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Govs near-miracle comeback comes up short

APSUs bid for a storybook finish ended with the final page being ripped from the book as the Governors fell to East Tennessee, 85-81, on ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday.

Trailing by as many as 30 first-half points and 55-32 at halftime as ETSU shot a remarkable 73.3 percent, APSU came back to an 84-81 deficit with 20 seconds left. Unfortunately, senior point guard Levi Carmichael miss-dribbled the basketball, giving it back to ETSU with 18 seconds left. The Govs fouled immediately, and ETSU made one of two free throws, blunting any last-second comeback attempt.
APSU's bid for a storybook finish ended with the final page being ripped from the book as the Governors fell to East Tennessee, 85-81, on ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday.

Trailing by as many as 30 first-half points and 55-32 at halftime as ETSU shot a remarkable 73.3 percent, APSU came back to an 84-81 deficit with 20 seconds left. Unfortunately, senior point guard Levi Carmichael miss-dribbled the basketball, giving it back to ETSU with 18 seconds left. The Govs fouled immediately, and ETSU made one of two free throws, blunting any last-second comeback attempt.

Led by the offense of Zac Schlader and Maurice Hampton and the defensive play of Anthony Davis, the Govs stormed out of the second half, cutting the deficit to 15. But Govs turnovers and missed shots saw the margin grow back to 22 with 10:38.

This time, though, the Govs were almost relentless in their effort, forcing turnover after turnover and converting them into points. Schlader, who had only four first-half points on one-of-four shooting, was 8-of-11 in the second half to finish with a career-high 27 points.

Davis, meanwhile, collected six second-half steals to lead the swarming defensive effort.

But the Govs just couldn't quite overcome the Bucs near-perfect first-half performance.

In addition to Schlader, who scored double-figures for the first time in five games, Hampton added 24 points, while Davis had 18. William Durden collected a career-high 12 rebounds to help the Govs overcome a one-time double-digit rebounding deficit to end the game at only a 42-41 deficit.
—Brad Kirtley