Austin Peay (11-18) at Tennessee-Martin (8-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Elam Center (5,000) -- Martin, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: APSU 8-6, UTM 5-9. Away Record: APSU 2-11, UTM 3-13. Neutral Record: APSU 1-1, UTM 0-0. Conference Record: APSU 5-10, UTM 3-12. Series Record: Austin Peay leads, 69-25.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks are set to host the Austin Peay Governors in the final regular-season game for both of these Ohio Valley Conference teams.
Austin Peay enters its finale trying to avoid a fifth straight loss. The Governors played at Southeast Missouri State on Thursday night and came away with a hard-fought 83-80 loss. They have gone just 2-11 in road games on the season.
UT-Martin is closing out its season with the last leg of a four-game homestand. The Skyhawks lost each of the first three and have dropped seven of their last eight overall. They were on the wrong end of an 86-72 final against Murray State on Thursday night.
APSU cruised to an 81-68 victory on its home floor when these teams first met up this season on Jan. 2. The Governors lead the all-time series, 69-25.
APSU has averaged a healthy 81 points over its last three games but has no wins to show for it. For all of the Governors' scoring capabilities, they rank among the nation's worst defensive teams, and that is simply not a formula for success.
The Governors were an efficient 7-of-15 from beyond the arc on Thursday night, but they also committed 18 turnovers and allowed SEMO to shoot a scorching 60 percent from the floor. Travis Betran led all scorers with 28 points in the loss, while Ed Dyson had 20 points and Will Triggs finished with 15. Chris Horton pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds but scored only six points on 3- of-9 shooting.
On the season, Betran leads the team in scoring with 15.3 ppg and is averaging 2.4 3-pointers made per game. Forwards Chris Horton (13.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg), Triggs (12.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Dyson (10.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg) are all shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.
As poorly as APSU has played on defense, UTM has been even more generous and is yielding an average of 81.1 ppg. Myles Taylor leads the way in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg) while shooting 52 percent from the floor. Along the perimeter, opponents must always keep tabs on sharpshooter Terence Smith, who is averaging 14.4 ppg while shooting 43 percent from 3-point range (56-of-131). Mike Liabo (12.4 ppg) is also a threat from outside (.362 3-pt percentage), and Marshun Newell (10.8 ppg, 3.5 apg) orchestrates the half- court offense from the point.
Against Murray State a couple of nights ago, Taylor tallied 16 points and seven rebounds, while Dee Oldham scored 15 points and Smith finished with 10. However, the Racers were given plenty of open looks as they shot 55.2 percent for the game and won rather easily.
Expect both teams to push the pace, resulting in a high-scoring game. This contest will likely be decided by whichever team can come up with a few timely defensive stops down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee-Martin 84, Austin Peay 80
03/01 11:25:45 ET