On Thursday, Feb. 6, APSU men’s basketball team lost their first Ohio Valley Conference game of the 2019-20 season, Tennessee State winning late in that game 70-68.
The loss snapped a 10-game conference win-streak for the Govs, which was their best start to a season in the OVC since the 2003-04 season.
Following a day of rest, the Governors would travel once again to Nashville, facing off against Belmont University at the Curb Event Center. The Bruins would pull away from the Govs, with a final score of 71-63.
“I really don’t know, I just know my shots weren’t falling,” freshman Jordyn Adams said. “Late in the game, I just couldn’t find a rhythm. I tried to get my teammates involved and get them shots.”
Adams, who poured in 24 on the Jan. 25 game between Belmont and APSU, was limited to nine points on 4-12 shooting. The Governors shot 41% from the floor and made just six of their 23 three-point attempts.
The Bruins held the game close with the Govs throughout the first half, holding only a two point advantage into the break. Belmont broke out of their three-point shooting slump from the first (26%), however, shooting 5-11 from distance in the second.
Free throw shooting benefited Belmont as well, sinking 14-18 attempts in the final 20 minutes, making 7-8 in the final minute and 16 seconds.
Head coach Matt Figger saw both similarities and differences between the losses on Thursday and Saturday.
“I thought our effort was 10 times better than at (Tennessee State). I am completely happy with our effort,” Figger said. “I’m not happy with the fact that the game is on the line, we need to execute, and we don’t execute.”
Figger’s note on execution is in reference to a stretch of four minutes in the second half where the Govs, being down two, were unable to produce any offense. APSU turned the ball over three times in that span and allowed the Bruins to take a nine-point advantage in the final frame of the half.
With the victory, Belmont has won the previous five home games against APSU, dating back to the 2008-09 season. The Bruins have also won eight of the last 10 total meetings between the two teams.
Three-point shooting has been a key aspect of the losses this season for APSU: the Governors have shot a poor 26.6% from beyond-the-arc in losses, nearly 10 points below their season average of 35. In the past two games, Figger’s group has shot a combined 24.8% from distance.
The Govs look to snap their cold streak from deep and get back to their winning ways Thursday, Feb. 13 against Mu**ay State. With Saturday’s defeat, the Racers have sole possession of the top spot in the OVC standings. Mu**ay defeated Tennessee State in their most recent game, winning 73-65 in the Music City.