CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team fell to Austin Peay 69-68 on Thursday night at the Dunn Center.
The Governors (6-11, 1-2 OVC) made a tip-in off a missed free throw with 6.4 seconds on the clock to beat the Tigers (3-16, 0-4 OVC). TSU had an 11-point lead with just over six minutes to play that evaporated.
Jay Harris scored a game-high 16 points while also grabbing seven rebounds to lead four double-digit scorers. Christian Mekowulu added 14 points and eight boards while reigning freshman of the week, Darreon Reddick, scored 11, pulled down six rebounds and dished out three assists. Zachary Lee also had 10 points on the night.
Three players for Austin Peay had double figures, as well. Josh Robinson led the team with 15 while Chris Horton had 14 and Zavion Williams added 13, including the game-winning two points.
The game started off with a good back-and-forth; three lead changes happened before the first media timeout. The Governors then proceeded to jump out to a 10-4 lead behind tough inside defense and timely shooting by Josh Robinson.
Austin Peay maintained a steady two-possession lead up until the 3:23 mark when Harris hit a jumper to bring the score to 23-20. The lead fluctuated from seven to as little as two, but Chris Horton made a buzzer beating jumper in the lane to give the Governors a 31-26 lead going into the locker room.
Free throw shooting fed the difference as APSU went 10-for-16 from the line in the half while TSU was 3-for-4.
TSU tied the game at 37 four minutes into the second half as they were able to limit APSU to one shot per possession during that span. The Tigers emphasized the inside-scoring game, feeding Mekowulu the ball and tallying 10 points in the paint leading up to the first media timeout.
Cutting through the lane, Harris dropped a layup through the net to give TSU its first lead of the night at 44-43 with 12:38 left. The Governors retook the lead, but only for a moment, as the Tigers gained the advantage back.
TSU continued to push its advantage, getting as much as an 11-point lead with six minutes left. Where free-throw shooting was Austin Peay’s catalyst in the first half, it became Big Blue’s in the second. The Tigers shot 20-of-26 from the line in the closing 20 minutes of basketball.
The Governors again shrunk the Tigers’ lead to three thanks to a stifling full-court press. With 53.6 seconds left, Austin Peay forced a turnover. Their subsequent three-point attempt fell short leading to a pair of free-throws from Harris. One of the two fell through the hoop, but the Governors responded with a dunk by Damarius Smith to make the score 68-66 with 26 seconds left.
After being fouled, TSU a missed couple of free-throws and committed a foul on Austin Peay's Robinson on the subsequent trip down the floor.
At the line for two shots, Robinson sank the first one. As he missed the second shot, Williams tipped in the free-floating ball to give the Governors a 69-68 lead with 6.4 seconds remaining. TSU’s attempt at a buzzer beater fell short as APSU grabbed the win.
The Tigers will travel to Murray State on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the game can be seen on the OVC Digital Network.