Taylor’s 42-point performance leads Austin Peay Govs to road win at Morehead State
APSU Sports Information
Morehead, KY – It seems like Terry Taylor is tired of being the unsung superstar of the Ohio Valley Conference. The sophomore put up 42 points and 18 boards, and Austin Peay State University (APSU) men’s basketball team needed every bit of it in a 73-70 win at Morehead State, Saturday, to ensure they will bypass the first round of OVC Tournament play next month in Evansville.
Austin Peay Basketball sophomore Terry Taylor has 42 points and 18 rebounds in win over Morehead State, Saturday. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay (19-8, 11-3 OVC) got off to a much more sluggish start than they’re accustomed to, hitting just 33 percent from the floor over the first eight-plus minutes of action.
Even after the shots began to fall, Morehead State (10-17, 6-8) maintained an early edge, building their lead to double-digits with 5:30 to play in the first half.
Chris Porter-Bunton got the tide turned back in the Governors favor. The senior—who hit the bench very early in the first half with foul trouble—was reinserted late in the half to help stop the Eagles. He rewarded head coach Matt Figger‘s faith in him by nailing a three and adding the and-one to kickstart an 18-7 run to close the half.
Porter-Bunton and Taylor each had nine during the run to send the Govs into the break with a 33-32 lead.
The Govs then opened the second half on a 17-3 run, including a sky-scraping long-ball from Taylor, to take a 15-point lead and looked to have the game firmly in hand. Although Morehead State finally righted the ship, Austin Peay still led by 13 with just 7:30 to play in the contest.
It took not quite four minutes for the Eagles to tie the game. Six different Eagles scored during the run to tie the game, with a James Baker three putting the Eagles ahead once again.
The final two minutes were a chess match. Senior Steve Harris got into the lane and sank a lay-up but was answered almost immediately by a Jordan Walker three. A second-chance look for the Govs missed, but Taylor drew a crucial charge with 47 seconds to play and Porter-Bunton sank a huge three as the shot clock wound down on the other end to put the Govs up a pair.
Again Morehead State charge the lane looking for a quick bucket and again the Govs moved into perfect position, with Porter-Bunton drawing the charge this time. The teams exchanged fouls and free-throws missed and made in the dying seconds, and Morehead State’s three-quarters court heave as time expired drew iron, allowing the Govs to bring a big league win back to Clarksville.
Taylor. 42 points represents the most by an OVC player this season and the first 40-point night by a Governor since Derek Wright in a triple-overtime thriller against Southeast Missouri, January 29th, 2008.
The 18 rebounds also were a career-best for the Bowling Green native, who posted his season’s 10th double-digit rebound game and ninth double-double and led the Govs in scoring for the 15th time. Just for kicks, he set the Johnson Arena single-game scoring record by a league opponent.
The win is the Govs third in a row against the Eagles, longest for either side in the rivalry since Austin Peay won six in a row from 2003-06.
More re: Taylor: His first point of the night was his 500th of the season, making him just the second player in program with history to score 500 points in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He set or tied career-highs in field goals (15) and three-point field goals (five) and is now averaging 26.4 points on 55.6 percent (69-of-124) shooting from the floor and 83.3 percent (30-of-36) shooting at the charity stripe. He’s also enjoying 2.8 made three-pointers per game and upped his rebounding average to 9.4 rebounds over the last seven outings.
Morehead State finished with 11 blocked shots, nearly doubling the second-most by an Austin Peay opponent this season.
Austin Peay’s 23-game streak of 40-percent shooting nights was snapped against the Eagles.
With 10 three-pointers, the Govs have sank double-digit threes as a team seven times this season, most this decade.
Porter-Bunton’s 19 points marked his 40th career double-digit scoring effort. He sank a career-high five three-pointers to aid the effort. He’ll need to average 17.5 points over the season’s final four games to break into the 1,000-point club ahead of the OVC Tournament.
The Govs are now 14-0 when outscoring their opponents in points off turnover.
Austin Peay committed just eight turnovers and are averaging 6.5 turnovers over the last four games.
The Govs got just one point from the bench, a season-low.
Austin Peay secured a season sweep of Morehead State for the first time since 2007-08 and earned their first 4-1 start to February since that 2007-08 season.
The win is Austin Peay’s first in Morehead since 2008.
Coaching Quotables with APSU head coach Matt Figger
“The two guys I’ve depended on all year—Terry Taylor and Chris Porter-Bunton—refused to let us lose the game. I mean come on, 42 points and 18 rebounds? And Chris had 19 and was saddled with foul trouble and made big shots when he had to. Those guys really, really stepped up. And Zach Glotta, I thought played really well but the stats aren’t going to show it.”
On the start of the second half
“To extend the lead, we did an unbelievable job coming out of the half guarding (Jordan) Walker. And then after we got the 15 point lead, well, here we go.”
“I believed in him. He’s the vocal leader of our team, he’s the heart and soul when it comes to toughness and he drives me nuts sometimes. Since I stepped foot on this campus, me and that dude have a different relationship and nobody else in the world understands it. We have a special bond—I’m an ornery dude, he’s an ornery dude and sometimes we butt heads but at the end of the day we both want the same thing.”
Up Next for APSU Govs
Austin Peay returns home for the final weekend of play in the Dunn Center when it hosts Southeast Missouri for a Thursday night contest, the second game of a Thursday night doubleheader with the women’s contest scheduled to tip at 5:30 p.m.