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Evansville, IN – The end of the season is never fun. In the case of the 2020 Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team, this one might sting even more than usual.
They know how good they are and how close they were.
Twenty-one wins, a chance at the conference regular season title until the season’s final day and another appearance in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semifinals.
If you want to call it a disappointment (I wouldn’t), there are plenty of guys in that locker room who would agree with you following Friday’s 73-61 loss to Murray State at the Ford Center.
They had real plans on playing much later into March.
The APSU Govs jumped out to a 13-5 lead, making life difficult for the Racers on drives inside with active hands causing deflections and turnovers. However, back-to-back DaQuan Smith three-pointers got the Racers back into it when the Govs were flirting with an early double-digit lead.
That kickstarted a 12-0 Murray State run, with a Tevin Brown four-point play lifting the Racers into the lead. After the game was deadlocked for a time, an Austin Peay State University cold spell coupled with another 11-0 Racer run gave the rival squad a 32-21 lead at the final first-half media timeout.
After the early success, the Govs had begun to settle too much offensively. Needing to close the half strong, Austin Peay State University got a lift from Evan Hinson, who converted a three-point play and later nailed a three as time ran low get the APSU Govs into the break trailing 36-29.
Austin Peay State University erased the lead entirely thanks to an 8-0 start to the second half; Jordyn Adams and Terry Taylor drained threes on back-to-back possessions, forcing a Racer timeout before Murray State could counter the Austin Peay State University attack.
Taylor’s three-point play with 4:33 to go had the Governors within six points at 57-51, but Brown answered with a three and scored 10 points over the final four minutes to help the Racers solidify a place in Saturday’s championship game.
Having KJ Williams as a reserve is going to skew the numbers a bit; the Murray State forward leads the Racer second-unit but so adept is he that he earned first-team All-OVC for his work. He and the rest of the Murray State second-unit outscored Austin Peay State University’s subs 30-11 Friday night, with Williams (15 points) and Chico Carter Jr. (10) leading the way.
On the boards, the difference might be even starker—between Williams (11 rebounds) and Devin Gilmore (10), the Racer reserves outrebounded Austin Peay State University’s 23-1.
The loss is Austin Peay State University’s first to Murray State in the conference tournament since 2004.
Taylor took a career and team-season high 25 shots en route to 27 points and 14 rebounds.
The loss was APSU’s first on a Friday since last season’s OVC semifinals defeat.
The APSU Govs are now 17-8 all-time in the OVC Tournament semifinals.
Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger
On Murray’s bench
Up Next For APSU Men’s Basketball
Only Hinson is scheduled to depart. Austin Peay State University men’s basketball fans have the returns of Taylor and Adams to look forward to, as well as the continued year-over-year progression for Alec Woodard, Carlos Paez and other youngsters with bright futures. Hopefully, the best remains yet to come in Clarksville.
(And of course, you never know what postseason bids might be in store.)
TopicsAlec Woodard, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Men's Basketball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Bubba Wells, Carlos Paez, DaQuan Smith, Devin Gilmore, Drake Reed, Evan Hinson, Evansville IN, Ford Center, Governors, Govs, Jordyn Adams, KJ Williams, Matt Figger, Murray State, Nick Stapleton, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, OVC Tournament, Racers, Terry Taylor, Tevin Brown
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