Austin Peay rose to the challenge on both ends of the court as the Governors moved into a tie atop the Ohio Valley Conference standings with Murray State with a 71-68 hair-raising triumph over the Racers on Feb. 13.
The Govs and Racers both won their games two days later and currently lead the OVC with 12-2 records. Austin Peay defeated Eastern Kentucky 93-85 and Murray State had little trouble in getting past Morehead State 85-57. The two league-leaders play on Feb. 29 in Murray on the final day of the regular season with a potential conference championship on the line.
Belmont and Eastern Kentucky are also still alive for the regular season title. The Bruins defeated Tennessee State (74-51) and Jacksonville State (101-84) last week to improve to 11-3 in the conference. Eastern Kentucky, meanwhile, opened the week with a 78-71 win over Morehead State before falling to Austin Peay two days later to see its league mark move to 10-4.
The Ohio Valley Conference office announced on Monday that Quinton Dove, a senior at UT Martin, has been selected as the league’s player of the week following his performance in a pair of games last week.
Dove, who earned the same honor earlier this year, averaged 28 points and eight rebounds per game as the Skyhawks split their two games last week. He connected on 20 of 28 (.714) shooting from the floor, including for 3-pointers, last week and added five of six (.846) foul shots.
Dove posted his sixth double-double of the season by scoring 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds on Feb. 13 in EKU’s 93-85 loss at Austin Peay. He opened the week with a game-high 24 points and six rebounds two days earlier as the Colonels defeated Morehead State 78-71.
The six-foot, eight-inch Dove now leads all scorers in league play with 21.8 points and ranks third overall. He is fifth in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and sixth in field goal shooting (.578) and free throw shooting (.799).
Dove, who played at Cuyahoga Community College before transferring to UT Martin, was selected as the OVC newcomer of the week three times last season.
Austin Peay’s win snapped a five-game losing streak against the Racers and gave coach Matt Figger his first win against Murray State.
The two teams traded leads 14 games before a winner was determined. It took a last-second 3-point attempt from the Racers that was off the mark for the Governors to secure the win and remain undefeated on the season at home.
Austin Peay State University men’s basketball team held on for a 71-68 win in a wild affair that saw the lead change hands 14 times over the course of 40 minutes and ended with a last-gasp three from the Racers failing to find its mark.
Standout Jordyn Adams scored 10 points to help AP build a lead, albeit, precarious 35-34 lead at the intermission. Terry Taylor and Eli Abaev also played key roles for the halftime lead as they combined for 14 of AP’s 19 rebounds in the first half.
The Govs managed to extend that advantage to five points in the second half thanks in large part to a 6-0 run on a pair of jumpers from Antwuan Butler and a Taylor basket.
That advantage quickly evaporated as the Racers rallied to close to within a field goal. This time it was the Govs who responded. Another 6-0 scoring spurt increased the lead to eight points.
Remember the lead changes?
Murray’s DaQuan hit a 3-pointer to begin a 12-4 run that tied the game with 90 seconds left in regulation when he connected on another long-range field goal.
AP countered on a three-point play from Adams that put the Govs in front. KJ Williams quickly cut the MSU deficit to one point to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Abaev rejected a shot by Anthony Smith and the Govs’ Carlos Paez was fouled on a scramble for the loose ball. Paez connected on both free throws to make it 71-68.
A pair of 3-point attempts from the Racers in the closing seconds were both off the mark and the Governors escaped with the win.
Adams finished with a team-high 20 points and was one of three Governors in double figures. Taylor finished with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while Evan Hinson scored 12 points in the winning effort.
Abaev, who finished with eight points, equaled his career-high with 11 rebounds and is now averaging eight rebounds over the last six games.
Jaiveon Eaves led five Racers in double figures with 21 points in the loss. Tevin Brown and DaQuan Smith both scored 13 points, while Williams and Anthony Smith chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
OVC Marquee Game of the Week
Belmont at Eastern Kentucky
When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m.
