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APSU men’s basketball turned a dominant second-half run into the team’s twentieth win of the 2018-19 season. Chris Porter-Bunton turned into the main provider for APSU, finishing with 19 points as the Govs bounced Southeast Missouri 83-70 on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Spanning for about seven minutes starting at the 11:36 mark in the second half, APSU went on a 24-6 tear against the visiting Redhawks. The improbable run turned into the deciding factor that handed APSU their 12th Ohio Valley Conference win of the season.

“[At that moment] It is time to like at the guys and say to turn it up cause this one is going to the wire,” Head Coach Matt Figger said. “Those kids responded and it is a credit to them. They fought and competed in that stretch.”

The run got started when the unlikely spark plug, Isaiah Hart knocked down a 3-pointer while drawing the foul. Hart knocked down three triples in the series while Porter-Bunton and Jabari McGhee did the inside damage.

“We had the momentum and everybody just started to click,” Hart said. “My shot just happened to go in and that sparked us for a good little run.”

The run has two parts to dissect. APSU’s exceling offensive, which ic something that has been happening night in and night out for the Govs. And the defense, which can quickly turn into the crux of this squad.

Outside of that period, APSU (20-8, 12-3 OVC) did not look head and shoulders above second-to-last SEMO. The Redhawks (9-19, 4-11 OVC) outshot the Govs by nearly seven percent, banked 41 percent of their triples and had a perfect 12-for-12 performance at the line.

McGhee finished the night with 18 points and 19 rebounds. The grad transfer found himself in the middle of a long, physical affair worth 38 personal fouls in total.

“We are at home and you might think you should get some of the calls, but you have to play through all of that stuff,” McGhee said. “At the end of the day, you have to make plays and play together as a team.”

Voice of Jabari McGhee

Sage Tolbert, who had a technical due to a altercation with Terry Taylor, led the guests with 14 points while Nygal Russell followed with 11 and Jonathan Dalton, who had 10.

“I was there to play defense,” Taylor said. “We did not come out with the fire in the beginning and they hit a lot of shots. We had to help each get stops.

Voice of Terry Taylor

APSU shot 41 percent in the first half and went 3-for-13 for three. Despite having a 41-36 lead, something about the energy in the Dunn felt off.

“I feel like the first half we came out kind of flat,” Hart said. “We are always working on our defense, our defense is our identity. In the second half, we came out with the intensity we needed.”

Last time the Govs had a 20 win season was 2007-08. APSU went on to win the OVC tournament.

APSU will be back in action for a 4 p.m. tip against UT Martin on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Coach’s Corner

Voice of Head Coach Matt Figger

OVC Standings

  1. Belmont (22-4, 13-2)
  2. Mu**ay State (22-4, 13-2)
  3. APSU (20-8, 12-3)
  4. Jacksonville State (20-8, 12-3)
  5. Eastern Illinois (14-13, 7-7)
  6. Morehead State (10-17, 6-8)
  7. UT Martin (10-15, 5-9)
  8. Tennessee State (8-18, 5-9)
  9. SIU Edwardsville (9-18, 5-10)
  10. Eastern Kentucky (11-16, 4-10)
  11. Southeast Missouri (9-18, 4-10)
  12. Tennessee Tech (7-21, 3-12)

Saturday’s Schedule

UT Martin at APSU

Eastern Kentucky at Jacksonville State

SIU Edwardsville at Belmont

Southeast Missouri at Mu**ay State

Morehead State at Tennessee Tech

Eastern Illinois at Tennessee State