For the first time in over six years, the APSU men’s basketball team left the campus of Tennessee State with a win. The victory also marks the Governors’ first win in the Music City since the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Championship game against UT Martin.
The infamous streak came to a close with a 68-59 Govs victory, due largely in part to an impressive 20-point performance from Reginald Gee and a stellar defensive presence from APSU.
Coming into the contest, TSU ranked last in the OVC in both three-point and free-throw shooting. The Governors capitalized on the Tigers’ weaknesses by continually applying defensive pressure in the paint and forcing contested shots.
Tennessee State shot just 34% from the field, including 32% from deep and 62.5% from the charity stripe. The Govs neutralized any interior offense that the Tigers attempted to facilitate, allowing just 10 points in the paint while scoring 32 themselves.
Since having his first season at APSU cut short due to a lower-body injury, Gee has been an effective offensive weapon for APSU throughout the early part of the season. His game against the Tigers marks the second time this season he has reached the 20-point mark, and his sixth time reaching double-digits in scoring throughout the team’s first nine games.
The graduate transfer has provided veteran leadership to a team primarily consistent of underclassmen. The fifth-year senior has worked diligently to get to where he is at today and says he has his teammates and coaches to thank for that.
“I have worked extremely hard for this moment and opportunity,” Gee said. “My teammates and my coaches trust me to do what I have to do on the court to help us win, so it’s a blessing.”
Governors head coach Matt Figger had high praise for his veteran guard, saying that he has stepped up as an effective scoring option for a team that has lacked such throughout the early part of the season.
“He’s been playing in year one for me. [Last season] he played five games and was out,” Figger said. “Now, he is trying to feel me out and I am still trying to feel him out. I want him to know the difference in what is good at certain times and what is not.
“Tonight, I felt like he took that step of understanding things in the team concept. I’m very happy that he now should have confidence, because it wasn’t Terry [Taylor] that had to throw us on his back. Terry did the dirty work with the rebounds, but Reggie picked up the scoring slack and we have got to get more guys to score the ball. I am really happy for him, he had a good bounce back game.”
After knocking off Mu**ay State on Dec. 21, the team now sits at 2-1 in conference play. The Govs will return home on Saturday for a doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky. The women’s squad will tip-off against the Colonels at 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow.