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Govs crowned OVC basketball champs

W-02 BK/bk 3/7/84

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State Universitys stingy defense has put the Governors in the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

The Govs limited its second straight OVC tourney opponent to less than 60 points and 40 percent shooting as Austin Peay defeated Tennessee Tech, 63-57, in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville.
W-02 BK/bk 3/7/84

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State University's stingy defense has put the Governors in the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

The Govs limited its second straight OVC tourney opponent to less than 60 points and 40 percent shooting as Austin Peay defeated Tennessee Tech, 63-57, in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville.

The victory raises Austin Peay's record to 23-7 overall while Tennessee Tech falls to 20-12. The Governors now will have a week to wait for their NCAA tourney assignment slated for Selection Sunday, Feb. 16.

“I am so proud of these guys,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “These guys have been called overachievers but they are not on the defensive end. They take so much pride in it now. It has never been our offense that made our defense stand out, it's been our defense. That was again the case tonight.

“We were picked to finish fifth in the preseason but I thought we would be better. No way, though, I could have predicted that we would the regular season and be sitting here today.

The Govs led much of the first half and built as much as 10-point advantage, 22-12, before holding off a late Golden Eagle surge for a 37-34 advantage. At second half's start, the Golden Eagles tied the game, 41-41 just four minutes into the half and grabbed the lead, 43-41 with 14:53 left. A Corey Gipson three-pointer brought APSU back to the lead before Tech would 47-44 with 11:04 left.

Tourney MVP Josh Lewis then hit a pair of free throws to cut it to one before his dunk at the 9:02 mark would give the Govs the lead for good, 48-47. Rhet Wierzba would knock down a three for a four-point APSU lead. Twice down the stretch Tech was able to cut it to two but the Govs refused to give up the lead.

Five Govs scored in double figures, led by Gipson and Anthony Davis with 13 points. Adrian Henning and Rhet Wierzba would add 10 with Lewis scoring 11 and pulling down nine rebounds. Tech, meanwhile, was led by Damien Kinloch's 15 points and 13 rebounds. However, the Eagles shot just 39.3 percent, including just 31 percent in the final half.

“I expected this kind of game,” Loos said. “This is no slight of any other team in the conference but (Tennessee)Tech was the team that had the most respect from me. Their size and perimeter game make them very tough. I didn't feat them but I respected them most.”

It was the fifth OVC tourney title in history for the Govs.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Cameron Crisp, Tennessee Tech
Damien Kinloch, Tennessee Tech
Corey Gipson, Austin Peay
Adrian Henning, Austin Peay
Josh Lewis, Austin Peay (MVP)