OVC Ball Statbox
|5-24 (2-14 OVC)|
|14-17 (7-9 OVC)|
|28/58 (48.3%)||Field Goals||31/58 (53.4%)|
|5/16 (31.3%)||3-Point FG||5/13 (38.5%)|
|14/19 (73.7%)||Free Throws||16/23 (69.6%)|
|27 (7/20)||Rebounds (O/D)||35 (11/24)|
|11||2nd Chance Pts||16|
|20||Points off TO||27|
|30||Pts in the Paint||42|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Southeast Missouri offense
Austin Peay offense
What happened: For Austin Peay, the OVC Tournament drought is over. Chris Horton and Josh Robinson combined for 35 points, leading a second-half comeback for the Governors, in a 83-75 win over Southeast Missouri.
Thanks to Eastern Kentucky’s loss to Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay secured the eight seed, ending a three-year conference tournament drought.
Southeast Missouri led by six with 14:18 to play, before Austin Peay went on a 10-2 run to take the lead with about 10 minutes remaining. The Redhawks had another surge of their own to jump back up by five, but a Khalil Davis three-pointer with 4:12 to play put Austin Peay ahead for good.
Five Governors scored in double-figures in the win.
SEMO’s Antonius Cleveland had a game-high 24 points, surpassing the 1,000 point mark for his career in the loss.
What it means: When Southeast Missouri fired Dickey Nutt after perennially ‘underperforming’ a year ago, (despite making five straight OVC Tournaments) and hired a former SEC head coach in Rick Ray, no one expected the Redhawks to finish last in conference play. Yet, that’s where we are.
Calling this season ‘disappointing’ is an understatement.
It’s hard to tell how much this goes on Ray. He inherited talent that wasn’t recruited for his system, dealt with numerous off-the-court issues throughout the season, and suffered through, at times, comically bad free-throw shooting. But it’s not a great first impression for a coach who never excited the fan base at Mississippi State.
It’s never good to judge a coach by his first season, bad or good, so I hope Redhawks fans will give Ray time. Things can only go up from here.
Player of the Night: Cleveland has been a great player the last three seasons, who was overlooked, in part, because of the Redhawks inconsistent play. It’s great to see him hit the 1,000 point milestone, and he’s still got another year to terrorize the conference.
What’s Next: I’m not sure how comfortable many of these players should be that there will be a scholarship waiting for them next season. I’m not sure how many will even wait to find out.
What it means: If this is Loos’ final season in Clarksville, (Loos is in the final year of his contract, and there’s been no word of an extension) I’m glad to see it ending on a relative high note. I’m also very glad that Horton, one of the most consistent forwards in the league in recent years, will get a chance to play in the OVC Tournament.
Austin Peay hasn’t had a winning season since 2010-11, and unless they win four games in four days next week, the streak will continue. But the Governors are argubaly the best defensively they’ve been since that season, and have more balance on the offensive side of the ball, though the guard play can be a bit inconsistent.
For a program that, for years, was always in the discussion for a conference title, this recent downturn has been hard to watch. The conference is better when programs like Austin Peay is better.
Player of the Night: Austin Peay needs good nights from guys like Robinson, and he delivered on Saturday, despite missing all four of his three-point attempts.
What’s next: Austin Peay gets either Tennessee Tech or Tennessee State on Wednesday in Nashville.