Austin Peay (2-1) at Central Michigan (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 21, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: APSU 2-0, CMU 1-1. Away Record: APSU 0-1, CMU 0-1. Neutral Record: APSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Conference Record: APSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Austin Peay Governors will take aim at their first road win of the 2013-14 campaign as they collide with the Central Michigan Chippewas in the opening round of the CMU Tournament at McGuirk Arena.
The round-robin tournament field also includes Montana State and Cal State Northridge. This will be the first meeting in history between Austin Peay and Central Michigan.
Coach Dave Loos's Governors improved to 2-1 with a hard-fought, 72-70, win over Southern Illinois on Tuesday. Austin Peay had previously lost its only game versus a Division I foe when it was routed by Memphis. Now in his 24th season at the helm of the program, Loos has amassed a 373-334 record over the course of his tenure in Clarksville. Only eight of those victories came last season though, which was the second fewest total the program has tallied since he claimed his spot on the bench. Loos was also the school's athletic director until April, when he announced he would step down to focus solely on turning the program around.
Keno Davis became the first coach in Central Michigan history to win seven non-conference games in a season in 2012-13, which was his first year at the helm of the program. Davis is not on pace to break his program record as his squad is 1-2 after its 88-71 loss to Pepperdine on Saturday. The Chippewas led the Waves by three at halftime before being completely dismantled over the final 20 minutes of the contest. CMU's only victory of the season came over Manchester, a Division III school that is still winless through three games.
APSU used a collective effort to down the Salukis on Tuesday. Will Triggs led the way with 17 points, while Travis Betran tallied 16 points. Damarius Smith gave the Governors a lift off the bench with 12 points and Chris Horton anchored the paint with 10 rebounds and six blocks. Defensively, the team played tremendously as it held SIU to 40.9 percent shooting overall including a 2-of-10 clip from beyond the arc. APSU managed to survive and climb over the .500 mark despite being outrebounded, 48-34. Although Smith provided some offensive firepower, he also committed six of the team's 13 turnovers.
In its two matchups against Division I opponents, CMU is allowing 84 points per game, while netting only 70.5 for itself. The Chippewas had some solid scoring outputs in their loss to the Waves. Sophomore guard Chris Fowler pumped in a career-high 23 points, while Austin Keel had 13 points and five boards in a team-high 31 minutes. Blake Hibbitts also contributed 12 points by knocking down all four of his 3-point field goal attempts. CMU could not rotate quick enough on the defensive end as Pepperdine assisted on 24 of its makes from the floor, which included 10 converted 3-point field goals.
Betran and Triggs got off to a slow start after being named to the Preseason All-OVC squad. They seemed to find their rhythm against SIU, but they will need to carry that over to Mount Pleasant as winning on the road is never an easy task regardless of the opposition. APSU holds the upperhand, but this one could go either way as the Chippewas are certainly going to be hungry for success after back-to-back losses.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Austin Peay 81, Central Michigan 77
11/21 10:34:23 ET