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Clarksville, TN – If they awarded the win via style points, it might have gone a different way. Fortunately for the Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team, the score columns are all that matter at the end of the day and in that, the Govs outlasted Eastern Kentucky in a 93-85 contest to remain atop the Ohio Valley Conference.
Despite a second half that saw Eastern Kentucky hit 61 percent from the floor, the Govs parlayed a decided edge on the glass into their season’s 18th win, while the Colonels dropped back below .500 at 13-14 overall (10-4 in the OVC).
Austin Peay State University’s advantage on the glass was apparent early. On one sequence, Austin Peay State University snared three straight offensive rebounds to keep possession and assert its dominance.
However, that belies a problem—the Govs were not particularly adroit from the floor for a large swath of the half, making second and third chances necessary. After hitting their first five attempts from the field, Austin Peay State University hit just one of its next eight, enabling the Colonels to hang around despite their own foibles from the floor.
As the Austin Peay State University offense got on track, the advantages Austin Peay State University enjoyed on the interior became magnified. Offensively, the Govs were getting multiple shots many possessions and on defense, forget it—if the Colonels missed, Austin Peay State University was getting the ball and heading the other way.
And with Terry Taylor patrolling the interior—all of his career-high tying four swats came in the first half—the Colonels were missing often, hitting just 38.7 percent in the first half.
Add up the defense and rebounding, sprinkle in some Jordyn Adams buckets and you get a comfortable 46-32 Austin Peay State University lead at halftime, even factoring in some first-half struggles from three (2-for-13) and at the free-throw line (10-for-18).
Whatever Eastern Kentucky head coach A.W. Hamilton said in the locker room lit a fire under the Colonels, who opened the second half on a 10-2 run to cut the Austin Peay State University lead to six. The Governors retained their advantage on the glass, but that didn’t mean the Colonels were going to go away quietly.
Austin Peay State University brought the lead back into double digits, but with Taylor off the floor after taking a blow that opened a small cut above his eye the Colonels cut the deficit to four after an 8-0 run featuring a heavy dose of Jomaru Brown.
Over the final eight minutes, every time APSU got a lead that could be termed ‘comfortable’ Eastern Kentucky would answer. Timely threes, forays to the bucket that led to points or fouls, the Colonels simply would not go away.
In the end, the APSU Govs outlasted their foe. Around the four minute mark, a Ty Taylor miss led to an Eli Abaev bucket, and then a Tre King offensive foul turned into an Adams layup. That brought the lead back to 10 points; although the Colonels would cut it back to four with 1:15 to play, they would never get closer as the Govs closed the contest hitting 7-of-8 at the line over the final 2:45 to close it out.
Adams finished with a game-high 23 points, while Taylor (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Abaev (19 points, 12 rebounds) each had a double-double for the third time this season.
No need to overthink; it’s the rebounds. The Govs outrebounded the Colonels by 15 (47-32), including a whopping 24 on the offensive glass. Austin Peay State University enjoyed a 23-10 advantage in second-chance points; the APSU Govs are 17-5 this season when earning more second-chance points than their opponent.
Austin Peay State University has now won 15 straight at home, their longest since a 28-game streak spanning 2002-04; the Govs have a chance to finish the season unbeaten at home for the first time since 2003-04.
The APSU Govs have now won 12 league games in three straight seasons for the first time since 2006-08.
In league play, the Govs are now at plus-5.8 in average rebound margin and plus-3.6 in average turnover margin.
Austin Peay State University is now 12-0 when scoring more than 80 points in 2019-20.
Woodard has now connected on 18 of his 29 attempted threes over the last 13 games.
Austin Peay State University’s free-throws shot (38) and made (26) were season highs. Abaev equaled the individual high for made free-throws (11), while his 18 attempts were not just the team season high, they were three away from the Dunn Center single-game record.
The APSU Govs put five players in double figures (Adams, Taylor, Abaev, Woodard and Evan Hinson) in double figures for the first time since Jan. 18.
Hinson reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his Austin Peay Stae University career.
Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger
On the second half
Next Up For Austin Peay State University
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