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Governors, Hilltoppers renew old rivalry this weekend

December 10, 2001

They're both Division I schools and former Ohio Valley Conference rivals known for some historic battles. The two schools are separated by only 60 miles and the Tennessee/Kentucky border. But when Western Kentucky comes to Clarksville at 2 p.m., Saturday, it will be the first time the Hilltoppers have stepped into the Dunn Center since the1990-91 season.

It also will be only the fifth battle between the two schools since Western Kentucky bolted the OVC for the Sun Belt after the 1981-82 season.

"I've heard a lot about the past games between Austin Peay and Western Kentucky, when Western was still a member of the OVC," said APSU Athletics Director and head basketball coach, Dave Loos. "They had some of what some people have called 'epic games.'

"It's just a natural (game) for fans of both teams. It should be attractive match-up for both schools as far as attendance is concerned." APSU will go to Western on Jan. 5.

For years Loos and his staff attempted to schedule a game or games with the Hilltoppers but were rebuffed in those efforts. Ironically, it took the two teams traveling some 600 miles two years ago to "break the ice" in the rivalry.

They met in first-round play of the Oneida and Bingo Casino Classic in Green Bay, Wis., with the Governors prevailing, 72-68. Finally, this year the two clubs will bring the rivalry closer to their fans.

Western Kentucky is ranked as the nation's 25th best team and is coming off a 2001NCAA tournament appearance at 5-2. That includes an early-season win at Kentucky. Their All-America center, 7-1, 285-pound, Chris Marcus, won't play in this contest. He's out with a stress fracture in his foot.

One name pops out on the Hilltopper roster. His name is Wells...that is, Mike Wells, brother of former APSU All-America forward and Govs all-time leading scorer Charles "Bubba" Wells. The younger Wells is a reserve guard for the Hilltoppers.

Tickets are still available for Saturday's contest. Call 7761 or stop by the Austin Peay Ticket Office in the Dunn Center.