Youngstown State (14-12) at Austin Peay (9-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dunn Center (9,000) -- Clarksville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: YSU 8-3, APSU 6-5. Away Record: YSU 6-9, APSU 3-12. Neutral Record: YSU 0-0, APSU 0-2. Conference Record: YSU 9-7, APSU 6-8. Series Record: YSU leads, 8-6.
GAME NOTES: Taking a break from their respective conference slates, the Governors of Austin Peay host the Youngstown State Penguins as part of the BracketBuster series at the Dunn Center.
The Penguins have had some ups and downs of late, essentially trading wins for losses over their past eight games en route to a 14-12 overall ledger. Still, the Penguins stand at 9-7 in Horizon League play, but do come into this affair on the heels of a hard-fought 71-65 setback at Green Bay on Tuesday night.
As for Austin Peay, the Governors have suffered five straight losses, and currently stand at just 9-19 overall this season. A tough 52-48 final against Morehead State on Wednesday dropped the Governors to 6-8 in Ohio Valley play
YSU leads, 8-6, in terms of the all-time series between the two programs.
The Penguins held Green Bay to just 43.6 percent from the field on Tuesday night, but YSU hit just 40.7 percent of its own attempts from the floor during the six-point setback. The Penguins shot a respectable 7-of-16 from long range, and converted 14-of-18 at the foul line, but the club was also responsible for a game-high 16 giveaways in addition to losing the battle of the boards by a 36-29 margin. Blake Allen netted a game-high 23 points to lead YSU in the loss, while Kendrick Perry added 17 points. The Penguins average a rather underwhelming 66.9 points per game this season, via just 37.9 percent shooting from the field. YSU can credit the majority of its success to its defensive prowess, which has yielded just 65.1 ppg to opponents and kept those adversaries in line to the tune of a 35.9 percent shooting clip. The Penguins have forced 335 turnovers through 26 contests as well, but the squad has been beaten to the glass by a 36.5 - 32.7 rebounding margin. The Penguins do boast four players with a double-digit scoring average this season, beginning with Perry and his 16.3 ppg tally. Allen follows, contributing 13.2 ppg, while Damian Eargle has been responsible for 10.3 points and a team-leading 7.1 rebounds per contest -- in addition to an impressive 104 total blocks. Ashen Ward owns a 10.3 ppg mark as well up to this point, while DuShawn Brooks rests at the cusp of a double figure average with his 9.4 ppg tally.
The Governors simply couldn't get much to fall during the second half against Morehead State. APSU went into the break with a slim 26-25 advantage, but went cold over the final 20 minutes to the tune of a meager 36.8 percent mark from the field. APSU led by four points with 2:49 remaining, but the squad then watched the Eagles score seven points over the next 31 seconds to end up with the lead. The Governors hit just 6-of-13 at the foul line during that stanza as well, no doubt costing the squad a potential victory in a four-point decision. APSU shot 41.9 percent from the floor overall during the meeting, which included a mere 4-for-17 from beyond the arc. Melvin Baker scored 17 points and collected seven rebounds to lead the way for the Governors, while TyShwan Edmondson chipped in 15 points off the bench in a losing effort. The Governors average just 68.6 ppg on 42.2 percent shooting this year, but the squad does boast four players with a double-digit scoring average. Be that as it may, APSU has allowed its adversaries to net a healthy 73.4 ppg on a 46.9 percent shooting clip that includes a 37.5 percent mark from long range. John Fraley leads the way for the Governors on the season with a 12.3 ppg tally, while Josh Terry helps to pace the squad with his 12.1 ppg contribution. Fraley also leads APSU on the boards (8.7 rpg), while Edmondson has been responsible for 12.0 ppg. Baker rounds things out, chipping in 11.6 ppg.
Give YSU the nod here, even on the road. Eventually, the Penguins' depth will come into play, and the Governors are simply not sound enough at the offensive end of the court to compete with a club that plays stingy defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 74, Austin Peay 69
02/18 10:46:02 ET