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Austin Peay (6-20) at SIU Edwardsville (9-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: APSU 4-7, SIUE 8-3. Away Record: APSU 1-10, SIUE 1-10. Neutral Record: APSU 1-3, SIUE 0-0. Conference Record: APSU 2-10, SIUE 5-7. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Both the Austin Peay Governors and the SIU Edwardsville Cougars attempt to build momentum off of impressive wins, as the two squads square off at the Vadalabene Center for an Ohio Valley Conference clash on Saturday night.
Austin Peay is in the midst of a very disappointing season, as it is just 6-20 overall, and at 2-10 in the OVC it currently sits alone in last place of the West Division. The Governors had lost eight in a row and 16 of their last 17 heading into Thursday's game, but they were able to post a 71-64 win at Eastern Illinois, marking their first road victory of the season.
SIUE is only 9-13 this season (5-7 in OVC), but despite its futility, it has shown signs of turning the corner, especially at home where it has gone 8-3 to this point. The Cougars had lost back-to-back games heading into a clash with 18-win Murray State on Thursday, and they were able to kick off their three- game homestand with a 65-60 upset victory.
SIUE won at Austin Peay on Jan. 17, 66-53, to even the all-time series at 1-1.
Austin Peay came out of the gate firing against EIU, as it opened a 10-point halftime lead and never surrendered that advantage on its way to a seven-point road victory. The team committed a game-high 18 turnovers, but made up for it with solid showings from the field overall (22-of-46), 3-point range (9- of-17), and the foul line (18-of-25). Anthony Campbell made five of those long-range buckets on his way to 24 points, Chris Horton tallied a double- double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jeremy Purvis netted 11 points off the bench. Scoring points has rarely been an issue for the Governors, as they are netting 70.7 ppg on 45.5 percent field goal efficiency, but their terrible record has come as a result of a scoring defense that yields 75.5 ppg. Travis Betran (17.4 ppg) and Campbell (14.4 ppg) are the team's top scorers, and both have been outstanding from beyond the arc, combining for 128 3-pointers at a 41.6 percent clip. Will Triggs (12.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Horton (8.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.0 bpg) are both solid contributors in the frontcourt, as each shoots greater than 53 percent from the floor.
SIUE trailed Murray State midway through the second half, but took a 42-41 lead on a pair of Mark Yelovich free throws at the 12:08 mark and held on to a single-digit advantage down the stretch. Despite shooting only 41.1 percent from the field, the Cougars benefited from a solid showing from the foul line (15-of-19) and a great defensive effort, forcing the Racers into 39 percent shooting and 17 turnovers. All seven players who took the floor scored at least seven points, paced by 11 each from Yelovich and Kris Davis, while Derian Shaffer tacked on 10 of his own, and Michael Messer corralled 11 rebounds. On the season, SIUE is holding the opposition to 65.8 ppg, but it oftentimes cannot take advantage when it has the ball, ranking 11th in the OVC with a scoring average of only 63.1 ppg. The team's offensive attack has taken a huge hit with the suspension of Jerome Jones, who drains nearly three 3- pointers per game en route to 16.2 ppg. In his absence, Davis (10.8 ppg) and Yelovich (10.7 ppg) will serve as the unit's top scorers, with Messer (9.2 ppg) also assuming a larger role.
Austin Peay's confidence is riding high after a quality road win, but turning around just two days later for another away matchup will be a tall task for the Governors, especially considering how well SIUE has performed at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SIU Edwardsville 72, Austin Peay 64
02/16 10:34:23 ET
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