TN Sports 360

Govs waste Taylor’s 25 in home-finale loss

APSU Athletics Communications

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE—Austin Peay saw its home schedule end with a 76-69 defeat against Eastern Illinois despite a dominant twin-towers performance from Mike Peake and Terry Taylor, who played his final game in the Dunn Center, Saturday.

Prior to tipoff, Taylor and Reginald Gee were honored for their contributions to the program during their time in Clarksville. Taylor got out quickly with a dozen points over the first eight minutes of action, including a pair of threes barely a minute apart to put the Govs up 19-11. But after Taylor’s second three, the Govs went nearly six minutes with a make from the floor, which allowed the Panthers to cut Austin Peay’s lead to a single point.

Carlos Paez jumper jump-started the offense late in the half; a Taylor layup and a Paez three helped send the Govs into the break with a 33-30 advantage on the visitors.

The second half revealed Eastern Illinois as a team starting to find itself after a deluge of COVID-19 and injury concerns this season. The Govs and Panthers engaged in a furious back and forth over the first 10 minutes of the half, which saw Gee pop off for a pair of threes, Taylor convert a three-point play and Elton Walker come flying in for a furious two-handed putback dunk to tie the game with 12:05 to play at 52-52

Eastern Illinois made it a two-possession game thanks to four straight points from Marvin Johnson at the 7:32 mark but the Govs countered on a Peake layup and big Alec Woodard three-pointer. When the Panthers tried to pull away again, Taylor answered with a layup and a jumper to tie it again with 4:33 to play.

Mack Smith swished his fifth three of the night on the next possession; two possessions later George Dixon made it a five-point game with a layup. When Peake laid one in with 2:25 to play, it would be Austin Peay’s final make of the night; the Panthers would close out the game at the free-throw line as the Govs missed five straight threes to close out the game.

The Difference

It was the shooting. Eastern Illinois hit 55.3 percent (26-for-47) from the floor and 64.3 percent (9-for-14) from three, compared to 38.3 percent (23-for-60) and 27.6 percent (8-for-29) for the Govs.

Notably

  • The loss is Austin Peay’s first to Eastern Illinois in the Dunn Center since 2016.
  • Taylor secured the 500th offensive rebound of his offensive career.
  • Taylor and Peake are the first Govs to post double-doubles in the same game since Feb. 27, 2020 (Taylor and Eli Abaev). For Peake, it also served as a career-high in rebounding.
  • In his final home appearance as a Gov, Gee reached double figures for the 10th time this season with 11 points.
  • The Govs outscored their opponent in points off turnover for the ninth straight game (17-13). They also kept alive their streak of forcing bushels of turnovers, harassing Eastern Illinois into 18 miscues, the 28th straight game they’ve forced at least 10 turnovers.
    • The Govs are plus-28 in turnover margin over the last seven outings.
    • The Govs are posting 19.5 points per game off turnover over the last 10 games.
  • Since Jan. 30, the Govs are hitting 81.7 percent (156-for-191) as a team at the free-throw line.
  • Peake remains steady from the floor this season, hitting 62.9 percent (66-for-105) over his last 16 games.
  • Austin Peay’s 29 three-point attempts were a season-high.
  • Alec Woodard is now hitting 45.8 percent (11-for-24) from three over his last eight games.

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