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Govs open tourney action against Eagles

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Director

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — One more goal remains for Austin Peay this season, and the Govs begin that march Thursday in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

Austin Peay will face Morehead State in the quarterfinals in Evansville. Austin Peay last defeated Morehead State in the OVC Tournament in the quarterfinals in 1987, the beginning of a title run that also featured an NCAA Tournament victory against Illinois.

A win would send the Govs into the OVC Tournament semifinals for the second straight season, where they would once again face Belmont—the third clash between those programs in the tournament semifinals in the last four seasons. That clash of blue-blood programs would take place 7 p.m., Friday, in front of an ESPNU audience.

Scouting the Field

The Govs went 8-4 against the tournament field this season, with only one loss against a team outside the top-two (at Eastern Illinois, Jan. 19). Four Govs averaged in double figures during those games, led by Terry Taylor’s 24.6 ppg performance against the league’s top-eight. Jabari McGhee bumped his overall averages of 9.0 points and 6.6 rebounds up to 10.1 ppg and 7.3 rpg against these teams. As a team, Austin Peay shot 40.2 percent from deep against these foes, with three individuals—Taylor, Chris Porter-Bunton and Jarrett Givens—hitting better than 40 percent as individuals.

Last Time at the OVC Tournament

The Govs earned the bye to the quarterfinals in 2017-18 as well, squaring off against Eastern Illinois in their first contest. Down 14 at halftime, Austin Peay rallied back thanks to a slew of second-half three-pointers from Zach Glotta to stun the Panthers in a 73-66 win, March 1, to send the Govs onward to the semifinals against the second-seeded Bruins of Belmont–the same foe Austin Peay will face if the Govs take care of business in the 2019 quarterfinals.

Despite double-double efforts from Terry Taylor and Averyl Ugba, the Govs could not overcome a hot-shooting Belmont squad in the semis, dropping a 94-79 decision thanks in large part to the Bruins Amanze Egekeze, who hit eight threes in the second half alone.

Keep An Eye On

  • A win would send the Govs into the OVC Tournament semifinals for the second straight season and third time in four years.
  • Taylor is shooting 55.0 percent (105-of-191) from the floor and 80.0 percent (48-of-60) from the free-throw line over the last 11 games.
  • Austin Peay has been its most successful self this season when Zach Glotta and Jarrett Givens are popping from deep. In wins, that duo is hitting 43.1 percent (96-of-223) from three, a number that drops to 31.8 percent (27-of-85) in losses.
  • Three Governors—Chris Porter-BuntonZach Glotta and Jarrett Givens—rank among the top-15 in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage, tied for most in the league.
  • A win would make Austin Peay 11-7 in March since 2010.
  • Senior Chris Porter-Bunton needs 17 points for 1,000 in his Austin Peay career.
  • A win would be the Govs fourth neutral-site win in 2018-19, equaling the 1996 and 2016 teams for second-most in program history behind only the 2000-01 team.