Govs falter in loss to Jacksonville State, 71-59

Turnovers, missed free throws, and only two players in double-figures led to a 71-59 loss for the Govs on Thursday, Jan. 23 against Jacksonville State.

The Govs only led at the 16:32 mark of the first half as the Gamecocks (10-13, 4-4 OVC) cruised to their second road victory with the held of mistakes made by APSU. Brian Williams led all scorers with 25 points, and the Govs couldn’t find an answer for him with key players having off nights. Junior guard D.D. Smith did not play after tweaking his ankle during practice the day before, and as a result, the APSU back court consisting of Zavion Williams and Travis Betran combined to score just 11 total points.

Senior Will Triggs led the Govs with 16 points, while Chris Horton found his groove late in the game to finish with 11 points and five blocks.

APSU (8-12, 2-4) came out cold to score just 23 points in the first half on 10 of 22 from the field, with the real struggle being at the foul line as the Govs were a miserable 18.2 percent from the stripe. It was by far the worst half APSU has played this season.

With Triggs leading the charge down the stretch, the Govs closed the gap to 10 points at the 2:49 mark, but after a couple of turnovers by APSU and made free throws by the Gamecocks, it was too little too late as the Govs dropped their fourth-straight contest.

APSU ends losing streak with win over Tennessee Tech

It would be an understatement to say APSU desperately needed a victory to avoid a fifth consecutive loss, and on Saturday, Jan. 25, the Govs earned it as Tennessee Tech came to town.

D.D. Smith returned to the lineup, and from the start, it was clear having him on the court made a difference. Smith totaled 18 points and nine assists as one of four Govs who finished with 10 or more points. Senior guard Travis Betran returned to top form following a tough game on Thursday to lead all scorers with 20 points, while Will Triggs notched a double-double (17 points, 13 rebounds).

It was a much better effort on Saturday for the Govs (9-12, 3-4 OVC), who shot an impressive 67.6 percent from the field, seven of 12 from three-point land, and hit 81.3 percent of their free throws.

Early in the game, the Golden Eagles (10-12, 3-4) had issues with foul trouble from top scorers Dennis Ogbe and Dwan Caldwell. However, senior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas kept TTU in the game to lead his team in points with 17. Despite playing limited minutes, Ogbe and Caldwell finished with 11 and 13 points, respectively, and converted an astounding 24 second-chance points.

But in the second half, TTU went on a cold streak to finish with a field goal percentage of 37.3, and wasn’t enough to mount a comeback against the against the Govs who came in ready to end the slump.

APSU will return to the Dunn Center on Friday, Jan. 31 to play host to arch rival Murray State. Tip off will begin at 8:00 p.m.

Photo: Ed Dyson (24) comes off a ball screen against Tennessee Tech (Meaghan Malone/The All State)