TN Sports 360

Terry drops game-winning 3-pointer

APSU Athletics Communications

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

CHARLESTON, Ill.—When Terry Taylor is at his best, Austin Peay is tough to beat.

Taylor was at his very best Saturday against Eastern Illinois. And when the Govs needed him most, he answered the call one more time, banking home the game-winning three as time expired to send Austin Peay home victorious in a 74-71 decision against the Panthers.

The Govs brought energy straight out of the locker room to start this game. Right away, Austin Peay went straight to Taylor as the tone-setter, and he poured in eight of Austin Peay’s first 11 points.

In writing, this is what’s known as foreshadowing.

Eastern Illinois scored 22 of the next 32 points to take a brief lead near the six-minute mark, and over the course of that eight-and-a-half minutes the Panthers held Taylor to one point and forced three turnovers. Had the Panthers maintained that energy, perhaps the outcome is different.

But Terry Taylor is inevitable. Like the rising and setting of the sun, he is a force that can be expected, not just feared. If you’re very lucky, you can contain him but stopping him? Forget about it.

The Govs closed the first half on a 13-4 run to take a 35-29 lead into halftime. Seven of those points belonged to Taylor, including a rainbow three-pointer as the shot clock expired to put the Govs back in front.

The Govs would never trail again, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The start of the second half was heralded by 16-8 run for the Govs, with Taylor accounting for nine of those points. Staked to a 14-point lead, the tide seemed firmly in favor of the Governors with 14 minutes to play.

But this is Eastern Illinois and Jay Spoonhour’s Panthers are known for erasing large deficits in their building. Even with All-OVC sharpshooter Josiah Wallace sidelined after going down hard early in the second half, the Panthers had the shooting and tenacity to get back in the contest.

And slowly, Eastern Illinois began crawling back into the game. Henry Abraham hit a three. Marvin Johnson converted a three-point play. Johnson answered a Jordyn Adams three-pointer with one of his own. Barlow Alleruzzo IV and Mack Smith hit threes on back-to-back possessions. The Govs had become no less potent on the offensive end—Taylor had 10 during this time, with both Adams and Alec Woodard nailing clutch threes—but suddenly the Panthers could not be tamed.

At the final media timeout of the game, the Govs led 69-61. At the two-minute mark, it was 71-65. Then Smith hit a three with 1:05 to play; and another with 12.7 to go. Tie game.

Timeout Govs. And at this point, anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of high-stakes basketball plays knew exactly where the ball was going.

Credit the Panthers on the final play. Defensively, they could not have asked for more—they harassed Woodard and Carlos Paez in the backcourt, forcing them to dump the ball to Taylor, not at or near the basket but instead just a few steps inside halfcourt.

Did that matter? Dear reader, it did not. Taylor took two dribbles up the left wing, rose and banked home a three as time expired, the last of his 38 points the most crucial for the Govs and heartbreaking for the Panthers.

Just another day at the office for the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year.

The Difference

Eastern Illinois got 28 rebounds as a team; Taylor had 17 by himself to lead the Govs to a plus-15 (43-28) effort on the glass.

Notably

  • Austin Peay won in Charleston for the first time since 2018; the Govs have now won four of their last five against the Panthers.
  • Austin Peay moved to 5-0 this season when outshooting its opponent, and 5-0 when holding its opponent below 45 percent from the field.
  • In his first appearance since Dec. 8, Adams posted seven points, four assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes.
  • Taylor secured the 50th double-double of his Austin Peay career, finishing with 17 rebounds in addition to the aforementioned 38 points. He’s one of 16 Division I players since 2010 with 50 career double-doubles. He also scored in double figures for the 100th time in 111 career games, reached 20 points for the 50th time during his career and reached 30 points for the 15th time as a Gov.
  • The Govs committed a season-low 12 fouls against the Panthers.
  • In the last three games, opponents have hit 29 three-pointers against the Govs, a 9.7 per-game clip.
  • Reginald Gee is averaging 11.5 points over his last six games after a tidy eight-point outing against the Panthers. He also equaled his career high with six rebounds.
  • Taylor set team season-highs for points, rebounds, field goals (a career-high 16) and field goal attempts (31).
  • Milestone Watch—Career: Taylor tied Chris Horton for fourth all-time with 111 career starts. He also equaled Trenton Hassell for ninth all-time in made free-throws with 346.

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