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APSU Basketball defeats SIU Edwardsville 79-71 to remain Undefeated in OVC Play

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballEdwardsville, IL – It wasn’t always pretty, but Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball held tough against a resilient SIU Edwardsville squad to take a hard-fought 79-71 road victory at the Vadalabene Center, Thursday, January 17th.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball sophomore Terry Taylor racked up 33 points in win over SIU Edwardsville Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball sophomore Terry Taylor racked up 33 points in win over SIU Edwardsville Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

On the back of a monster performance from sophomore Terry Taylor, Austin Peay (13-5, 5-0 OVC) remained unbeaten in conference play ahead of what’s sure to be another road battle on Saturday. SIU Edwardsville (5-12, 1-4) saw its three-game home winning streak snapped.

Over the years, the Vadalabene Center has been one of the toughest places for Austin Peay to play—despite their recent winning streak, the Govs have been pushed to the limit time and again, and from the outset Thursday shaped up to be no exception.

Although the Govs built an early six-point lead thanks to a three and a layup by Jarrett Givens, the Cougars responded with a 7-0 run to take the lead and the first half would rarely be more than a one-possession game from there.

A Christian Ellis three put the Cougars ahead by three with 4:05 to play in the half, but the Govs closed out strong. Three-point plays by Taylor and Steve Harris, coupled with a lockdown defensive effort that saw SIUE make no shots from the floor after Ellis’ three, sent the Govs into the halftime break leading 38-35.

A David McFarland three to open the second half tied the game and it looked like the Cougars were going to be in it to the very end. Taylor began his second-half takeover with around 14 minutes to play, scoring 11 of Austin Peay’s next 13 points to put the Govs ahead for good. However, the Cougars remained hungry and were unwilling to go away despite the Govs best efforts.

But with about nine minutes remaining, a Chris Porter-Bunton dunk signaled that Austin Peay was ready to begin putting the game away. Porter-Bunton’s slam kicked off an 11-3 Governors run that took Austin Peay’s lead to 11 with 4:30 to play. The teams largely traded free-throws down the stretch, with a Tyrese Williford three getting the Cougars within six with 38 seconds to play, but SIU Edwardsville would get no closer.

The Difference

Taylor. The Cougars simply had no answer for the Bowling Green native, who took over and finished with a career-high 33 points and 12 boards, hitting 50 percent from the floor (12-of-24) and adding in a pair of steals. He scored 20 in the second half and was instrumental in helping the Govs put away the Cougars.

 

APSU Notably

The win is Austin Peay’s eighth in a row against SIU Edwardsville, the longest active Austin Peay winning streak against a league opponent. It’s Austin Peay’s longest winning streak against a league foe since an 11-game streak against Jacksonville State from 2007-12.

Austin Peay has outscored its last two opponents (SIUE and UT Martin) 44.0-25.0 on points in the paint.

More facts about Taylor’s evening: it marked his 12th career contest with 12 or more rebounds, and the 20th time in his Austin Peay career he has led the Govs in scoring. Three of his five career 30-point games have now come during his sophomore season. His field goal (24) and free-throw (13) attempt numbers both represented season-highs by a Gov.

SIUE’s Williford committed eight turnovers, tied for most by an Austin Peay opponent this season.

The Govs remain unbeaten (10-0) when leading at halftime this season.

Austin Peay collected 12 steals as a team, their first double-digit theft night since the program-record 23 steal performance against Calvary (December 8th).

SIU Edwardsville hit just 37.9 percent (22-of-58) from the floor; no team has shot better than 50 percent from the floor against the Govs since the November 18th contest against Campbell (13 games).

The Govs knew SIU Edwardsville would run, and the Cougars responded with 23 points in transition, most by an Austin Peay opponent in 2018-19.

The win is Austin Peay’s fourth in a row at the Vadalabene Center.

After playing 14 combined minutes in the first four league games, sophomore Richard Henderson played 12 crucial minutes, with four points and four rebounds for the Govs.

Austin Peay is now 5-0 in the OVC for the first time since the 2010-11 season.

The Govs have won five straight OVC games on the road for the first time since 2010-11 (the final game of 2010 and the first four in 2011).

Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger

On the game
“We defended very, very well. Early on, we didn’t do a very good job in transition defense but the entire second half we had to win that game with defense.”

On playing the paint
“We established our will in the paint. I told our guys that’s where we would win this game.”

On tenacity
“I thought Edwardsville came out playing really physical and really hard. Jon (Harris) had those guys ready to play, I’m sure he challenged them and they came out and fought. I give them credit, it wasn’t for their lack of fight. Credit them for putting us in a situation where we really had to earn this one.”

Up Next for ASPU Govs

The Charleston leg of the Edwardsville-Charleston road trip might face inclement weather ahead of Saturday’s 3:15pm start; either way, the APSU Govs will take on Eastern Illinois as they look to remain unbeaten in league play.


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