Austin Peay (21-8 | 13-3 OVC) at Eastern Kentucky (12-17 | 5-11 OVC)
Thursday, February 28th, 2019 | 6:30pm CT
Richmond, KY | McBrayer Arena
Clarksville, TN – The penultimate contest of the 2018-19 season finds Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team in Richmond, Kentucky against an upstart Eastern Kentucky squad with much on the line.
The Colonels enter the final weekend among seven teams vying for the final four spots in the OVC Tournament, which begins next week.
This matchup will pit two of the Ohio Valley Conference’s best big men against one another in Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor (20.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 53.3 percent from the floor) and Eastern Kentucky’s Nick Mayo (23.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 45.4 percent from the floor).
About the Eastern Kentucky Colonels
The down but not out are the most dangerous opponents in late February, and Eastern Kentucky certainly qualifies; in fact, the Colonels are reminiscent of the 2016 Governors who made a miracle tournament run, with a senior big man (Nick Mayo) still seeking his first OVC Tournament apperance, a freshman (Jomaru Brown) who has broken out during OVC play and a high-powered offense (82.9 ppg) which has led to many high-scoring games, on both ends (83.4 ppg defense). Eastern Kentucky is the only program among the league’s top-three in scoring offense and bottom-three in scoring defense.
Offensively, the Colonels will go as far as Mayo takes them; the league’s active leading scorer, Mayo has unusually soft touch (it’s not often you see a power forward leading the league with an 86.5 free-throw percentage) and has taken on an even larger role on the glass, with his 6.6 defensive rebounds per game second in the conference. After 29 games this season, fatigue may start to play a factor; he’s second in the league at 34.5 minutes per game and is the only OVC player to play 1,000 minutes so far this season.
Eastern Kentucky’s defensive hallmark is its ability to get into passing lanes and disrupt the flow of the offense, which leads to steals and easy points the other way. The Colonels lead the OVC at 10.5 steals per game (with 75 more than their nearest competition); that will get tested against an Austin Peay lineup which has not committed more than nine turnovers in any of the last six games.
APSU Govs Last Time Out Against Eastern Kentucky
Jarrett Givens’ Ohio Valley Conference debut saw him hit seven threes and put up 25 points in a decisive 93-75 win against Eastern Kentucky back on Jan. 3. Another new face, freshman Antwuan Butler, came off the bench to post a career-high nine assists, piloting an offense that 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from three and 56.9 percent (37-of-65) overall.
Keep An Eye On
A win would give the Govs four wins in a row against the Colonels for the first time since winning four straight from 2007-09.
Taylor is shooting 54.7 percent (82-of-150) from the floor and 80.4 percent (41-of-51) from the free-throw line over the last nine games.
Senior Chris Porter-Bunton must average 16.5 ppg over his final two regular-season games to reach 1,000 points in his career ahead of the OVC Tournament. In his last matchup with the Colonels, the Bowling Green native tied his career high with seven assists.
A victory would be Austin Peay’s ninth road win in 2018-19, most since 11 road victories during the 1976-77 season.
Taylor is one of 25 Division I players with 500 total rebounds over the last two seasons, and one of just nine with 200 offensive boards.
A victory would be OVC win No. 14 for the Govs, their most since 2007-08.
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 the game at PeayStats.com, and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games can be viewed on the ESPN+ app. Postgame video interviews and other videos from around APSU Athletics can be found on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/letsgopeay).
OVC basketball tournament all session packages are still available for purchase! All session packages can be purchased for $80.00. You may purchase your package by visiting www.letsgopeay.com/buytickets or calling 931.221.PEAY. If you are unable to attend but would like to purchase a package to sponsor a student attending the tournament please call 931.221.7224.