OVC Ball Statbox
|(8) Austin Peay||47||45||92|
|19-11 (11-5 OVC)|
|(5) Tennessee Tech||35||37||72|
|14-17 (7-9 OVC)|
|32/59 (54.2%)||Field Goals||24/62 (38.7%)|
|6/21 (28.6%)||3-Point FG||5/29 (17.2%)|
|22/35 (62.9%)||Free Throws||19/29 (65.5%)|
|45 (12/33)||Rebounds (O/D)||32 (9/23)|
|9||2nd Chance Pts||7|
|10||Points off TO||14|
|46||Pts in the Paint||30|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
(8) Austin Peay offense
(5) Tennessee Tech offense
What happened: Chris Horton can’t do it alone.
But that’s not going to stop him from trying.
Horton wrapped up a double-double in the first 18 minutes of the game, finishing the first half with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and wasn’t done there. The OVC first-teamer tied a career-high with 37 points, (hitting 13-16 from the field) and pulled down 21 rebounds. It was a simply dominant performance from one of the best wings in the conference.
The Austin Peay center, playing in his first OVC Tournament said one thing was on his mind heading into the game. “Not going back to Clarksville tonight,” Horton said. “I wanted to show everybody why we deserved to be here tonight.”
Things started a bit slowly for the Governors. Despite strong shooting throughout, early turnovers allowed Tennessee Tech to hang around through the first 10 minutes. But once the turnovers stopped, the Golden Eagles had no answer for Horton. Horton dazzled with dunks and alley-oops, while TTU’s defense struggled with fouls trying to contains him.
“I wanted to show everybody why we deserved to be here tonight.”
The Governors quickly extended a 12-point halftime lead to 26, as one of the most potent offenses in recent Ohio Valley Conference history struggled to hit, well anything.
“Well, if you’re not coming to win, I don’t see the point,” Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos said after the win. “We’ve been talking in practices leading up to the tournament that we’ve got to win four, but we’ve got to do it one at a time. I like the mindset of our team right now.”
Aleska Jugovic, who hit exactly half of his three-point attempts all season long, was held without a field goal. Tech, who hit 46% from the field for the season, shot just 38.7%, while being outrebounded by 13, and simply outmanned by Austin Peay.
“I don’t think you ever know how you are going to come out during tournament play,” Tennessee Tech head coach Steve Payne said. “It affects teams in different ways and we didn’t handle the tournament situation very well.”
What it means: Without a doubt, this was Austin Peay’s most complete game this season. Horton was so spectacular, he didn’t need a lot of help, but he still got it from Chris Porter-Bunton in the first half (10 points, 4-4 from the field in the opening 20 minutes) and timely three’s from Jared Savage in the second. (On his birthday, none-the-less)
There were moments in the second half where it seemed like the prefered strategy was to just throw it in Horton’s general direction and see what happen, and it worked.
Josh Robinson struggled to make shots, missing all eight of his three point attempts, and turned the ball over four times, but he got to the line to finish with 11 points. Khalil Davis had five assists, and more importantly, no turnovers.
Player of the Night: If this were a hockey game, and I had to select three-stars, I’d pick Horton. Then Horton. And Horton again. Horton played like it was a game of NBA2K on easy.
…and played by someone other than me.
What’s Next: Another game tomorrow night, against another team that beat them in the regular season: Tennessee State.
Tonight, Tennessee Tech simply missed shots they haven’t missed all year, and the offense never got in rhythm. TTU’s 5-29 (17.2%) performance was the second-worst of the season, and despite not getting a block, Horton made for tough scoring in the paint.
While the offense had an off night, it was TTU’s defense and rebounding that led to their downfall. When you’re outshot as badly as Tennessee Tech was, you’re expected to win the rebounding battle. The Golden Eagles didn’t just lost the battle on the glass — they were outrebounded by 12. There was no stopping Horton when he got the ball, and they couldn’t stop him from getting it: TTU’s defense forced five early turnovers, and then just four over the last 30 minutes of the game.
Player of the Night: Torrence Rowe led the Golden Eagles with 18 points, but it was a struggle getting there. Rowe hit just 1-10 from three-point range in the loss.
What’s Next: Tech is just short of the 20-win mark, but they should have a chance to get there with a postseason birth in the CIT or CBI. Payne said after the game he didn’t really want to talk about the poseseason, but said they expected to get a bid.