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APSU opens OVC play with Belmont

APSU Athletics Communications

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

Clarksville, Tenn. —With the non-conference schedule behind them, Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team gets a big early Ohio Valley Conference test against Belmont in a 2:30 p.m., Saturday contest at the Dunn Center.

The Bruins will be well-rested heading into the matchup; off since Dec. 22, Belmont has played just 10 games in 2016-17—two fewer than any other OVC squad. The Bruins have won their last three road contests after dropping early-season trips to Vanderbilt and Rhode Island.

The Govs, meanwhile, will relish the opportunity to play at home again—Austin Peay has been on the road to five of their last seven opponents, tallying more than 3,000 miles on the bus to and from. During halftime, Flying Houndz Frisbee Trick Dog Show will perform as well.

Scouting the Bruins

The Bruins have been one of the top squads in the Ohio Valley Conference since joining the league in 2013, reaching at least the semifinals of the conference tournament in each season and never entering the tournament seeded lower than third. This game will feature a battle between two of the most efficient post players in the conference–Evan Bradds (20.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 61.6 FG%) and APSU’s Kenny Jones (14.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 61.9 FG%) are two of four OVC players ranking in the conference’s top-15 in scoring, rebounding and shooting as conference play begins.

Summing up Western Kentucky

Down 22 with less than 15 minutes to go in the second half, Austin Peay got big contributions from Bowling Green natives Jared Savage (11 of his season-high 24 points) and Chris Porter-Bunton (nine points) to storm back and make it a three-point game with less than four minutes to play against Western Kentucky. Simply put, the surging Governors comeback aspirations ran out of time in a 97-92 loss to the Hilltoppers, Dec. 28.

Last Time Out Against Belmont

In one of the all-time classics, Austin Peay outlasted the Bruins in a 97-96 overtime thriller in the semifinals of the 2016 OVC Tournament, hanging on when replay showed that Craig Bradshaw’s last-second tip-in left his hand after the buzzer sounded. Chris Horton (30 points, 16 rebounds) battled OVC Player of the Year Evan Bradds (32 points on 15-for-16 shooting) to a draw, with Josh Robinson (25 points) and Jared Savage (21 points) combining for all eight of Austin Peay’s three-pointers.

Keep An Eye On…

  • Robinson has a career-long five game streak of 20-point performances after leading all scorers with 26 at Western Kentucky; he’s averaging 24.2 ppg during that stretch.
  • Jones has shot at least 60 percent from the floor in 11 of 14 games this season.
  • Robinson needs 18 points to pass Joe Sibbitt (1994-98) for 19th all-time and is seven three-pointers away from passing Travis Betran (2012-14) for ninth all-time.
  • Austin Peay seeks to snap an eight-game streak of opponents hitting at least 50 percent from the floor.
  • After averaging 5.5 three-pointers over their previous six contests, the Govs broke out with 12 threes at Western Kentucky, one off their season-high.