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Nashville, TN – In its first dose of post-Christmas action, Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team traveled to the Music City for the contest in the unfriendly confines of the Gentry Center and emerged with a true road win against Tennessee State for the first time since 2014, coming out ahead in a 68-59 Ohio Valley Conference decision, Wednesday.
A Mike Peake three-point play got the Govs going early and kicked off a back-and-forth exchange that would last for the first 10 or so minutes.
After that, the teams began exchanging runs—a 9-0 Governor jaunt, followed by a 7-0 answer by the Tigers.
Then the resumption of traded buckets began again before the APSU Govs scored six straight into and out of the final first-half media timeout, followed immediately by eight in a row for the hosts to take the game into halftime with the Govs leading 35-33.
After neither team could find sustained momentum in the first half, the second half saw the Govs come out strong and begin to put the game out of reach. Austin Peay (6-3, 2-1 OVC) scored 14 of the first 17 points in the second half, including a Terry Taylor putback slam and a Tai’Reon Joseph banked-in three-pointer, to put the game in Governor hands.
The Tigers would cut into the deficit—even without Carlos Marshall Jr., the all-OVC choice whose performance down the stretch turned momentum against the Govs in last season’s meeting in Nashville, Tennessee State (1-5, 0-3 OVC) head coach Brian Collins had some surprises in store to get his team back in it.
Amorey Womack’s trio of three-pointers proved to be timely, especially the two in the second half, and the Tigers amped up their defense over the final 10 minutes or so, as Austin Peay State University was held to 5-for-17 shooting with a trio of turnovers to finish the contest.
But if the APSU Govs found the scoring difficult toward the end of regulation, the Tigers found it nigh-impossible; Tennessee State hit just eight shots from the floor the entire second half and could never mount a sustained charge to trim the lead into a one- or two-possession game after Austin Peay’s early second-half success.
Reginald Gee led all scorers with 20 points on the night, equaling his career-high as a Gov; Taylor added 11 and 12 rebounds while Mike Peake, in his return to the starting lineup, chipped in with 10. Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. was the only Tiger in double figures, finishing with 13 points.
While the shooting discrepancies were stark—Austin Peay State University outshot Tennessee State 45.6 percent to 34.0 percent—the APSU Governors true advantage came inside. Austin Peay outscored Tennessee State 32-10 on points in the paint and 19-6 on second-chance points while outrebounding the Tigers 43-33.
The victory is Austin Peay State University’s first in Nashville against any opponent since the 2016 OVC Men’s Basketball Championship game against UT Martin.
Taylor’s double-double was the 50th of his Austin Peay State University career, increasing his lead among active Division I players.
The starting lineup of Gee, Joseph, Peake, Taylor, and Carlos Paez was APSU’s fourth in nine games this season.
The Govs moved to 4-0 this season when outshooting their opponent, when holding their opponent below 45 percent from the floor and when outscoring their opponent on points in the paint.
Gee (six rebounds) and Joseph (five) both set career-highs on the glass.
This is Austin Peay State University’s first victory this season when losing the turnover battle; the Govs committed 16, while the Tigers had just 12 miscues.
Joseph is averaging 11.2 points over the last five games.
Even in this truncated season, the APSU Govs have now won six games before the New Year for the fourth consecutive season.
Milestone Watch—Career: With his 109th career start, Terry Taylor tied Kyle Duncan for sixth all-time. He also became the second player in program history with 2,100 career points
Milestone Watch—OVC: Taylor tied Warren Kidd (Middle Tennessee, 1990-93) and Norman Pokley (Morehead State, 1960-63) for 12th all-time in league history with 1,046 career rebounds.
Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger
On the win
Up Next for APSU Men’s Basketball
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