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APSU Basketball beats Jacksonville State 74-71, Govs now tied for #1 in OVC


APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballJacksonville, AL – If you want to be a championship-caliber team, walking into the home arena of the league-leader and emerging with a victory is a good place to start. The APSU Govs are a championship-caliber team.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball beats Jacksonville State Saturday night to force tie at the top of the OVC. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball beats Jacksonville State Saturday night to force tie at the top of the OVC. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team built a huge early lead, weathered myriad runs by Jacksonville State and held on in the end for a 74-71 win with sweeping implications across the Ohio Valley Conference landscape.

It would be difficult to have a better start than the Govs enjoyed Saturday afternoon.

Austin Peay (16-7, 8-2 OVC) built a 23-4 lead over the first eight-plus minutes of action, jump-starting the process with back-to-back three-pointers by Jarrett Givens and a variety of low-post exploits; he scored 10 of his 14 first-half points during this stretch.

Jacksonville State (16-7, 8-2 OVC) didn’t climb to the top of the league by rolling over and playing dead in their own building, and the Gamecocks mounted a comeback. Marlon Hunter reeled off six points of a subsequent 8-0 run, while Jamal Gregory contributed five in a separate 7-0 Gamecock tear.

But the Govs weathered the storm, a little foul trouble and rode Terry Taylor and Steve Harris (11 first-half points) into a 39-31 lead at halftime.

The Gamecocks were the unit who started the second half on fire, reeling off a quick 6-0 run to force a timeout and bring the game to within a bucket. A Zach Glotta three stopped the skid for the Govs, but Jacksonville State finally tied it up with a pair of Ty Hudson free-throws and a Hunter jumper just before the first media timeout of the half.

Another Glotta three plugged the Govs back in and Austin Peay took off on a 13-2 run to reestablish a double-digit lead with just under 10 minutes to play, and hovered near double-figures until the five-minute mark. That’s when Jacksonville State embarked on a 17-8 run, culminating in a Jason Burnell three-point play with 59 seconds to play to make it a one-point game.

A charge call on the Govs gave the ball back to Jacksonville State, and Hudson made two at the line to give Jacksonville State its first and only lead of the day with 39 seconds to play.

On the ensuing possession, the Govs got the ball to Taylor on the left wing, and he found Jabari McGhee cutting to the basket, hitting him in rhythm for a bucket and the foul; McGhee, who entered the game as a 54.5 percent shooter at the line, calmly sank the and-one to put the Govs up by a bucket with 21 seconds to play.

Jacksonville State’s next possession ended in a missed Hudson three, with Taylor corralling the rebound and drawing the foul; he made one-of-two and Harris deflected a 50-foot, last-gasp pass from Burnell attempting to set up one final look for the Gamecocks as time expired.

The Difference

The Govs didn’t set the world afire from deep, hitting just 5-of-17 for a 29.4 percent clip. But Jacksonville State didn’t hit a shot from deep, missing all 15 attempts; it marked the first time this season Austin Peay held an opponent without a made three-pointer.

APSU Notably

Austin Peay has now won the last three meetings and four of the last five against the Gamecocks.

Taylor’s 30-point performance marked his fourth 30-point night of 2018-19; it also gave him double-digit points in 20 of 23 contests this season. The Bowling Green native now needs 43 points for 1,000 in his career.

At the charity stripe, the Govs are now 75.0 percent (66-of-88) over the last four games.  

The Govs opened February with a win for the third year in a row.

Another 50.0 percent performance from the Govs now has Austin Peay at 50.6 percent (460-of-910) over the last 15 games, during which time the Govs are 12-3. The Govs streak of games at 40 percent or better from the floor now stands at 20 games, Austin Peay’s longest since the start of the 2000-01 season.

Harris finished with 13 points, including the 500th of his Austin Peay career.

The win is Austin Peay’s first this season when not winning at least one specialty stat category (points in the paint, points off turnover, second-chance points, bench points, fastbreak points).

At 8-2, Austin Peay is out to its best 10-game start in the league since 2008-09.

McGhee also finished with 13 points and is shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the floor over his last four games.

The Govs’ picked up just their third win this season when committing more turnovers, as well as their third victory when earning fewer points in the paint—they also won when doing both against Morehead State.

Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger

On the game
“We made it interesting, that’s for sure. We coughed it up four times in the last two-and-a-half minutes, but a lot of credit to my guys man, a lot of credit for them sticking to it. Terry Taylor was a monster today and our guards defended their tails off.”

On the opponent
“They’re at home and there’s a reason they’re a good team. There’s a reason they beat Murray here, and there’s a reason they beat Belmont twice: they’re a really good team. And we’re a really good team; I’m tired of everybody not saying we’re a really good team, because we are a good team.”

On Taylor
“It’s the first time he said, ‘I’m winning. Get on my back, we’re winning this game, boys.'”

Up Next for APSU Govs

After all that excitement, the APSU Govs return home next week to host SIU Edwardsville in a February 7th contest in the Dunn Center, immediately following the women’s contest that night against the Cougars.




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