Clarksville, TN – Cameron Copeland was the only change to Austin Peay State University’s lineup to begin the second half, but it was the most impactful.
Copeland and Elijah Hutchins-Everett combined to outscore Tennessee State 30-25 after halftime in the Governors’ 76-61 win Saturday. Austin Peay (4-5) closed the series in the Winfield Dunn Center winning five-straight, including four by 15 points or more. The Governors snapped a three-game skid overall.
“In the first half, we didn’t stick to the gameplan,” Austin Peay State University head coach Nate James said. “At halftime, we changed some things because their guards were getting downhill. I think (Marcus) Fitzgerald Jr. had 12, 14 points in the first half, but in the second half, it was completely different. We locked in, defended, took away the 3, outrebounded them, and we held them down. Because of that defensive effort, it really led to our offense (taking off), so now we’re clicking on both ends of the floor.”
The Governors erased a 36-30 halftime deficit by scoring the first eight points after intermission and opening the frame on a 10-1 run through its first 3:42. The Tigers did not make their first second-half field goal until the 14:30 mark and were outscored 33-10 in the first 13 minutes. Austin Peay State University outscored Tennessee State (4-4) 47-25 in the final period. Hutchins-Everett tallied 16 of his 19 points in the half. Copeland scored 14 of his 16 points in the period.
“I picked up my physicality on the defensive end, and we got a lot of stops,” Copeland said. “It gave me a lot of confidence on the offensive end.”
Hutchins-Everett shot 4-of-6 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes. Copeland was 6-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-3 from deep. Six of Copeland’s season-high eight rebounds also came in the half.
The APSU Govs shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the floor and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the charity stripe after intermission. Austin Peay State University led by double digits in the final 12:11 and by as many as 17 twice.
“We’re still learning and growing,” James commented. “We’re a very young team, and I like to see steady progress.”
APSU Govs’ Sean Durugordon scored 15 of his career-high 24 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting, including a 3-of-6 clip from deep. His team shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26) from the floor and 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from beyond the arc.
“If we can keep building on this and win these next two home games, we’ll be headed in the right direction,” James said. “Ultimately every win is a great win. I’m so happy that our guys pulled it out, found a way to perform, and we just have to keep getting better.
Next Up For APSU Men’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team hosts Kentucky Christian on December 6th at 6:00pm CT in the fourth of five-straight games in the Dunn Center.