Southeast Missouri State (14-15) at Austin Peay (7-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Winfield Dunn Center (9,000) -- Clarksville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: SEMO 9-5, APSU 4-7. Away Record: SEMO 4-8, APSU 2-12. Neutral Record: SEMO 1-2, APSU 1-3. Conference Record: SEMO 6-8, APSU 3-11. Series Record: APSU leads, 32-17.
GAMES NOTES: The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks will try to keep hold of a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament when they visit the Austin Peay Governors for a league tussle at the Dunn Center on Thursday night.
Of the 12 teams in the OVC, only eight move on to play in the conference tournament. Currently SEMO is 6-8 in league action which has it in seventh in the overall league standings while second in the West Division with two games left to play. The Redhawks have won three of their last four league bouts to give themselves some breathing room though they will face off with one of the top teams in the conference next time out against Murray State.
As for the Governors their postseason hopes died officially with a 91-53 loss in their last conference bout against Eastern Kentucky. The Governors are just 3-11 in league play which is the worst record in the OVC in total as is their overall mark of 7-22. Austin Peay has lost 10 of its last 12 games overall including five straight games at the Dunn Center. In a battle of the two bottom teams in the OVC, Austin Peay will face Tennessee-Martin in its season finale.
When these teams met back in early January, SEMO held off a late run from Austin Peay to collect an 86-84 victory. The win was the second in the last three meetings between these teams for the Redhawks who still trail the all- time series by a sizable, 32-17, margin.
A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Ball State's Jauwan Scaife sent SEMO to a loss in its BracketBusters matchup with the Cardinals last time out. The Redhawks had rallied from a 10-point deficit to knot the game at 82-82 with seven seconds left on a 3-pointer from Marland Smith, but the buzzer beater derailed the comeback effort.
As a team SEMO is among the better offensive squads in the OVC. The Redhawks rank fourth in the conference in scoring (72.7 ppg), while handing out the third most assists (14.9 pg) and shooting the third best percentage from the field (.461). The Redhawks lead the OVC in rebounds (37.2 rpg). Tyler Stone (15.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg) leads the scoring attack while serving as a more than capable rebounder. Nino Johnson (11.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.6 bpg) hasn't been as big a scorer as his frontcourt battery mate but he ranks second in the conference in both rebounds and blocks. Corey Wilford (14.3 ppg) is another strong scorer, while Lucas Nutt (5.9 ppg, 4.8 apg) is among the top 10 in assists in the conference.
Austin Peay also lost in heartbreaking fashion in its BracketBusters bout with Liberty. The Governors dropped the 79-73 decision in overtime by shooting just 29.6 percent in the second half to give up an eight-point halftime advantage. In overtime the Governors missed five shots from the free-throw line and hit just 3-of-10 from the field.
The Governors have been a terrible defensive team this season. They are lit up for 76 points per game, while allowing teams to shoot over 45 percent from the field. That has taken away from an otherwise strong effort they have put forth offensively, netting 70.6 points per game, on 45.3 percent from the floor. Travis Betran (17.2 ppg) is one of the better pure scorers in the OVC, ranking fourth in that category. Betran is especially dangerous from 3-point range, where he shoots better than 40 percent. Anthony Campbell (14.6 ppg) is a more than capable second option, while Will Triggs (11.9 ppg) ranks third. Chris Horton (8.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.9 rpg) leads the team in rebounds and the conference in blocks.
With its spot in the OVC Tournament already assured there won't be as much urgency from SEMO. Perhaps that will open the door for a surprise win for Austin Peay.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Austin Peay 75, Southeast Missouri State 72
02/28 10:37:52 ET