APSU Sports Information
Evansville, IN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball had a tough time against Belmont’s Dylan Windler, and ultimately it led to the Governors departure from the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, with the Govs falling 83-67 at the Ford Center, Friday, March 8th, 2019.
Barring a (much hoped-for and probably well-deserved) postseason bid, the Governors season ends at 22-11. Belmont marches on into Saturday’s final at 26-4 and will face the winner between Murray State and Jacksonville State.
The first-half began inauspiciously for both sides; neither shot as efficiently as their season trends would suggest, and Austin Peay’s early-game rebounding ability helped the Govs get second and third chances at a time when they needed them desperately.
Twice, Belmont led by five and twice, the Govs erased those deficits. Following a Windler three at the 14:50 mark, Terry Taylor collected an offensive board and laid it up to kick off a 14-6 run that saw the Govs take their first lead of the contest. Belmont re-established its lead with 4:15 to play in the half, but the Govs closed on a 13-5 run to take a 43-40 lead into halftime.
The early moments in the second half saw the Govs tasked with fending off Belmont without their heart and soul after senior Chris Porter-Bunton was charged with his third foul on the half’s first possession. Antwuan Butler made a couple of key buckets in the paint to keep the Govs up in the early moments.
The problem in the second half was Windler. Whatever the Govs did against him, he countered. If he was doubled on the block, he stepped out. If he was marked on the perimeter, he drove. And he had a knack for finding space to tip home a miss or grab a board and reset the offense for the Bruins.
The turning point came early in the half. That’s when Windler keyed a 23-11 run during which time he scored 10 points and hauled in eight rebounds in just over eight minutes of play, turning two-point Austin Peay lead into a 10-point deficit.
The Govs cut it to eight with 4:41 to play on a Porter-Bunton miss, but Kevin McClain answered immediately with a three on the other end; the Govs never trailed by less than double-digits for the rest of the way.
Honestly, probably just Windler. 32 points and 21 rebounds may be just one individual’s performance, but it’s a heck of a performance to try to overcome, with the 21 rebounds easily most by a Gov this season. He also took (15) and hit (eight) more three-pointers than any other Austin Peay opponent this season.
The loss is Austin Peay’s fifth in a row against the Bruins.
With the bench considerably shortened in the postseason, it’s no surprise Austin Peay’s seven points from the reserves were its second-lowest total of 2018-19.
Porter-Bunton led the Govs with 18 points; he passed Fernandez Lockett (2003-08) and Lawrence Mitchell (1985-87) to move into 33rd all-time with 1,028 career points. In his two OVC Tournament games, the Bowling Green native 22.5 points on 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the floor and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from three.
Taylor equaled his career high with three blocked shots. He also pulled down 11 rebounds, giving him 294 for the season; that mark ranks seventh all-time in a single-season by a Governor.
This marks just the third loss for the Governors when outscoring an opponent off turnover.
The 47.1 percent (8-of-17) mark at the free-throw equaled Austin Peay’s season-low.
Austin Peay equaled its season low with 11 fouls committed.
The loss is just Austin Peay’s third when leading at halftime this season; two came against the Bruins.
ASPU Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger
“We lost the momentum. Once they established momentum, Windler made huge plays. Unbelievable plays. They got us on the glass. They were just hungrier in that stretch to want to win to get to the championship game than we were during that period.”
“We got good shots, we got good looks. They just didn’t fall, but I wasn’t worried about that (in the first half) because I knew we were getting good shots. The thing we didn’t do very well in the second half, we didn’t take very good shots in the second half. We took hard shots, we took challenged shots and give Belmont credit, we were never in any flow in the second half offensively.”
On Belmont keying on Taylor
“They surrounded him in the paint. They clogged the lane up and made him have to become more of a perimeter player and we didn’t do a very good job to get him in spots to loosen him up. And guys around him have to make plays too to help him out, and in the second half, nobody did.”
Up Next for APSU Govs
Who knows? Much is up in the air for the mid-majors where March is concerned. We’d love to have another chance to put Porter-Bunton and Co. in an Austin Peay uniform, but time will tell. LetsGoPeay.com will have any information as it becomes available.