» By TRENT SINGER – firstname.lastname@example.org
In their last game in Dave Aaron Arena, the Govs’ four seniors, TyShwan Edmondson, Melvin Baker, Josh Terry and John Fraley, combined for 56 points as APSU defeated the Southeast Missouri Redhawks, 68-59, on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Edmondson led all players in scoring with 25 points, shooting an impressive 6-of-7 from three-point range. Baker was the night’s second leading-scorer with a career-high 22 points, shooting 9-of-15 from field-goal range.
“We both were carrying each other the whole game, telling each other to keep shooting,” Edmondson said. “Everybody was leaning on us and looking for us to shoot.”
Terry contributed a great defensive performance and six points before fouling out and receiving a standing ovation from the crowd near the end of the game.
Despite being outrebounded by 21 boards in the last meeting between the two teams, the Govs were outrebounded by only four in last weekend’s game.
Fraley led the team with 10 rebounds.
“I thought all four of them really contributed,” said head coach Dave Loos. “It was encouraging going into the tournament next week. That’ll be big.”
At the beginning of the first half, the Govs started slow, but Baker stepped up, scoring 10 first-half points as the team trailed going into halftime, 24-25.
“I had a lot of open shots, so I decided to take them,” Baker said.
In the second half, the Govs shot more consistently, shooting 63 percent from the field and improving from 37 percent in the first half.
The team opened the second half by going on a 13-5 run. However, it wasn’t enough to stop the Redhawks from getting back into the game.
The Govs solidified their lead in the final minutes after Baker and Edmondson both hit clutch three-pointers to give the team a 60-52 lead.
Edmondson capped off his final home game with 19 points in the second half, shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc during the period.
The seniors were not alone in the victory over Southeast Missouri. Freshman Herdie Lawrence added three points and five assists, while Jerome Clyburn, Will Triggs, Chris Freeman and Justin Blake combined for nine points from the bench.
The Govs finish the regular season at 8-8 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 12-19 overall. The win secured the No. 6 seed in the OVC tournament, which begins this week on Wednesday, Feb. 29, in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.
The Govs will take on the No. 7 seed Jacksonville State Gamecocks at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, Southeast Missouri finishes with the No. 5 seed and will play No. 8 seed Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m.
Six weeks ago, the Govs defeated Jacksonville State, 60-57, at home. They will look to do it again as both teams enter the tournament on three-game winning streaks.
“They’re playing well,” Loos said. “They’ve won several in a row. They’ll be tough.” TAS