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Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team wasn’t messing around Thursday night.
From the opening tip, the Govs were committed on both ends of the court and it resulted in a resounding 79-57 win against SIU Edwardsville to complete the season sweep of the Cougars.
Coupled with a Jacksonville State loss at Belmont, the win puts Austin Peay State University (14-9, 10-7 in the league) within a half-game of fourth place in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.
SIU Edwardsville (8-13, 6-9 OVC) drops closer to its competition for the final two spots in the league tournament, especially with Eastern Illinois picking up a win against Murray State earlier in the evening.
Two names that have started to make a lot more noise in recent weeks carried the Govs in the first half. Mike Peake showcased his potential both as a rim-runner with a thunderous dunk in the early going and his bonafides as a shooter with a pair of threes during Austin Peay’s 21-10 run that opened up a 17-point lead late in the half.
Peake had 13 at the break, while freshman Tai’Reon Joseph was the other Govs scoring the ball in the first half, knocking down a pair of threes, and scoring Austin Peay State University’s final bucket of the half on a baseline drive with 3:16 to play.
The APSU Govs going cold late allowed the Cougars to close the half on a 7-0 run to cut the Cougar deficit to 10 points at the half, which has been a storyline of late: allowing teams to hang around.
Could the Govs put the Cougars away in the second half?
Perhaps, with Peake and Joseph doing the bulk of the heavy lifting in the first half, Terry Taylor could be considered out of sight, if never, ever out of mind. But the reigning OVC Player of the Year is averaging a 20-10 for the last two seasons for a reason—because night-in and night-out, that’s the production you’re going to get from him.
Taylor scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, an onslaught that will hopefully be another chapter in his candidacy to retain his mantle as league player of the year. Peake finished with a career-high 20 and eight boards, Gee scored 10 of his 13 in the second half and Joseph added a dozen to polish off the Cougars.
Only briefly, early in the half, was SIU Edwardsville able to cut the deficit back to single digits but the Governors used a suffocating defense and quality offensive looks, via mismatches inside for Taylor and Peake or kick-outs to Joseph and Gee to coast to a comfortable win in the regular season’s penultimate home appearance.
The Governors dominated on the glass, outrebounding SIU Edwardsville 40-27. That also led to a sizable disparity in second-chance points, with the Govs getting 23 to six for the Cougars. The win moved the APSU Govs to 9-2 this season when winning the rebounding battle.
This is Austin Peay State University’s 13th straight win against SIU Edwardsville, its longest active streak against a league opponent. It also marked the seventh straight win for the Govs over the Cougars in the Dunn Center.
Carlos Paez finished 4-for-4 at the line in this one and has hit 33 straight free throws since January 2nd. He also recorded his season’s 100th assist during the contest.
Good teams get it done at the line, right? Over the last nine games, Austin Peay State Univesity is hitting 81.0 percent (141-for-174) as a team after going 20-for-23 at the stripe against the Cougars.
The APSU Govs hit 20 or more free throws in back-to-back games for the first time since February 13th-15th, 2020.
Peake’s 20 points marked his first career 20-piece as a Gov. And he did it with the consistency that has become standard for him, hitting 5-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-10 at the line. He’s now up to 63.9 percent (62-for-90) from the floor over the last 15 games.
Taylor is now the only player in program history with four straight seasons of 500 or more points.
Make it 27 games in a row dating back to last season that the Govs have forced their opponent into 10 or more turnovers.
Joseph is averaging 13.0 points over his last five games.
Three truths that have been self-evident all season remained true tonight: the Govs remained unbeaten this season when holding opponents below 70 points (11-0), when outshooting their opponent (11-0) and when holding the opponent below 45 percent from the floor (11-0).
Austin Peay State University is plus-22 in turnover margin over the last six games.
Milestone Watch—Career: Terry Taylor became the fourth player in program history with 400 career made free-throws and the third player in program history with 1,200 career rebounds.
Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger
On Eastern Illinois coming up
SIU Edwardsvillle 57, Ausitn Peay 79
Next Up For APSU Men’s Basketball
Saturday will serve as Senior Day for the Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team, with both Reginald Gee and Terry Taylor set to be honored ahead of the game. After that, the Govs will take on Eastern Illinois in a 4:00pm tip from the Dunn Center.
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Dunn Center, APSU Men's Basketball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Belmont, Carlos Paez, Clarksville, Clarksville TN, Cougars, Eastern Illinois, Governors, Govs, Jacksonville State, Matt Figger, Mike Peake, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Reginald Gee, SIU Edwardsville, Tai'reon Joseph, Terry Taylor
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