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UT Martin hits last second shot to beat Austin Peay State University Men’s Basketball, 76-75

APSU Men's BasketballMartin, TN – Ajani Kennedy hit a three-pointer as time expired to stun Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team and give UT Martin a 76-75 victory Monday night from the Elam Center.

Austin Peay State University Men's Basketball freshman guard Ta'Reon Joseph led the Govs with 18 points against UT Martin. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay State University Men’s Basketball freshman guard Ta’Reon Joseph led the Govs with 18 points against UT Martin. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs fall to 11-8 overall, and 7-6 in the league, while UT Martin improves to 7-11 (5-9).

The beginning was mildly concerning, in that it took more than three minutes for the Govs to get a shot from the floor to drop. The good news is that UT Martin wasn’t doing much offensively either; the two teams missed 17 of their first 24 shots as they struggled to find the range.

Sometimes you don’t have it for stretches of play; perhaps the Governors fourth game in seven days caught up to them. The absence of Reginald Gee and Alec Woodard, both for precautionary reasons not related to COVID-19 Coronavirus, couldn’t have helped as it shortened the bench.

Whatever it was, the Governors didn’t get shots to fall and they didn’t stop the Skyhawks on the other end for stretches of the opening 20 minutes.

APSU Men's Basketball - Terry Taylor (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)Add it all together, sprinkle in a very good defensive effort by UT Martin against Terry Taylor over the opening 20 minutes and you have the Govs entering the locker room trailing 43-31.

And then the second half started. One 22-6 Austin Peay State University run later, the Govs were in front.

2020-2021 APSU Men's Basketball - Tai'Reon Joseph. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)As difficult as the first half was for Austin Peay, the start of the second half was the opposite. Bounces went the Governors way, and those bounces became points. Taylor started splitting double teams. Jordyn Adams sank a pair of threes to kickstart the effort. It was all coming up Austin Peay State University and would be that way for the half’s first 10 minutes as the Govs built an eight-point lead at the 9:13 mark.

Even as the Skyhawks began to flash some of their first-half success, the Governors seemed to have a counter every time UT Martin began to string anything together. A 5-0 run was ended by a Tai’Reon Joseph jumper. When a Kennedy jumper cut the Austin Peay lead to two with 2:37 to play, it was Joseph who answered at the other end with a three. Five-point lead for the Govs, 1:53 left.

Credit Kennedy for his part in the late UT Martin heroics; the junior tossed the Skyhawks on his back, draining the game-tying three with just over a minute remaining after a pair of Eman Sertovic free-throws cut the Governor lead to three at the 1:22 mark.

And after Taylor hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to put the Govs back up two, it was Kennedy’s whose number was called again; on the inbounds underneath the Skyhawk basket following an out-of-bounds ball with 2.3 to play, the ball was lobbed to Cameron Holden who turned in the air and kicked to Kennedy; he stepped back from the top of the key and sank a three as the clock expired to stun the APSU Govs and bring heartbreak to the end of this road trip.

The Difference

Unexpectedly, three-point shooting was the difference, and not in Austin Peay State University’s favor. The Govs, who entered play over 40 percent as a team over their last eight and knocking down 8.9 per night. The Skyhawks were averaging fewer than seven threes per game and hitting just 33.6 percent for the season from deep.

But UT Martin got 11 threes to drop at a 47.8 percent clip against the Governors, and Austin Peay State University’s shooting fell off to a 5-for-22 mark for the evening.

APSU Notably

The loss snaps a six-game winning streak for the Govs against UT Martin and is the first to the Skyhawks during Figger’s tenure.

The APSU Govs have forced double-digit turnover numbers out of their last 23 opponents dating back to last season.

Elton Walker hit his first three-pointer since the December 4th outing against Carver; he finished with 11 points, his first double-digit outing since January 2nd.

The Govs were plus-17 in Mike Peake’s 15 minutes of action.

 


 

Joseph was outstanding in his first start since January 2nd, reaching double figures for the first time since the December 21st outing against Murray State.

Austin Peay State University’s 23 second-chance points were a season-high.

Milestone Watch—Career: Terry Taylor became the first player in Austin Peay State University history with 900 career-made field goals. He also passed Nick Stapleton (1998-02) and Bubba Wells (1993-97) for second all-time in shot attempts (1,671). He also passed Josh Robinson (2014-17) for seventh all-time in made free-throws (375) and passed both Wes Channels (2006-10) and Will Triggs (2010-14) to settle into fifth all-time in free-throw attempts (521).

Milestone Watch—OVC: Taylor passed Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky, 2015-19) for fifth in OVC history with 2,330 career points.

Box Score

Austin Peay 75, UT Martin 76

  1 2 F
Austin Peay 31 44 75
UT Martin 43 33 76

 


Next Up For Austin Peay State University Men’s Basketball

For the first time since 2011, the Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team will play the same opponent in back-to-back games when UT Martin makes the return trip to the Dunn Center Thursday, February 11th; tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.

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