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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 | 8:00pm CT
Jacksonville, AL | Pete Mathews Coliseum
Jacksonville, AL – Call it the second season…the new season…or the real season…but whatever the case Austin Peay men’s basketball will open Ohio Valley Conference play, 8:00pm, Thursday, when it faces Jacksonville State in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The Governors come in after an uneven 5-9 non-conference season.
Austin Peay Men’s Basketball travels to Jacksonville State Thursday. (APSU Sports Information)
Last week, the Govs rallied to defeat North Florida, 65-60, holding the Ospreys 12 points below their scoring average.
Then Saturday, the Govs played some of their season’s best basketball in the first 17 minutes against Ole Miss.
It unraveled in the final 2:40 of half and the Rebels’ size inside and depth caught up to the Govs in the second half in the Govs’ final non-league game against an Ole Miss team that took No. 1 ranked Kentucky to overtime, Tuesday night.
As a result, APSU hopes it can take some momentum into the contest at JSU. Senior forward Chris Freeman is shooting 70 percent from the floor over the last three games, averaging 16.7 points per game. Junior forward/guard Khalil Davis has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, including 20 points against Ole Miss.
Meanwhile, senior guard Ed Dyson has tallied double figures in five of the last six games while junior preseason All-OVC center Chris Horton has recorded double figures in four of the last five games, including a trio of double-doubles.
Despite the Ole Miss final outcome, it is on the defensive end where the Govs have displayed the most improvement. In the season’s first eight games, opponents shot greater than 47 percent from the floor.
In the last six, opponents are shooting 44 percent. It will be the defensive end that ultimately that will decide APSU’s OVC fortunes for a team that at times incurs offensive challenges.
The Governors come in one of three OVC schools who have yet to play a league game. In fact, JSU comes in 0-2 in the league after losing both at SIUE, 73-57, and Eastern Illinois, 59-50 in overtime. It was the Gamecocks fourth and fifth straight losses, dropping them to 7-9 on the season.
But Jacksonville State is a different team at Pete Mathews Coliseum. It is 6-0 at home, including verdicts against Winthrop, UNC Asheville and Dartmouth.
The balanced Gamecocks are led by senior guard Darion Rackley, who is the team’s only double-figure scorer at 13.4 points per game. Rackley has been a Govs nemesis in the past. Juco transfer JaQuail Townser, a 6-3 point guard, has provided the Gamecocks with an impressive lift in his first season, leading the team in assists (3.8 apg) and steals.
Like the Govs, JSU relies on its defense. The Gamecocks permit just 68.4 points per game. Also like the Govs, they can struggle on the offensive end, scoring just 63.8 points per outing.
APSU coach Dave Loos will have another potential weapon at his disposal. Damarius Smith, who sat out the first 14 games as a result of an athletic department suspension, is eligible to return. The Clarksville native led APSU in assists a year ago at 5.6 per game.
However, he will have to find his niche with the 2014-15 club over the next few weeks in getting comfortable with his teammates.
What You Should Know
The Series: This is the 22nd meeting between OVC members Austin Peay and Jacksonville State, with the Govs holding a 17-4 advantage in the series. However, Jacksonville State has won the last three meetings, including a 71-59 victory last year in the Dunn Center. The Govs last won at the Pete Mathews Coliseum in 2011, a 73-70 conquest.
What A Win Would Mean: The Govs would improve to 6-9…it would be APSU’s first road win of 2014-15…Austin Peay would open OVC play with a win for the second season in a row and the 11th time since the turn of the century…the Govs would improve to 22-30 all-time in Ohio Valley Conference openers…it would APSU’s first win in the series since Jan. 14, 2012… the Govs go to 18-4 all-time against the Gamecocks…they would go to 1-1 in January…it would be APSU’s first win of 2015…it would make Dave Loos 18-4 all-time against Jacksonville State… it would make Loos 8-3 against JSU head coach James Green…it would be Dave Loos’ 471st career victory.
What A Loss Would Mean: The Govs would fall to 5-10 overall..they would open 2015 with two straight losses…it would leave the Govs 0-8 on the road…the eight-game road losing streak would be Austin Peay’s longest since the 2012-13 campaign…the Govs would fall to 21-31 all-time in OVC openers…it would mark the third time in the last four seasons Austin Peay lost its OVC opener…it would make the Govs 17-5 all-time against the Gamecocks… Loos would fall to 17-5 against the Gamecocks…APSU would fall to 12-13 under Loos in OVC openers…Loos would drop to 470-414 overall and 388-361 as the Governors head coach.
Radio • Governors Sports Network Play-by-Play: David Loos Analyst: Brad Kirtley
Governors On The Web
Live Video: www.OVCDigitalNetwork.com/showcase Live Audio: www.LetsGoPeay.com Live Statistics: www.statbroadcast.com
About APSU Sports Information
Austin Peay State University Sports Information provides the latest news and updates on the Athletic endeavors of the student-athletes at APSU. Under the direction of Brad Kirtley, the APSU SID’s office consists of Cody Bush, and Colby Wilson. To contact the APSU Sports Information office, contact, 931.221.7561.