Electric, passionate and hostile are words that can describe APSU’s back and forth battle with Belmont, but no one would describe the Dunn Center as somber.
However, when the curtain closed that was the feeling amongst APSU’s faithful following, a 96-92 loss to the Bruins (15-4, 6-2 Ohio Valley Conference).
“I’m not the happiest of campers,” Terry Taylor said. “They scored 56 points in the half and shot [about] 70 percent. We lost.”
Throughout the night, the Govs (14-7, 6-2 OVC) not only kept pace with Belmont but were controlling the contest.
APSU shot 52.2 percent from the field, with the damage mostly coming from a 20-for-36 first half and 6-for-11 behind the arch. Riding the hot hand, APSU took a 50-40 lead into the break. However, the matchup would eventually play out to be the Govs’ first loss when leading at the half and first loss at home this season.
What went wrong for Head Coach Matt Figger and his side is how well Belmont came out into the second half. The Bruins went 1-for-7 for three in the first half but made 50 percent of the 3-points in the second. To take their first lead since the 14:39 mark of the first half, Belmont road a 14-0 run with less than seven minutes to play and a 27-13 run to seal off the hosts.
“The game got tight and we were lackadaisical,” Taylor said. “We were just careless in the end.”
The Bruins were led by senior Dylan Windler, who finished with 33 points, the lot coming in a 20-point unanswered, individual 7-minute run.
“Windler just took the game over. He was not the previous player of the year for no reason,” Taylor said. “He put the team on his back and got them together.”
APSU had no answer for the Bruins on the inside, being outscored 60-34 in the paint.
“That was the most important thing in the game, and we could not keep out of the paint. You cannot beat a good team doing that,” Figger said. “We have to figure out what our identity is as far as defensively and in rebounding. There is something we are not doing right now.”
Chris Porter-Bunton was the main supplier for the Govs. Porter-Bunton finished with 24 points, including two back-to-back 3-pointers with under two minutes to play. Taylor contributed 16 first-half points and 23 on the game, but the Govs could not stall Belmont’s attack.
“At that moment big shots had to happen. Someone needed to step out, so why not me,” Porter-Bunton said. “Taking from this game we need to learn how to finish games out. Against good teams, you have to put them away.”
APSU will return to the court with a road match against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Thursday, Jan. 31. Tennessee Tech (7-14, 3-5 OVC) is coming off 91-85 road win over Eastern Kentucky.