Tennessee-Martin (9-19) at Austin Peay (7-23)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Winfield Dunn Center (9,000) -- Clarksville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: UTM 7-7, APSU 4-8. Away Record: UTM 2-12, APSU 2-12. Neutral Record: UTM 0-0, APSU 1-3. Conference Record: UTM 5-10, APSU 3-12. Series Record: APSU leads, 67-25.
GAMES NOTES: Riding high after a stunning upset on Thursday, the Tennessee- Martin Skyhawks visit the Austin Peay Governors for an Ohio Valley Conference season finale at the Winfield Dunn Center.
The Skyhawks absolutely shocked conference powerhouse Murray State on Thursday night by earning a 69-68 victory at the CFSB Center. The victory was just the second in 14 tries on the road for the Skyhawks who are still gunning for the eighth and final spot in the upcoming conference tournament. They are currently tied with SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois for that spot. They have the tiebreaker with the Cougars but have to get a loss from the Panthers to move into the postseason.
On Thursday night the Governors' postseason hopes were officially put to rest. Austin Peay was routed 108-81 by Southeast Missouri State for its third straight loss. The Governors are a miserable 7-23 overall and at 3-12 in league action, in dead last in the OVC standings. The setback against SEMO was the sixth straight for the Governors on their home floor.
It was quite the battle when these teams met up earlier this season as overtime was needed to award Tennesee-Martin a 76-74 victory. Myles Taylor knocked down a pair of free throws with a second left in the extra session to lift the Skyhawks to their first win against the Governors since 2009. Austin Peay has dominated the all-time series, 67-25.
The Skyhawks led by as many as 14 points in the first half against Murray State but had their lead cut to just a single point twice with eight seconds remaining in regulation. However an errant 3-point attempt from MSU's Isaiah Canaan allowed them to survive with the one-point victory.
Mike Liabo (13.2 ppg) did the heavy lifting in the contest as he poured in 20 points. The 6-foot-6 swingman is shooting just 36.6 percent from the field but he has scored in double figures in eight straight games. Liabo wasn't alone in double figures as leading scorer Myles Taylor (16.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) managed to put in 15 points for the Skyhawks. Taylor has been one of the better bigs in the conference this season, ranking in the top 10 among all players in points and rebounds. As a team the Skyhawks have generally failed to get enough stops on defense to put themselves in a position to win, as they allow 76.1 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting.
Austin Peay certainly didn't get enough stops in its outing against SEMO, especially on the perimeter. The Governors allowed the Redhawks to rattle in 20 shots from beyond the arc and shoot 66.7 percent from the field overall in the 27-point setback.
Like the Skyhawks, the Governors are not a particularly successful defensive team. They are letting teams light up the scoreboard to the tune of 77.1 points per game. They also let teams assist on 16.3 field goals per game, which is among the 10 worst totals in the country. On the other end the Governors have been respectable, scoring 70.9 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting. Travis Betran (17.5 ppg) is the most productive scorer on the roster with his ability to shoot from long range. He had 26 points against SEMO for his fourth straight game in double figures. Anthony Campbell (14.6 ppg) and Will Triggs (11.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are also double-digit scorers. Campbell is listed as questionable for this game though with a knee injury.
The Skyhawks will be playing for their postseason lives in this contest and that type of desperation may drive Taylor and company to a critical victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee-Martin 71, Austin Peay 65
03/02 10:34:45 ET