APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Fans won’t soon forget the latest chapter in the long saga between Austin Peay State University men’s basketball and Murray State.
Between a hotly-contested Senior Night tilt and the rarely-seen in-arena weather delay, it was a night to remember for all involved.
Austin Peay Basketball seniors Averyl Ugba, Tre’ Ivory, and Ed Stephens were honored Saturday night. (APSU Sports Information)
As for the basketball game itself, it ultimately belonged to the Racers, who prevailed 73-64 to close out the regular season for both squads.
Freshman Terry Taylor scored the game’s first six points, and had eight before the first media timeout of the first half. That was part of a game-opening burst that saw the Govs go on a 10-4 run over the first four-plus minutes, capped by a Senior Night scoop at the rim by Tre’ Ivory, who was one of three pregame honorees.
Ivory and Taylor accounted for the entirety of the Governors offense through the first 10 minutes, combining for the Govs first 17 points until senior Averyl Ugba got on the board with 9:07 remaining.
As the half went on, the defense tightened up—Murray State committed nine first-half turnovers and were limited to just 30.4 percent shooting, while Taylor banked in two threes en route to 16 first-half points. With those factors in play, the Govs cruised into halftime with a 37-23 advantage, leading the first half wire-to-wire.
Murray State entered the night with a chance to snare the outright conference regular-season championship for a reason, and with that title suddenly hanging in the balance, the Racers roared back. A quick 6-0 run to open the second half forced an Austin Peay timeout, and the visitors scored the half’s first 11 points before Taylor answered with yet another three, one of his career-high five on the night.
By the under-16 media timeout, the Governors lead had been whittled to two points. On a Jonathan Stark layup with 14:36 to go, the Racers took the lead for the first time. With momentum firmly with the visitors and the Govs on the wrong side of a 22-5 run, Austin Peay called time to regroup.
A three-point play by junior Chris Porter-Bunton began to swing the pendulum back Austin Peay’s way, and with it began a vigorous back-and-forth battle befitting the annals of this historic rivalry. Stark hit a three; Taylor countered on the other end. Terrell Miller Jr. posted a lay-up on the fast break; freshman Dayton Gumm answered back with a three of his own.
The tit-for-tat continued until Murray State embarked on a 10-0 run that turned a tie game into a 10-point lead for the visitors.
And then the roof fell in.
At 9:02pm, a piece of the ceiling crumbled to the floor on the south end of the facility; leaking immediately followed. School and conference officials assessed the situation, with both teams retreating to their respective locker rooms until roughly 11:00pm.
At 12:07am, play resumed for the final 5:49 of regulation. Despite holding Murray State without a field goal for more than three hours, the Racers used white-hot 76.2 percent (16-of-21) second-half shooting to erase all hopes of a comeback.
It really all boiled down to second-half shooting. The Racers hit the aforementioned 76.2 percent, while the Govs could muster just 28.1 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes.
After being limited to just six total rebounds in the previous meeting with Murray State, Ugba pulled down 10 in the first half, his season’s eighth double-digit rebounding performance. He finished with 12 boards to go with 12 points for his season’s ninth double-double.
The 18 points in the paint represented a season-low for the Governors.
Taylor finished with 24 points, his season’s sixth 20-point outing and first since Jan. 27 against Morehead State. He passed Howard Wright (1967-68) for third all-time in single-season scoring by a freshman with 456 points.
Taylor’s five made three-pointers also represented a season-high by a Governor.
The Governors minus-10 rebounding disadvantage marked its largest during conference play and second-largest of the season.
The announced attendance of 4,343 was a season-high for the Govs at home.
Coaching Quotables with Head Coach Matt Figger
On the game
“This is the first time in 25 years I’ve experienced this (weather delay). I experienced so many different emotions, from being so proud of a group of guys who came out ready to play to being so disappointed in a group of guys who just laid it down.”
One the second half
“We decided we weren’t going to offensive rebound, we didn’t get back in transition. You can’t beat a team trying to win the league with that kind of effort in the second half.”
Next Up for APSU Men’s Basketball
It’s tourney time for the Governors, as they travel to Evansville, Indiana—site of the Ford Center and the 2018 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament. As the No. 3 seed, the Govs are guaranteed a bye until Thursday, at which point they will play the winner of the Eastern Illinois-Tennessee State contest; the Govs tip off in tournament play for the first time since winning it all in 2016 at 8:30pm, Thursday, March 1st.
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.
Web Site: http://www.apsugovernors.com
SectionsAssociations, Austin Peay State University, Basketball (Men), Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Sports
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Dunn Center, APSU Men's Basketball, APSU Sports, Austin Peay State University, Averyl Ugba, Chris Porter-Bunton, Clarksville TN, Dayton Gumm, Eastern Illinois, Ford Center, Governors, Govs, Jonathan Stark, Matt Figger, Morehead State, Murray State, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, OVC Tournament, Racers, Senior Night, Tennessee State, Terrell Mill Jr., Terry Taylor, Tre Ivory, Weather Delays