Austin Peay (11-17) at SE Missouri State (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Show Me Center (7,000) -- Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Television: None. Home Record: APSU 8-6, SEMO 7-4. Away Record: APSU 2-10, SEMO 5-9. Neutral Record: APSU 1-1, SEMO 3-0. Conference Record: APSU 5-9, SEMO 6-8. Series Record: Austin Peay leads, 32-19.
GAME NOTES: With a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament up for grabs, the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks host the Austin Peay Governors at the Show Me Center on Thursday night.
Austin Peay fell to Eastern Kentucky last Saturday, 96-75. It was the third straight loss for the Governors, who sit in fifth place in the West Division, but are just a game behind the third-place Redhawks.
Aided by a desperation heave at the buzzer, SEMO downed Tennessee-Martin on the road also on Saturday, 77-74. A modest two-game win streak has positioned the Redhawks for a spot in the conference tournament. Win a win over the Govs, the Redhawks are in. So far, six teams have punched their ticket. SEMO, Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay are fighting for the final two spots.
Austin Peay owns a 32-19 lead in its all-time series with SEMO. The Redhawks, however, won three of the last five meetings between these teams and hold a two-game win streak against the Govs at the Show Me Center. The Redhawks lost their last matchup against APSU, 80-74, on Jan. 4 in Clarksville.
Travis Betran scored 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting to pace Austin Peay in the loss to EKU. Ed Dyson added 13 points with six rebounds, and Chris Horton tallied 10 points in the loss. The Govs had the hot hand shooting in the first half, netting 53.8 percent of their field goal tries, but trailed at intermission. Austin Peay did everything it could to mount a comeback in the second half, hitting 62.5 percent of its total shots. But the Colonels simply dominated the period, connecting on 69 percent of their shots from the field, including 9-of-15 from deep.
Betran controls the scoring lead for Austin Peay this season, averaging 14.9 ppg, but is shooting just 38.8 percent from the field. Horton is netting 13.3 ppg while grabbing a team-leading 9.1 rpg, contributing 86 blocked shots for good measure. Triggs rounds out the double-digit point scorers for the Govs with 11.9 ppg. Damarius Smith leads the team with 133 assists on the year, but he has been hampered lately with an ankle injury.
A desperation heave by Antonius Cleveland from mid-court with 0.2 seconds remaining lifted the Redhawks to a thrilling win over UT-Martin. Cleveland finished the meeting with 14 points off the bench, the second-best tally for the Govs, behind the 22-point, eight-rebound effort supplied by Jarekious Bradley. Also playing well for the visitors was Tyler Stone with 12 points and a team-best 11 rebounds, while Nino Johnson tacked on 13 points and eight boards before fouling out. SEMO was up by seven at the break, 35-28, even though the squad missed all six opportunities behind the 3-point line in the period. Fighting back in the second half, UTM surged ahead by eight about seven minutes into the frame before the Redhawks rallied and set the stage for Cleveland's heroics.
A pair of the league's top scorers, Bradley and Stone lead the Redhawks. Bradley averages 19.3 ppg, which is the second-best output in the OVC, while Stone is right behind in third place with 19.1 ppg. For the season, SEMO puts up conference-best 82.1 ppg on 49.4 percent field goal efficiency, second in the OVC.
The Redhawks are a potent and accurate scoring machine, so expect them to continue their recent success and lock up a spot in the postseason.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southeast Missouri State 80, Austin Peay 74
02/27 10:52:10 ET