting of particularly high defensive intensity is just the sort of game Matt Figger‘s Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team likes to play, and play it the Govs did in a 59-57 battle against UT Martin at the Elam Center, Thursday.

With the victory, Austin Peay moves to 13-10 (8-3 OVC) on the season, while UT Martin falls to 8-16 (3-8).

Austin Peay Men's Basketball senior Averyl Ubga has 28 points and 17 rebounds in win Thursday night over UT Martin. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Men’s Basketball senior Averyl Ubga has 28 points and 17 rebounds in win Thursday night over UT Martin. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs opened on a bit of a cold spell—aside from senior Averyl Ugba, who hit his first three shots from the floor, no Austin Peay player made a field goal until a Terry Taylor jumper, over six minutes into the game.

Taylor’s jumper sparked a 12-4 Austin Peay run, and while the offensive production in the first half may not have been at the frenetic 90-point pace Governor fans became accustomed to over the previous two games, the defense which has become the calling-card of the Matt Figger era was certainly on display.

APSU Men's Basketball - Terry TaylorAlthough the half ended with a 7-0 Skyhawk run, the Govs forced 10 turnovers and allowed just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) shooting to take a 32-22 lead into halftime. Offensively, Ugba was the catalyst, scoring 17 first-half points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Neither squad was able to find the range often in the second half; combined, Austin Peay and UT Martin shot a combined 29.8 percent (7-of-26 for the Govs, 10-of-31 for the Skyhawks).

Although UT Martin’s offensive output was scarcely better than Austin Peay’s, the Skyhawks chipped away to get within striking distance late in the contest.

APSU Men's Basketball - Tre’ IvoryBut the one man who could be counted on was wearing Austin Peay black and the number 24 on this night. Late in the contest, twice Ugba was called upon and twice he came up clutch. First, a layup on a nice find by senior Tre’ Ivory put the Govs back up three with 28 seconds left after a pair of Darius Thompson free-throws had cut the Austin Peay lead to a single point.

Then, after Fatodd Lewis’ jumper with seven seconds left again cut the deficit to one, Ugba went long on the ensuing inbounds play and was fouled by Mike Fofana. He calmly sank both free-throws to maintain the Austin Peay lead, with freshman Dayton Gumm‘s 1-of-2 trip to the line with 2.4 to go ultimately sealing the deal for the Govs.

The Difference

APSU Men's Basketball - Averyl UgbaAveryl Ugba
UT Martin got a nice performance from Fatodd Lewis (18 points and 10 boards) but simply couldn’t contain Ugba, who dominated the proceedings, finishing with 28 points and 17 rebounds, most by a Gov this season and equaling the second-highest total in the OVC.

Coupled with his 18-point, 15-rebound performance against Morehead State, he becomes the first Governor since Chris Horton (January 21st-23rd, 2016) with back-to-back performances of at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. He’s also the first Gov since Horton’s senior season with three or more 20-point, 10-rebound performances in the same season.

Notably

With the victory, Austin Peay secured eight league wins for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

UT Martin’s 31.0 percent (18-of-58) shooting performance is the worst by an Austin Peay opponent this season.

The rebound disparity was noticeable from one half to the next. In the first half, the Govs proved why they entered the contest as one of the league’s rebounding leaders, outrebounding the Skyhawks, 25-18. The second half told a different story, as the Skyhawks outrebounded the Govs 26-20.

The Skyhawks conjured just five assists, fewest by an Austin Peay opponent this season.

The win was Austin Peay’s first at the Elam Center since March 1st, 2014.  

The Govs hit milestones of a slightly dubious nature in this win. The last time Austin Peay scored 60 points or less in a win was January 24th, 2015 against Eastern Illinois, while the last time the Govs shot worse than 35 percent in a victory was February 18th, 2012 in the now-defunct ESPN Bracketbuster contest against Youngstown State.

APSU Men's Basketball - Dayton GummGumm scored 10 points, his fourth straight game in double figures.

For the fifth consecutive game, the Govs picked up 10 or more offensive rebounds, finishing with 19—nine provided by Ugba. For the season, the Govs are now averaging 14.2 offensive rebounds per game.

Eighteen made field goals equaled a season-low for the Govs, set November 13th at Virginia.

The Skyhawks became the seventh opponent to score 60 or fewer points against the Govs this season; the last time the Govs held at least seven opponents to 60 or fewer opponents was 2010-11 (nine).

The victory gives the Govs a season sweep of the Skyhawks for the first time since 2013-14.

Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger

On the win
“We didn’t play pretty, that’s for sure. Defensively, we did a good enough job early in the game to build a good lead, built a decent offense, got good shots. In the second half, we just stopped being aggressive and when you’re not making shots, things start getting a little tighter. We held on; we found a way to make plays at the end when we had to.”

On fouling at the end of the game
“It was a nightmare for me, because I was not wanting to foul. My assistant convinced me to do it; it worked for him at Ole Miss. We don’t practice that, so here I am trying to figure out who to get on the line to go rebound the ball, because we’ve been known to miss a box-out or two on free-throws, so it worried me. But Butler had just hit a three and it worried me that he was going to get one.”

Next Up for APSU Men’s Basketball

Austin Peay looks to start a road winning streak as the four-game trip continues with a 4:15pm, Saturday, February 3rd tip in Cape Girardeau against Southeast Missouri.

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