On Thursday, Jan. 23, the APSU basketball teams beat the Tennessee State Tigers by a combined 43 points. The Lady Govs won their first home OVC game this season 76-58. The men won their game 99-74 with Jordyn Adams and Terry Taylor dropping 37 points apiece.
The women kicked off the double header and let TSU hang around in the first quarter. The Govs got hot with Arielle Gonzalez-Varner as well as a consistent three point shooting from the backcourt. In the first quarter the Governors scored 24 points while the Tigers put up 16.
The second quarter would be the turning point of the game when Shay-Lee Kirby came off the bench to score eight straight points with two three-pointers and a layup. She would go on to have 14 points. This would contribute to a 12-0 run to open up the score and give the Governors more breathing room.
Kirby praised her teammates after the game.
“I really owe it to the girls tonight. They were moving around and allowing me to get space for my shots,” Kirby said.
Kirby is a freshman and played as she had been in a Governors’ uniform for years instead of months. She describes her emotional management with the pressures of being an athlete in a short and sweet way.
“It doesn’t really bother me being a freshman,” Kirby said. Cool, calm and collected, after sparking what would be the beginning of the end for the Tigers.
When the half ended the score was 47-28, advantage APSU. This was all possible due to lights out shooting and stifling defense. These factors led to five threes on 71% shooing as well as forcing 13 Tigers’ turnovers. That margin would inflate to 30 by the final buzzer.
In the second half, the Govs were in a drought shooting, finishing the game below 40% on field goal percentage. APSU’s largest lead was 27, which was quickly cut back to 15 after a 12-0 Tigers’ run. 13 points would be the closest TSU deficit before the final whistle blew and all the smoke had settled.
APSU women’s basketball has their next game on Saturday, 1 p.m. in the Dunn, hosting an 11-7 Belmont team that is now 6-1 in OVC play.
After watching the ladies dominate, it was the men’s team that had to show up and finish the job. With the combination of Taylor and Adams scoring 74 points, it would be hard to lose.
APSU opened up the first half shooting 50% from the floor, 50% from three, and a flawless 11-11 from the charity stripe. The Govs played great basketball with tons of ball movement to create open shots. Said open shots would lead to 28 first half points from Adams as well as another 15 from Taylor.
The effort and energy generated by the Governors in the second half could not be matched by Tennessee State: the Tigers started to key in on Adams, holding him to just nine additional points. The focus defensively meant the other half of the superstar duo could shine. Taylor exploded in the second half and got buckets whenever and wherever he felt necessary.
During the game, some fans were willing to share their opinions about the game. Junior Colton Wead made it clear that the explosiveness from the Men’s team was special: “No matter what these guys do, they always play with intensity and it makes it easy for us to get into the game and support them,” Wead said.
Wead was not wrong, the Govs put an aerial assault on the rim in stride to their great victory.
This was a strong showing for both teams and provided much-needed momentum for their next opponent in Belmont: The Bruins and APSU are two of the top three teams in the conference. This could be just a taste of what is to come for the Governors basketball team as the season winds down. Belmont is 14-6 and 5-2 in OVC play.