Where: Alumni Coliseum (6,500)
Belmont, winners of six straight league games, is riding a huge wave of momentum heading down the stretch of the OVC season. The Bruins, who have not lost since falling to Austin Peay 86-78 on Jan. 25, have defeated Murray State (71-64) and Austin Peay (71-63) since their last setback to remain alive in the chase for the OVC regular season title.
Eastern Kentucky has been proving the adage to be true about putting yourself in a position to be successful.
After all, the Colonels, who saw their six-game conference winning streak snapped with an 83-75 loss on Feb. 8 to SIU-Edwardsville, gave league-leader Austin Peay all it could handle in a 93-85 loss to the Govs last Saturday. EKU, which sits in fourth place in the OVC standings with a 10-4 record, has a chance to move into third place with a pair of wins this week at home against Tennessee State and Belmont.
BELMONT BRUINS: Belmont is being led in scoring by three players in double figures. Adam Kunkel (6-3, So., G) leads the way with a 17.9 points per game average while averaging 2.8 rebounds per outing. He has also tallied 68 assists on 25 steals on the season to rank third on the team in both categories.
Nick Muszynski (6-11, So., C) is not far behind with a 15.5 points per game clip, while ranking second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per contest. A terrific defender, Muszynski leads the Bruins with 45 blocked shots through the first 27 games this season, while also tallying 51 assists and 12 steals.
Tyler Scanlon (6-7, Gr. F) is the third Bruin to average in double digits this season with 12.4 points per game and ranking third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game. His 79 assists and 29 steals rank second on the squad in both categories.
The top rebounder for the Bruins is Grayson Murphy (6-2, So., G) who is grabbing 7.5 rebounds per contest while contributing with 9.4 points per game. He also leads the team with 167 assists already this season.
EASTERN KENTUCKY COLONELS: Eastern Kentucky has three players averaging in double digits in scoring. Jomaru Brown (6-2, So., G) leads the way with 19.2 points per game for the Colonels. A playmaker on both ends of the floor, Brown has added 73 steals so far this season to rank second on the team in that department, while tallying a team-leading 47 steals on the season.
Brown is joined in double-digit scoring by teammates Ty Taylor (6-3, Sr., G) and Tre King (6-8, So. F), who are scoring at 12.3 and 11.6 points per game clip for EKU. Taylor, who spent his first two collegiate seasons at Wichita State before transferring to North Carolina-Wilmington for 2018-19, is tied with Brown for fifth on the team rebounding ledger with 3.7 boards per contest. He is fourth with 43 assists and his 30 steals on fifth-most on the squad this season. King, meanwhile, is third on the team in rebounding (5.0 rpg) and ranks third with 35 steals on the year.
Ohio Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Standings
|Southeast Missouri State||5-13||7-24||340|
Check out our full Mid-Major Sagarin Ratings for this week here.
Last Week’s Results
Austin Peay 71, Murray State 68
Belmont 74, Tennessee State 51
Eastern Kentucky 78, Morehead State 71
SE Missouri 74, UT Martin 72
SIU-Edwardsville 76, Eastern Illinois 74
Tennessee Tech 75, Jacksonville State 74
Austin Peay 93, Eastern Kentucky 85
Belmont 101, Jacksonville State 84
Murray State 85, Morehead State 57
SE Missouri 75, SIU-Edwardsville 71
Tennessee State 70, Tennessee Tech 55
UT Martin 80, Eastern Illinois 79
This Week’s Games
Belmont at Morehead State. 6 p.m., ESPN+
Tennessee State at Eastern Kentucky, 6:30 p.m., ESPN+
Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+
SE Missouri at Jacksonville State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+
UT Martin at Tennessee Tech, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+
Austin Peay at SIU-Edwardsville, 8 p.m., ESPN+
Murray State at SIU-Edwardsville, 2 p.m., ESPN+
Tennessee State at Morehead State, 2 p.m., ESPN+
Austin Peay at Eastern Illinois, 3:15 p.m., ESPN+
SE Missouri at Tennessee Tech, 4 p.m., ESPN+
UT Martin at Jacksonville State, 4 p.m., ESPN+
Belmont at Eastern Kentucky, 6 p.m., ESPN+
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.