Clarksville, TN – Led by six Governors scoring in double figures, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team cruised to a 92-63 victory over Life in its exhibition contest on Thursday night inside the Winfield Dunn Center.
Behind Copeland was freshman Elijha Hutchins-Everett with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. Hutchins-Everett scored half of his points from the charity stripe where he was a perfect 8-for-8. Redshirt senior Tariq Silver registered 12 points in his debut followed by redshirt freshman Caleb Stone-Carrawell and freshman Drew Calderon each scoring 11.
Rounding out the double-digit scoring was redshirt senior Corbin Merritt off the bench with 10 points. Merritt also corralled five rebounds to go along with one block and one assist in 11 minutes of action. The Lloyd, FL, native was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.
As a team, APSU shot a staggering 54.1 percent from the field while going 9-of-24 from long distance. Austin Peay State University outrebounded Life, 37-26 with a 12-9 advantage on the offensive glass. The Govs defense stifled the Running Eagles all night, forcing 15 turnovers and scoring 13 points off those turnovers.
The APSU Govs raced out of the gate in their first game under head coach Nate James, earning an early 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game. A minute later Copeland knocked down his lone three-pointer of the first half to cap off three straight made field goals for the Govs to extend their lead to 14-3.
After taking a 17-6 lead with 14:30 remaining, the Govs went scoreless from the field during a three-minute span in which the Running Eagles cut the lead down to eight. It didn’t take long for the Austin Peay State University offense to heat back up as a 15-foot jumper from Copeland along with five straight points from Silver gave the Govs a 14-point lead at the halfway mark of the first half.
The Govs embarked on a 9-0 run highlighted by a sensational coast-to-coast dunk from Copeland to gain a 39-22 advantage with under four minutes to play. The offense was in full swing to end the first half as Austin Peay State University made eight of its final nine field goals to take a 49-27 lead into the locker room. In the first half, APSU shot 59.3 percent from the field including a stellar 5-of-12 from long distance.
The second half began just like the first as the Govs stormed out of the gate with a 5-0 run thanks to a pair of free throws from Hutchins-Everett along with a three from Calderon. The Running Eagles made a run of their own to start the second half, connecting on six of their first eight field goals to trim the Austin Peay lead down to 60-44 with 12 minutes to play.
Knocking down his second three-pointer of the night, Silver propelled the Govs to a 70-51 lead with eight minutes remaining. The Silver three kicked off an offensive outburst for Austin Peay, making five of its next six field goals to extend its lead to 84-59 with four minutes remaining.
Down the stretch it was the Govs defense that paved the way for victory, holding Life scoreless the final 2:53 en route to a 92-63 exhibition victory.
Quotables with APSU head coach Nate James
On Offensive & Defensive Performance….“With our depth I really think that we can wear teams out I think our defensive effort showed that. As we get into real games, we hope that all of the offensive scoring and guys making shots continues.”
On Cameron Copeland…“He’s learning to bring it every day and find that consistency. I thought he played really well and he has such a high ceiling and is very talented.
On Team Performance…“For all our guys, we want just everyone to play for the name on the front and if we play that way and play hard then great things are going to happen for all of us.”
Next Up For APSU Men’s Basketball
With exhibition play in the rear-view mirror, the Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team looks ahead to the 2021-22 season opener on Tuesday, November 9th against UT Southern. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm inside the Winfield Dunn Center.
Life 63, Austin Peay 92