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APSU Basketball gets 89-74 home win over Tennessee State

 

APSU Sports Information 

APSU Men's BasketballClarksville, TN – With all five starters in double figures, Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team was able to fend off a tough Tennessee State squad in an 89-74 decision in the Dunn Center, Thursday.

The contest had far-reaching implications around the conference; with the win and losses to previously unbeaten Murray State and Jacksonville State, Austin Peay (14-6, 6-1 OVC) finds itself once more in prime position in the Ohio Valley Conference race. Tennessee State (5-14, 2-5) could not slow down the Govs despite a solid night on their end of the court.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball gets important OVC win over Tenenssee State Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball gets important OVC win over Tenenssee State Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Tennessee State averages nearly 25 fouls per night—last in the nation—for a reason, and it showed in the first half. Very few Austin Peay forays into the paint went uncontested; any time a Governor ventured into the paint, the defense converged to alter the shot—or failing at that, the Tigers made their presence felt the old-fashioned way, by bodying up the Govs and turning the contest into an ugly interior battle of wills.

With the post game devolving into a physical slugfest in the paint, Austin Peay relied on the perimeter prowess of Zach Glotta and the midrange game of Chris Porter-Bunton to stake a 10-point lead into the break.

Terry Taylor had a quiet first half, but he more than made up for it in the second. Even though the Bowling Green native didn’t hit his first shot from the floor until 15:11 remained in the second half, his very presence always had to be accounted for. When he wasn’t scoring (NUMBER) of his (TOTAL) points over the final 20 minutes, he was setting up teammates with passes out of double teams on one end and controlling the glass and protecting the rim on the other.

One of his favored targets in the final frame was Jarrett Givens. The grad transfer helped the Govs extend their lead early in the second thanks to a pair of threes and a pair of old-school three-point plays; by the midway point in the half, the Austin Peay lead was at 14.

Tennessee State wasn’t going away; the Tigers cut the deficit to single digits with 6:45 to go on a Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey three. But immediately following a timeout, Taylor sank a jumper in the paint to put the lead back in double-digits for the remainder of the game; the Govs outscored Tennessee State 19-12 over the final six and a half minutes of play.

The Difference

Tennessee State committed 19 turnovers, which the Govs turned into 20 points; Austin Peay, meanwhile, committed just 12 turnovers (four total in the second half), which the Tigers were only able to turn into 10 points.

APSU Notably

The win is Austin Peay’s first against Tennessee State in the Dunn Center since 2015.

It just keeps climbing: after hitting 54.5 percent against Tennessee State, the Govs are at 51.1 percent (372-of-728) over the last 12 games.

Tennessee State hit exactly 50 percent from the floor (25-of-50) and 50 percent from beyond the arc (13-of-26) Thursday night; the last opponent Austin Peay allowed to hit at least half their shots from the floor and from three yet it still managed to defeat was Southeast Missouri (February 28th, 2009). The last opponent to hit 50 percent from three in a loss to the Govs was Oakland City (December 5th, 2012).

Austin Peay has earned a plus-20 turnover margin over the last three games.

With seven attempted three-pointers, Glotta tied Travis Betran (2012-14) for 10th all-time in career attempts with 416. He also reached double figures for the 10th time this season with 15 points; it was his best scoring night since the Campbell rematch, Dec. 21.

Tennessee State’s 44.0 percent (11-of-25) showing at the line was the worst by an Austin Peay opponent since Eastern Illinois hit just 40.0 percent (6-of-15), December 30th, 2017.

Austin Peay is now 11-0 when leading at halftime this season, equaling Texas State on the unbeaten chart.

Taylor scored 14 points and pulled down 10 boards for his season’s sixth double-double and second in three games. He also pulled down his 200th career offensive rebound; he’s one of four Division I players who has accumulated 200 or more offensive boards the last two seasons.

Austin Peay’s 6-0 start to the home schedule is its best since the 2005-06 campaign.

The Govs are now 6-1 to start league play for the first time since 2010-11.

Givens’ 15-point outing was the 10th double-digit night of his Austin Peay career.

Austin Peay remains unbeaten (5-0) on Thursday’s during the 2018-19 season.

The Govs outscored Tennessee State on points in the paint (36-25), points off turnover (20-10), second chance points (8-5) and fast break points (4-0); the last time Austin Peay bested an opponent in all four categories was the December 15th contest against Purdue Fort Wayne.

Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger

On the win
“We had spurts of being a good basketball team, but then we had spurts of being a team that’s very vulnerable that lost at Eastern Illinois on Saturday. I felt like we played better at Eastern Illinois than we did tonight.”

On practice
“We’ve got to get more competitive in practice. That’s where you get better. We’ve got to get way more competitive in practice and do things the right way.”

On defensive switches
“They were going with four guards and we had committed so many first-half fouls. That’s just not being sharp with first-step defense; I felt like if we kept staying man, we’d have the entire team foul out, so I had to change it up and try to get them out of their rhythm.”

Up Next for APSU Govs

With both Murray State and Jacksonville State collecting their first losses of the conference slate on Thursday night, the APSU Govs find themselves once more tied atop the league at 6-1; they’ll host the Belmont squad which handed the Racers their first loss Saturday following the women’s contest in the Dunn Center.


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