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Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team got the very best effort from a visiting Florida A&M squad searching for its seasons first win and came out on the wrong end of a 76-70 decision in the Dunn Center, Tuesday.
The loss, which drops the Govs to 4-3 on the season, also snaps an 18-game home winning streak for Austin Peay State University.
Early, it was easy to tell which team played a game 24 hours ago and which team hadn’t; the Rattlers looked a step fresher in transition and jumped out to an early lead, which they held through the opening minutes.
The Govs and Rattlers traded blows for the bulk of the half before Austin Peay State University appeared to take control following back-to-back Carlos Paez threes to put the Govs up seven at the six-minute mark. But as quickly as the burst appeared for the Govs, Florida A&M answered—six straight points, the capper coming on a dunk from Desir Evins.
The teams resumed trading buckets, and Alec Woodard answered a bonkers heave from MJ Randolph as the shot clock ran out on the Rattlers’ penultimate possession of the half with a three of his own to send the teams into the locker room tied at 34.
The scoreboard failed to reflect the difficulty, of their own design and that posed by Florida A&M, of the first half for the Governors. Austin Peay State University failed to shoot 40 percent from the floor, while the Rattlers hit 57.1 percent from the field. The Rattlers outrebounded the Govs by six in the half and doubled them up on points in the paint (24-12); all things considered, a tie after 20 minutes in the face of those numbers was a pretty decent state of affairs.
The second half dawned and with it, seemingly renewed resolve for the Govs. The APSU defense got more active as the second half progressed. Trapping in deadball situations began to lead to Florida A&M turnovers. The Governors began to create more opportunities for themselves in situations where they held the edge—in transition, or isolating defensive matchups they could exploit.
The trouble was that Florida A&M, desperate for its seasons first win, seemingly always had an answer. When the Govs would tie, the Rattlers would get a shot to drop on the other end to retake the lead; if Austin Peay looked poised to string together a series of scores, Florida A&M was able to procure a stop and, inevitably, a score on the other end.
Slowly, Florida A&M pulled away—by the 4:07 mark, the Rattler lead had grown to 11 points and things were looking increasingly dire for the Govs.
And then all of a sudden they weren’t.
In 68 seconds, the Govs reeled off a 7-0 run to make it a two-possession game again after a Mike Peake three-point play. That touched off a late-game tete-a-tete that once more saw the ebbs and flows of action swing on every possession. Randolph would hit a three; the Govs would answer with a pair of Peake free-throws and a Reginald Gee layup to make it a two-point game with 34 seconds to go.
Alas, it was not to be. Kamron Reaves sank three of four free-throw attempts with under 20 seconds left, and Gee and Terry Taylor were unable to get late three attempts to go in the waning seconds.
Sometimes you run across a hot team, and the Rattlers (55.6 percent from the floor, 50.0 percent from three) were scorching on Tuesday compared to the Govs (39.7 percent from the floor, 24.0 percent from three).
The loss is Austin Peay State University’s first to a MEAC opponent since 1997 against Norfolk State.
For the first time in 2020-21, the APSU Govs lost the battle of second-chance points, being outscored 21-18 by Florida A&M.
Peake finished with 18 points to lead the Govs in scoring for the first time in his Austin Peay State University career. He was 8-for-9 at the charity stripe and added seven rebounds and is averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last five games.
Taylor equaled his career high with three steals.
Austin Peay State University is minus-16 in rebounding the last three games after losing the battle of the boards 34-29 against the Rattlers.
Milestone Watch—Career: Terry Taylor made the 107th start of his Austin Peay State University career tonight, equaling Colby Pierce for seventh all-time.
Milestone Watch—OVC: Taylor passed both Isaiah Canaan (Murray State, 2009-13) and Popeye Jones (Murray State, 1988-92) to move into 15th place all-time in OVC history in scoring with 2,061 points.
Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger
On the turning point
Florida A&M 76, Austin Peay 70
Up Next for APSU Men’s Basketball
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