The APSU faithful saw a little bit of good, bad and ugly on Saturday, Dec. 1, when both the men and women’s team were in action at home. The fans were treated to a strong 79-66 win over Ball State by the women, but saw the men fall to Fairfield, 74-55.
The women faced a Ball State team which saw a short bench. The Cardinal only brought seven players with them, but did not play like a team with a small roster, applying pressure all game, but it did not seem to faze the Lady Govs, who forced 15 first half turnovers and scored 17 points off of them compared to Ball State’s three.
The women opened the game with a 7-0 run with a young lineup, as freshmen Jennifer Nwokocha and Tiasha Gray both made starts, Gray’s first of the season.
“We are very pleased with our freshmen class. I think they continue to just get better and better each and every game,” said Lady Govs’ head coach, Carrie Daniels.
The two teams went back and forth for much of the half, but a Leslie Martinez three-pointer and a Gray steal and layup as the buzzer went off pushed the team’s lead to 11 points going into halftime, 32-21.
The second half would be the Megan Bussabarger show. After the opening possession netted APSU two points, the Lady Govs turned the ball over three consecutive times, watching a 13 point lead dwindle to seven. Bussabarger was not having it, as she stepped up her game and led the Lady Govs on a fierce run that saw APSU’s lead get as high as 23 at 72-49.
“When we move the ball and execute, good things happen…we did a better job of moving (the ball) in the second half, and that’s what we need to do,” said Daniels.
Bussabarger went six of nine, two of three from three-point range in the second half, scoring 14 of her team-high 20 points to help lead the Lady Govs the victory. Martinez, who came off the bench, had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The second game pitted the men against Fairfield, a team that seemed to pull the trigger anywhere from within half-court, as all five players on the floor at any given time were capable of making a long distance bucket.
The men dominated down-low to begin the game, gaining an early five-point lead, 13-8, but it was the biggest lead APSU saw, as Fairfield responded by toughing up in the paint and applying pressure. After giving up an 10-2 run to end the half, the Govs went into halftime trailing by eight, 36-28, despite having 14 turnovers which turned into 21 Fairfield points.
“Our plan was to smack them in the mouth before they smack us,” said Govs’ forward, Will Triggs. “I think we had that in the first half but we lost it just a little bit.”
The second half was a like watching two different ballgames. APSU and Fairfield went back and forth for the first nine minutes, and the Govs were looking at a small deficit, 48-44, with just over 11 minutes left to play. That was where the APSU luck ended.
“They have some ways to make you pay,” said head coach Dave Loos.
Fairfield used a 17-4 run to put the Govs’ dreams of a comeback to rest, eventually gaining a lead as high as 23 near the end of the match. The Govs were not able to keep up, as the Fairfield fast-break dropped 18 points on APSU. APSU only mustered two fast break points. Combine that with 21 Gov turnovers, and all the odds were against APSU to win the game.
“I think it was our turnovers,” said Triggs, “I think if we had controlled the ball a little more, I think we would have been able to stick with them.”
“I don’t think we played with the emotion or toughness,” said Loos. “We didn’t play well. It was ugly.”
The Govs were led by Travis Betran who had 17 points on the night. Triggs added 11 points and six rebounds, and center Chris Horton added nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Five Fairfield players scored in double figures.
The wins pushed the Lady Govs’ record to 2-5 on the season while the men fell back under .500 at 3-4. The women will be on the road Tuesday, Dec. 4, against Middle Tennessee State, while the men will face Oakland City at home on Wednesday, Dec. 5.