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Clarksville, TN – Good teams find a way. The APSU Govs are a good team.
Outnumbered, following a lengthy layoff and against an upstart Tennessee Tech team eying an upset, Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team put five players in double figures, headed up by a Terry Taylor double-double, to fend off the Golden Eagles in a 72-69 win in the Dunn Center, Thursday night.
When they had to, the Govs found a way.
There are hot starts, and then there’s whatever got into the Govs to open this game.
Austin Peay State University hit its first five three-point attempts and its 11 of its first 14 shots from the floor, roaring out of the gates to take a commanding 27-5 lead to start the game. And this was across-the-board production—Mike Peake and Jordyn Adams both hit early threes, Carlos Paez piloted the offense with aplomb and Terry Taylor did all the things Terry Taylor is renowned for doing.
But the APSU Govs, shorthanded due to COVID-19 Coronavirus protocols, saw every player hit the floor in red carrying a heavier share of the load than was usual; Tennessee Tech, with most of its roster available, found strength in numbers as the game progressed. While the early lead stood up for the first half, by the break Tennessee Tech had cut the Austin Peay advantage down to five points, at 38-33.
Austin Peay needed energy coming out of the break, and Taylor provided an early lift with a dunk and a three-point play as the Golden Eagles continued to throw everything they could at the Governors. But legs got heavier for Austin Peay and the visitors began to feel an upset brewing.
Fatigue is never going to be the crutch which the Govs and head coach Matt Figger choose to lean on; they didn’t when Tennessee Tech took its first lead at the midway point in the second half. They didn’t during the back-and-forth over the final 10 minutes that ultimately decided the game when Tennessee Tech wouldn’t go away and the fouls continued to pile up. And they certainly didn’t when Austin Peay State University went cold over the final 2:41 of play when an Adams three put them up by five.
The Govs made that lead stand up, surrendering just two points over the final 3:30 of play; during that time, the Golden Eagles went 2-for-5 at the free-throw line and missed all three shot attempts, including a Jr. Clay three at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. Instead, the Govs emerged with a well-earned, hard-fought win at home.
On a night with no margin for error, the APSU Govs turned in their season’s best performance from a ball-control stand-point, committing a season-low eight turnovers while forcing 18 Tennessee Tech miscues, which led to 25 points for home side.
The win is Austin Peay State University’s first at home against the Golden Eagles since 2014.
The win was No. 70 in Figger’s Austin Peay career.
The APSU Govs moved to 6-0 this season when leading at halftime, and are also now 6-0 when holding their opponent below 70 points.
Over the last four games, Austin Peay State University is outscoring opponents 35.0-to-20.0 on points in the paint after owning the inside to a 38-22 clip against the Golden Eagles.
This was the sixth different starting lineup used by the Govs this season.
Austin Peay State University’s marks at the free-throw line in attempts (five), makes (two) and percentage (40.0) were all season-lows.
After posting 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, Peake is hitting 63.6 percent from the floor over his last four games.
Clay (29 points) and Damaria Franklin (22) combined for 51 of Tennessee Tech’s 69 points; no other Golden Eagle had more than six.
Adams looked more comfortable in his second game back from injury, scoring 12 points and dishing out four assists in his first double-figure showing since November 27th against Abilene Christian.
Over his last three games, Paez is averaging 9.6 points and 5.3 assists. He also hit 4-of-8 shots from the floor tonight, marking the ninth time in 12 games this season he’s hit exactly 50 percent from the field.
Taylor led the APSU Govs with 10 rebounds, marking the 80th time in his Austin Peay career he led the way on the glass. With 24 points, he also earned his 51st career double-double.
The win is the Governors third straight against Tennessee Tech, their longest win streak since 2007-09 (four games).
Sophomore Alec Woodard was the fifth Gov in double figures with 10 points, the second time in three games he’s reached double digits.
The APSU Govs have now won six-straight Thursday contests dating back to last season.
Milestone Watch—Career: Terry Taylor passed Chris Horton for fourth all-time in program history with 112 career starts. He also passed Trenton Hassell for sole possession of ninth all-time in made free-throws (347).
Coaching Quotables with APSU Head Coach Matt Figger
On the beginning of the game
Tennessee Tech 69, Austin Peay 72
Next Up For APSU Men’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team will be in the friendly confines of the Dunn Center once again on Saturday, and they’ll welcome in a tenacious Jacksonville State squad that just upended Murray State on the road Thursday night and looks to snap a four-game losing streak to the APSU. Saturday’s contest is scheduled to tip at 4:00pm from the Dunn.
TopicsAlec Woodard, APSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Baskteball, APSU Dunn Center, APSU Men's Basketball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Carlos Paez, Chris Horton, Clarksville, Clarksville TN, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Golden Eagles, Governors, Govs, Jacksonville State, Jordyn Adams, Matt Figger, Mike Peake, Murray State, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Tennessee Tech, Terry Taylor
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