Jacksonville State (14-17) vs. Austin Peay (12-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Municipal Auditorium (8,000) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: OVCSports.TV. Home Record: JSU 9-4, APSU 8-5. Away Record: JSU 3-10, APSU 4-12. Neutral Record: JSU 2-3, APSU 0-2. Conference Record: JSU 8-8, APSU 8-8. Series Record: Austin Peay leads, 17-1.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams coming off three-game win streaks to close out the regular season meet up in the first round of the 49th annual Ohio Valley Conference Tournament tonight, as the Austin Peay Governors clash with the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Governors, winners of this tournament a total of four times and owners of a 38-32 record in the event all-time, began the 2011-12 regular season with nine straight defeats but then recovered nicely to post a split in conference play at 8-8. However, working against the sixth-seeded Govs tonight is the fact that they were winless in two neutral-site games and won a total of just four times away from home.
As for the Gamecocks, the seventh seed in this year's event, they too had some issues during the non-conference schedule, but over the last five weeks the squad has been able to put up eight wins in the last 11 contests. Lacking experience in this event, JSU has a record of only 1-3 in the tournament thus far.
The Governors hold a commanding 17-1 edge in the all-time series against JSU, winning 11 in a row, including a 60-57 decision earlier this season.
The winner of this meeting advances to the quarterfinals on Thursday to meet fourth-seeded Tennessee Tech.
The Gamecocks were a team that focused most of their efforts on defense this season, holding the competition to just 63.5 ppg. In conference games that number dipped slightly to 62.8 ppg as well. Brian Williams turned into the main producer on offense with his 13.3 ppg, hitting a team-best 54 three-point baskets while converting 35.5 percent of his attempts which was much better than the team's overall accuracy of just 27.4 percent on the perimeter. Tarvin Gaines accounted for another 10.9 ppg as a part-time starter for the Gamecocks and could have been much more productive if not for getting into foul trouble so often and fouling out of five contests. Gaines emerged as one of the better rebounders for JSU with 4.2 per outing and was also second on the unit with 28 blocked shots, but for someone who was involved as much as he was, posting just 11 assists in 29 games was quite disappointing.
As for the Governors, who last won this tournament back in 2008, against OVC opponents this year the team spread the wealth as four players scored in double figures, but no one had more than John Fraley with his 13.5 ppg. Focusing his energies in the paint, Fraley shot 64.8 percent from the field in those 16 games and pulled down a team-best 9.3 rpg and made 28 blocked shots. However, Fraley could also be a liability for the program with a mere 64.9 percent shooting at the free-throw line against those familiar foes. Melvin Baker (12.8 ppg), Josh Terry (11.8 ppg) and Tyshwan Edmondson (11.3 ppg) also played key roles in the offense for APSU, the latter shooting better from three-point range (.408) than he did from the floor overall (.388) in 16 league bouts. Not much of a three-point shooting team compared to the competition, the Govs knocked down just 4.4 treys per game.
Austin Peay has dominated this series since the very beginning, and continues to do so. One would think the Gamecocks would be due to break through, but with an offense that is lacking big time, JSU is still a weaker squad even in the postseason.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Austin Peay 62, Jacksonville State 57
02/29 10:38:06 ET