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APSU Basketball begins OVC Tournament run, Thursday

 

Austin Peay vs. SIU Edwardsville

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 | 8:30pm CT
Evansville, IN | Ford Center

APSU Men's BasketballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University will begin the final sprint toward the ultimate goal—an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship—with an 8:30pm, Thursday, March 1st tip-off in the tournament quarterfinals at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball heads to Evansville Thursday to compete in the OVC Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball heads to Evansville Thursday to compete in the OVC Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs will take on the victor of Wednesday night’s opening-round contest between Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois; Austin Peay went 2-1 against those squads in 2017-18.

A victory would push the Austin Peay into the semifinals, where the Govs would face their nemesis from the 2016 semifinals—Rick Byrd’s Belmont Bruins.

That game would tip at 9:00pm, Friday, March 2nd in Evansville.

Scouting the Field

The Governors went 6-6 against the other seven teams in this year’s tournament, sweeping Eastern Illinois, SIU Edwardsville and defending champion Jacksonville State along the way. The Govs are 24-17 all-time against the current field in OVC Tournament play. This is the first time Austin Peay has received a bye under the current tournament format, which was enacted in 2011.

Last Time at the OVC Tournament

You might recall the magical 2016 OVC Tournament, when the eighth-seeded Govs won four games in four days against Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State, Belmont and UT Martin to stun the nation and capture Dave Loos’ fourth and final OVC title.

The Govs toppled the Golden Eagles in Round One, 92-72, rallied from a 19-point deficit to stun Tennessee State, 74-72, in the quarterfinals and played in one of the most epic contests in tournament history, a 97-96 overtime win against top-seeded Belmont that saw Tournament MVP Chris Horton post a 30-point, 16-rebound performance opposite OVC Player of the Year Evan Bradds.

The Governors dispatched the Skyhawks in the championship game to cut the nets and advance to the NCAA Tournament, where they would face top-seeded Kansas in Des Moines, Iowa.

Keep An Eye On

A win would advance the Govs to at least the OVC Tournament semifinals for the second time in three years, 10th time since 2000 and 23rd time in 38 total appearances since 1964.

Austin Peay’s bench unit is averaging 21.3 ppg over the last seven contests, led by junior Zach Glotta (13.2 ppg).

Only Tre’ Ivory, Chris Porter-Bunton, Steve Harris, Glotta, trainer Joni Johnson and assistant coach Hayden McClain were with the program for Austin Peay’s last OVC Tournament appearance.

Seven opponents have scored fewer than 60 points against the Govs this season; Austin Peay is 7-0 in those games. Austin Peay had held just seven opponents below 60 points in the previous four seasons put together.

OVC Freshman of the Year Terry Taylor needs just 25 points to pass the legendary Trenton Hassell for second all-time in single-season scoring by a freshman.

Taylor and senior Averyl Ugba have developed a good rapport in the low post, ensuring the duo get and make quality looks. It’s paid off, as they are one of five teammate pairs in the nation both shooting over 54 percent from the floor, along with UNLV (Brandon McCoy, Shakur Juiston), Texas A&M (Robert Williams, Tyler Davis), Arizona (DeAndre Ayton, Allonzo Trier) and Duke (Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr.)

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 this game courtesy of StatBroadcast.com, and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games, as well as the first two rounds of the OVC Tournament, can be viewed on www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com; the semifinals and championship game will be on the ESPN Family of networks.

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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