Freshman Elijah Hutchins-Everett jumps to begin the game in Austin Peay’s 78-51 OVC Tournament loss to Tennessee Tech. Zoe Barnes| The All State
Coming off two consecutive wins to finish the regular season, Austin Peay looked to have plenty of momentum heading into their final OVC tournament. That was not the case, as the Governors lost in blowout fashion, 78-51, to cap off their season.
“When our best was needed, we did not play up to the level that we have been playing up to this point.” Austin Peay Head Coach Nate James said. “My heart aches because you want to continue on and these young men have given me their best all season long.”
Shooting and defensive struggles were a theme for Austin Peay for most of the game, but especially in the first half. After the Governors took a two-point lead midway through the first half, Tennessee Tech went on a 26-4 run to take a huge lead in the first half.
The second half was much of the same for the Governors, as they seemed to gain some momentum early in the second half, but Tennessee Tech answered with a huge run to shut the door on any hopes of an Austin Peay comeback.
“They were well prepared and hit shots with a lot of confidence,” said James. “We couldn’t get into a rhythm in the beginning and I think that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Senior Elton Walker was the star of the night for Austin Peay, scoring 16 points and grabbing 6 rebounds on the night.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this season, but as a family we stayed together,” said Walker. “I play hard for Coach James and my teammates.”
This is the final game that the Governors will play as a member of the OVC, as the program will transition to the A-Sun conference beginning next season.
In Head Coach Nate James’ first season at the helm of the Austin Peay program, the Governors finished with a record of 12-17.
“Every game this team gave me their all and it has been an honor to coach them. My biggest thing is to always play with a lot of pride and to play so hard that every supporter feels good about what we’re doing and where we’re going,” said James. “In your first season you don’t know what to expect as you strive to build and establish a brand of ball. The main thing that you want is for guys to show up everyday and fight and this group did that.”