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APSU Basketball loses at Eastern Kentucky, 82-80

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's BasketballRichmond, KY – Despite an outstanding individual performance from sophomore Terry Taylor, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team could not hang on, suffering an 82-80 to Eastern Kentucky at McBrayer Arena, Thursday.

Despite 37 points from Taylor, Austin Peay (21-9, 13-4 Ohio Valley Conference) shot below 40 percent from the floor for just the fourth time this season.

Austin Peay Men's Basketball sophomore Terry Taylor scored 37 points in loss to Eastern Kentucky Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Basketball sophomore Terry Taylor scored 37 points in loss to Eastern Kentucky Thursday night. (APSU Sports Information)

Eastern Kentucky (13-17, 6-11 OVC) kept itself alive for a berth in next week’s OVC Tournament.

From the tip, it was evident that Eastern Kentucky had no plans to roll over for one of the league’s top teams.

Dujuanta Weaver’s three-pointer on the game’s first possession set a tone, one that had the Colonels up 16-8 with just over five minutes off the clock following another three from Jomaru Brown.

The Govs would rally, posting a 10-4 run over the next four minutes and outscoring the Colonels 21-9 to take the lead on a Taylor three with 6:10 to play in the half. Taylor’s number was called early and often in the half; with Chris Porter-Bunton and Jabari McGhee in foul trouble, the Bowling Green native scored 27 points in the first half, with this three kicking off a stretch that saw him score 13 over the final 6:10 in the frame.

Taylor’s jumper with 12 seconds to play in the half looked as though it would make it a one-possession game entering halftime, but Eastern Kentucky’s Kelvin Robinson beat the buzzer with a jumper in the lane to make it 45-41 Colonels at the break.

Taylor scored 10 points in the first 7:36 of the second half, at which point the rest of the Govs got involved and helped push the Austin Peay lead to seven after a pair of Porter-Bunton free-throws with 8:26 to play. But the final eight minutes saw Austin Peay hit just 2-of-10 from the floor and commit a turnover.

At this point, Eastern Kentucky began feeding Nick Mayo the ball. The perennial All-OVC pick scored 11 of the final 19 points for the Colonels, tying the game with a tip-in at the 4:20 mark and answering Antwuan Butler’s go-ahead three with a triple of his own with 1:50 to play.

Porter-Bunton willed his way to the line with 1:26 to play and sank both to tie the game once again. Brown missed a jumper on the wing and Butler missed a runner in the lane, giving the Colonels the ball with 15.3 seconds to play in a tie game.

Eastern Kentucky gave the ball to Mayo and cleared out, giving the 6-9 senior room to work; he was checked by Porter-Bunton, Austin Peay’s senior leader and outstanding defender. Mayo drove the lane; with 5.6 seconds left, one of two things happened: either Mayo slipped or Porter-Bunton tried to handcheck and sent him tumbling to the floor.

A foul was called. Mayo sank both free-throws to give the Colonels the lead.

The Govs got the ball up the court and managed to get an open look for Taylor from 22 feet. His game-winner looked good off his hands but fortune was not with the sophomore and the attempt bounced out.

The Difference

Shooting. Eastern Kentucky outshot the Govs from the floor (52.7 percent to 39.4 percent), from three (50.0 percent to 32.1 percent) and at the free-throw line (72.2 percent to 71.4 percent). The Colonels are just the fourth team this season to outshoot the Govs in all three categories: Mississippi State (November 9th), Eastern Illinois (January 19th) and Southeast Missouri (February 21st).

APSU Notably

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Govs in the series.

With 37 points, Taylor now has 616 for the season (second-most by a sophomore in program history, ninth most in a single season) and 1,146 for his career (passing Larry Noble and Will Triggs for 25th all-time). He tied his career high with 15 made field goals.

For the seventh consecutive game, Austin Peay has committed fewer than 10 turnovers, finishing with nine. That’s a known program-record (dating back to 1999-00) and more than all but three single seasons (2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09) during that stretch. The Govs have committed fewer than 10 turnovers in 12 games this season, more than the combined total of every season from 2009-10 through 2014-15 (10 over 189 games).

Butler entered the contest with six career steals; he collected a career-high five against the Colonels.

The Govs are enjoying a 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as a team over the last seven games.

Opponents are hitting 49.1 percent (136-of-277) from the floor over the last five games.

The loss is Austin Peay’s first this season when outscoring their opponents in points off turnover.

Porter-Bunton finished with 14 points; he’ll need 19 in the regular-season finale to reach 1,000 points ahead of the OVC Tournament.

Austin Peay has lost four of its last five contests at McBrayer Arena.

The Govs are averaging 19.0 offensive rebounds over the last three games.

Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger

Overall Thoughts
“We’re struggling right now. We’ve gotten by but we’re struggling. We’re going into the last week of the season and instead of focusing in like good teams do, we’re having to fight for success.”

On battling EKU
“Every time we’d make a run… guys get tired, and I’d make substitutions and we’d give that lead up. We had a seven-point lead on two occasions. That’s been this team’s M.O. this entire year and we’re toward the end. If you don’t have enough control of when to be good, when to be successful, I can’t help you with that.”

On close games
“The shame is we’ve lost four games in league play by 10 points. That’s the shame of the whole thing. We don’t play to success, we play to the level of who we’re playing, and that’s no disrespect to them, but they’d won five games in the league.”

 


Up Next for APSU Govs

The regular-season finale pits Austin Peay State University against archrival Murray State in a 7:00pm, Saturday, March 2nd contest at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky.


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