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Governors claim OVC championship


Austin Peay claimed its first outright Ohio Valley Conference basketball championship since 1976-77 with a 88-64 victory against Tennessee Tech, Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Dave Aaron Arena.

It was the Governors sixth OVC championship and third outright title. They shared last seasons title with Morehead State.

The victory also pushed APSUs record to 18-8, 15-0 in the OVC. It was the Governors 26th straight home victory, tying the Dunn Center record for most consecutive victories originally set in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons.

Austin Peay claimed its first outright Ohio Valley Conference basketball championship since 1976-77 with a 88-64 victory against Tennessee Tech, Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Dave Aaron Arena.

It was the Governors' sixth OVC championship and third outright title. They shared last season's title with Morehead State.

The victory also pushed APSU's record to 18-8, 15-0 in the OVC. It was the Governors' 26th straight home victory, tying the Dunn Center record for most consecutive victories originally set in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons.

“I told our players I am really proud of what they accomplished,” said Head Coach Dave Loos said. “They clinched a conference championship outright. They have the No. 1 seed in the tournament. They had that long (14-game) winning streak, and I am hoping they have another one in them ... and they have this long winning streak at home.”

But it didn't come easy. In fact, the Governors started the just 2-of-17 from the floor and found themselves down 15-2 with 13:30 left in the first half.

“It took a great defensive effort and a lot of character to bring us back,” Loos said. “We were playing a team with a lot of weapons. The good thing was that it was early.

“I told them at one time-out, ‘Let's come back a bucket at a time and try to get this thing back even at half. We did a little better than that.'”

Did they ever! The Govs outscored the Golden Eagles 33-11 during the half's remainder and took a 35-26 advantage into intermission.

Early in the second half, after the Govs went up by as many as 11, Tech trimmed the deficit to five, 40-35, but two Maurice Hampton three-pointers, both on assists from Anthony Davis, and Davis' steal and subsequent lay-up made it a 13-point game, 48-35.

APSU built as much as a 17-point lead, coming off a Rhet Wierzba three-pointer before foul woes stymied the inside work of both forward Adrian Henning and center Josh Lewis. With both on the bench at least part of the time, Tech was able to cut their deficit to single-digits one more time, 66-59, with 5:15 remaining. Then the Govs went on a 17-0 run to eliminate any Golden Eagle hopes.

Hampton led the Govs off the bench with 15 points, hitting three-of-six three pointers. Henning missed by one rebound of a double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds while Josh Lewis missed by one point a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds while scoring nine points. But Lewis tied his career-high with six blocked shots—the seventh time he has accomplished that feat during his career.

Meanwhile, Anthony Davis had an outstanding overall game, scoring 13 points, dishing out a career-best seven assists while coming away with five steals.

Willie Jenkins and Cameron Crisp each had 15 points for Tennessee Tech, which fell to 13-13 overall, 7-8 in the OVC.
—Brad Kirtley