Clarksville, TN – Picked to finish 11th out of the 12 teams in the Ohio Valley Conference’s preseason basketball poll, Austin Peay State University’s men’s basketball team has shown some tenacity in its first two conference games, getting out to its first 2-0 start in league play in four seasons.
Behind the play of freshman guard/forward Terry Taylor and senior forward transfer Averyl Ugba – who both posted back-to-back double-doubles — the Govs not only won their first two games to open conference play in four years, but by margins of 20 and 16 points – the first time since the 2004-05 season the Govs have won their first two OVC contests by double figures.
By the way, the Govs reached the OVC Tournament championship game that season.
But while it is still very early in conference play the fact that the Govs — who return sixth fewest returning letterwinners (4), the fifth fewest minutes played by returnees (1,392) and eighth fewest overall starts by returnees (32) in the nation – the fact that they are 2-0 to start OVC play is compelling to say the least.
While it just hasn’t been just Taylor (15.2 ppg) and Ugba (12.9 ppg) that have helped power the Govs to the 2-0 start, the truth is if you look at every team in the OVC that has also won its first two conference contests (Murray State, Jacksonville State, Belmont, Tennessee Tech) each has a one-two scoring threat that the other teams in the conference don’t have on as consistent a basis.
But it’s not just scoring from the two that has been notable, with Taylor (8.1 rpg) and Ugba (7.1 rpg) also being the only two players from the same team in the OVC to be in the Top-10 in the conference in rebounding.
That fact has helped the Govs outscore its opponents by an average of 18 points and 12.5 rebounds in the first two conference wins.
Also helping get the Govs out to a quick start has been their defense, which has been among the best in the nation statistically, being seventh in the nation in turnover forced, 29th in total steals and steals per game.
That has helped the Govs post the OVC’s best scoring defense in the first two conference games (56.0 ppg), second in field goal percentage (.364), third in three-point field goal percentage (.268) and third in steals (14) all while only sending their opponents to the line an average of 14 times a game.
While the start has been great the tests will only get tougher with Tennessee Martin coming into the Dunn Center January 4th and Southeast Missouri on January 6th before the Govs head out for their first OVC road swing of the season.
About Chris Austin
Chris Austin is a graduate of Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University.
Chris is a former Head Softball Coach for APSU, and assistant basketball coach for CHS.
Chris has worked at the Leaf-Chronicle, and WJZM News/Talk/Sports radio. Has also worked at the Sports Information Department at APSU, and has covered championship events for the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA.
Chris is an avid sports fan and can be found at most Austin Peay State University sports events.
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
SectionsAustin Peay State University, Basketball (Men), Belmont University, Colleges, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Schools, Sports
TopicsAPSU, Austin Peay, Austin Peay State University, Averyl Ugba, Belmont, Clarksville TN, Dunn Center, Governors, Govs, Jacksonville State., Jan. 4th, Murray State, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Southeast Missouri. Jan. 6th, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Martin, Terry Taylor