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APSU Men’s Basketball falls to #18 Mississippi State

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballStarksville, MS – Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team got a chance to measure itself against a top-25 program in 18th-ranked Mississippi State. The still-youthful roster got a valuable learning experience in the 95-67 loss, but showed their mettle against one of the SEC’s darkhorses.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball play tough in loss to Mississippi State Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball play tough in loss to Mississippi State Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay didn’t just hold their own through most of the first half—the Govs gave as good as they got for much of the first 20 minutes, limiting Mississippi State’s number of quality looks. The Govs were particularly stingy when the Bulldogs tried their luck from beyond the arc—Mississippi State hit just 26.7 percent from deep in the first half.

At one point, the Governors looked poised to overtake their hosts, getting to within four points on a pair of free-throws from senior Chris Porter-Bunton with 4:37 remaining in the half. However, Mississippi State ripped off a 19-7 run to close the half, putting the Govs at a 50-34 deficit heading into the locker room.

Sophomore Terry Taylor (nine points) and senior Steve Harris (eight) combined for half of Austin Peay’s first-half output, hitting a combined 7-of-14 from the floor, and Austin Peay actually outrebounded the SEC giant, 17-16, over the first 20 minutes.

Early in the second half, the Govs were able to whittle the Mississippi State lead down to 10 on a five-point burst from Taylor, but they were never able to get the deficit back to single-digits again. Harris (five points) and sophomore Dayton Gum (eight) scored 13 of Austin Peay’s final 17 in a second half that went firmly in the Bulldogs favor.

The Difference

Although the rebounding difference was negligible (35-34 in favor of the Bulldogs), Mississippi State’s size was noticeable in the paint. That’s where the Bulldogs outscored the Govs 54-34; the Govs were outscored in the paint just 14 times in 2017-18.

APSU Notably

After combining with Averyl Ugba for five contests in which both grabbed double-figure rebounds in 2017-18, Taylor has found another Brother in Boards in Jabari McGhee; he finished with a team-high 11 boards, while Taylor had 10.

For the third time in his career and first this season, Harris led the Govs in scoring with 17 points. Eight different Govs have already scored in double figures this season.

In his 30th career start, Gumm scored 14 points, including the final eight for the Govs.

Taylor’s 15-point, 10-rebound performance marked his 13th career double-double and first in 2018-19.

March to 1,000: With 11 points, Porter-Bunton now has 630 as a Governor; he will need to average 12.8 ppg over the final 29 regular-season contests to reach that milestone.

The loss was Austin Peay’s sixth in a row against an SEC foe.

Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger

On competition
“I felt like we competed at certain moments in time, but we didn’t compete enough over a 40-minute game to beat a team as talented as Mississippi State on the road.”

On the magnitude of McGhee’s second foul
“We had it there at four points, he picked up his second foul and we didn’t pull up the slack. Probably some bad substitutions on my part, and I’ll take credit for that.”

On halftime adjustments
“Well, stop fouling, number one. I felt like we didn’t read some of the things the way Mississippi State was guarding us. I felt like they were setting on top of some of our screens and we didn’t back cut. And we had no post presence, not one post player put any type of pressure on those guys at the rim and again, that’s my fault for accepting it.”

Up Next for the APSU Govs

The Govs begin their southern journey with a stop in Tampa to take on American Athletic Conference foe USF. Austin Peay and the Bulls will do battle Monday, November 12th, with tipoff scheduled for 6:00pm (CT).


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