Austin Peay (7-21) at Liberty (9-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vines Center (8,085) -- Lynchburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: APSU 4-7, Liberty 7-6. Away Record: APSU 2-11, Liberty 2-11. Neutral Record: APSU 1-3, Liberty 0-2. Conference Record: APSU 3-11, Liberty 5-9. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In a BracketBusters clash, the Austin Peay Governors and the Liberty Flames will square off for the first time ever, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center.
Austin Peay is coming off a 91-53 loss to Eastern Kentucky. The loss ended a brief two-game win streak and was the ninth loss in the last 11 games for the Governors. After this matchup they will head home to host a pair of games to close out the season as they will not qualify for the OVC Tournament.
The Flames most recently took a loss to Longwood in an extremely high-scoring bout, 102-101. It was their second consecutive loss and third in the last four games for Liberty which is 9-19 overall and 5-9 in the Big South. This is the first of a two-game homestand for Liberty before heading to Radford to close out the regular season.
Travis Betran scored 13 points and was the only Governor to score in double figures in the loss to EKU. Austin Peay shot just 36.7 percent from the floor and had 21 turnovers, while allowing EKU to hit on 58.6 percent of its shots.
Betran is one of two Governors to start all 28 games this season and leads the squad in scoring with 17.2 ppg, while making good on 43.6 percent of his shots from 3-point range. Anthony Campbell is the other Governor to start every game and is second in scoring with 14.4 ppg, while Will Triggs adds 11.9 ppg and shoots 53.2 percent from the floor. Their offense is solid but defensively is where the team collapses. Austin Peay allows opponents to shoot over 45.0 percent from the field and score 75.9 ppg, which ranks their scoring defense amongst the 20 worst in the country.
In the loss to Longwood, both teams shot .500 from the field. Davon Marshall led the Flames with 31 points after knocking down six 3-pointers and going 11- of-17 from the field. John Caleb Sanders contributed a huge double-double with 24 points and 10 assists to go with seven rebounds, while Tavares Speaks added 17 points and four steals. Longwood went 31-of-41 from the free-throw line to earn the edge over the Flames.
Sanders has been the scoring leader for Liberty with 13.5 ppg. Marshall adds 12.8 ppg and Speaks manages 12.6 ppg, while all three players shoots 43.0+ percent from the field, with Marshall knocking down over 40.0 percent of his 3-pointers. Offense has not been the problem for the Flames but defense certainly has, as the Flames allow over 70.0 ppg.
The Governors have played poorly on the road this season, racking up a 2-11 record in 13 games, while at home is the only place the Flames have been able to maintain a winning record. With Liberty coming off a huge offensive game the squad will look to carry that into this matchup and try to finish strong as the season closes out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Liberty 67, Austin Peay 65
02/23 10:39:15 ET