Clarksville, TN – It was at times the free-wheeling, run-and-gun fun that Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team has exhibited for much of the first two seasons of head coach Matt Figger‘s tenure.
And at other times, it looked like nine new faces were still getting used to playing with one another in real time.
The good news: Austin Peay State University took care of business and nearly hit the century mark, shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and outrebounding Union by 12 in their first exhibition contest. They doubled up the Bulldogs on points in the paint, 54-26, and led for nearly 39 minutes.
But there’s a long way to go, as Thursday’s 99-95 win proved. The Govs have the talent. Now, time to find the continuity.
It was 9-0 in the first half before Union scored a bucket, but the Bulldogs quickly rallied and closed the deficit. Much of the first half was a back and forth affair, but the Govs were able to turn to preseason Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and he responded with 20 points in the first half alone, including the final seven points to send the Govs into the break with a 46-40 lead.
Post-halftime, it looked as the though the Govs were on the verge of taking over. Reginald Gee and Matheus Silveira each dropped in a pair of buckets as part of a 13-6 run to grow the Austin Peay lead to 12 points, but as swiftly as it was built, it was gone on a 14-5 Union streak.
With 9:21 to play, the lead was four following a pair of Tyree Boykin free-throws, two of the Clarksville native’s 42 points on the night. Down the stretch, the new blood took over for APSU—23 of Austin Peay’s final 27 points were scored by newcomers to the roster, with freshman Jordyn Adams tallying all eight of his points over the final 2:26 of regulation to help put the game away.
Front court dominance. Taylor (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Eli Abaev (12 points, 14 boards) controlled the glass and the paint, as did a foul-plagued Matheus Silveira (8 points, 6 rebounds in 19 minutes). The trio helped account for the aforementioned 49-37 rebounding advantage and 54-26 discrepancy in points in the paint.
After starting 4-of-10 at the free-throw line, the Govs hit 19 of their next 23 attempts.
In his first competitive basketball game as a Gov, Evan Hinson scored 13 points and led the Govs with five assists while committing no turnovers.
Were this a regular-season contest, Union’s 16 three-pointers would be the most by an Austin Peay State University opponent since February 16th, 2017 against Eastern Illinois.
Hinson and Adams combined for 21 of Austin Peay’s 27 bench points.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger
On the overall performance
“The only place we won is on the scoreboard. We prepared poorly, we played poorly, we didn’t defend in the second half at all. We didn’t execute. We got a lot of new guys I had to rely on down the stretch. But give them credit, they kicked our tails.”
“We’ve got to have the leadership. Points are easy to replace; you can’t hang your hat thinking you’ll score 99 points every night to win ball games. It has to be a situation where, when you’re not making shots, you’re getting stops and we did not get a stop all night. You can’t be a championship team and try to just outscore the opposition.”
Up Next for APSU Govs
A second exhibition tune-up against Lees-McRae is scheduled for 7:00pm, November 2nd, in the Dunn Center. The contest is the second game in the Dunn Center that day, following a 2:00pm volleyball match between the Govs and SIU Edwardsville.