Memphis, TN – Still searching for their first win of the 12 season, the Austin Peay Governors face an uphill climb in that quest ranked Memphis Tigers.
Despite returning four starters from last year's team that won 20 games, Austin Peay is 0-8 to kick off this season, marking its worst start since 1963-64. The Govs, who are playing their sixth true road game of the campaign tonight, have been held below 60 points four times, and they're coming off a 67-59 setback at Lipscomb on Monday.
Memphis topped Belmont in its season opener, 97-81, and then battled the likes of Michigan, Tennessee and Georgetown in Hawaii as part of the prestigious Maui Invitational. A 73-61 loss to the Wolverines on day one was followed by a 99-97 double-overtime win over the Volunteers. Then came a 91-88 overtime loss to the Hoyas which evened the team's record overall at 2-2. The Tigers returned home on Monday to beat up on Jackson State, doing so in a 70-45 final.
Memphis owns a commanding 16-4 advantage in the all-time series with Austin Peay, and the Tigers have won each of the last five meetings. APSU's last win in the series took place in Memphis on November 22, 2002 (81-80 in OT).
With a record of 0-8, it's apparent the Governors are experiencing problems at both ends of the court. Their offensive deficiencies range from shooting just 23.8 percent from three-point range to committing 15.5 turnovers per outing, while their defensive shortcomings allow for foes to connect on 48.2 percent of their total shot and claim a +3.2 rebounding margin. Senior guards TyShawn Edmondson and Josh Terry are the only two players currently averaging double digits in the scoring column with 13.4 and 12.1 ppg, respectively, and the duo comes up with a combined 9.1 rpg and 34 steals as well. Edmondson had his streak of three straight games being the team's leading scorer snapped in the recent loss at Lipscomb, as Melvin Baker was high man with 13 points.
Even though Memphis beat Jackson State by 25 points earlier in the week, the home team scored just 70 points -- its second-fewest of the season, and lowest by far in a win. Now that is likely because no starter played more than 27 minutes, but a disappointing 3-of-10 effort from beyond the arc coupled with a 36-29 rebounding deficit played a role as well. Joe Jackson scored 15 points to pace the Tigers, while Chris Crawford added 14 points and six boards. Stan Simpson grabbed 10 caroms for Memphis, which held its overmatched opponent to 30.8 percent field goal efficiency and goaded JSU into 23 turnovers, scoring 36 points off those miscues. Will Barton (17.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) heads a list of three Tigers currently averaging double figures in scoring, as he is joined by Jackson (13.6 ppg, 3.2 apg) and Adonis Thomas (10.0 ppg), the latter of whom has produced despite coming off the bench in all five games played thus far. Memphis is shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor, but owns just a +5.6 scoring margin (83.0 ppg to 77.4 ppg).