The Southeastern Louisiana Lions led the Austin Peay State Governors for nearly 29 minutes on Saturday and even got their lead as high as 14 points in the first half.
They took a lead into halftime and held it for most of the next 10 minutes. But then the Governors went on a 30-2 run and scored the final 22 points of the game to blow the Lions out in Clarksville.
Yes, the Govs won 81-60 despite coming out flat and trailing for most of the game.
“We just had to play harder,” said APSU coach Matt Figger. “We weren’t playing hard enough. We turned the ball over too much on one end then not get back fast enough. When you turn the ball over, it’s deflating. We didn’t come out ready to go. We’re still a little feelings hurt the past 18 days from losing at Vanderbilt, Tulsa and Western Kentucky. We just didn’t play hard enough.”
The run was fueled by an abundance of Terry Taylor touches in the paint, as the forward dominated for 20 second half points. He finished with a season-high 37 points and 16 rebounds on a highly-efficient 15-of-21 shooting performance to go along with making 3-of-5 three pointers.
“Once I got a few around the rim and I started feeling it, I told my team ‘feed me,’” Taylor said. “I’m going to score or I’m going to get fouled or if they double team me, I’ll kick it back out for a shot.”
Just as impressive was the overall team defense in the second half. After allowing 48 points in the first 20 minutes, the Governors turned around and allowed just 12 in the final 20 including keeping the Lions off the board for the last 8:37.
The Govs forced 17 turnovers, blocked three shots and held SLU to a 13.9 field goal percentage in the second half.
“It’s all about trust,” Taylor said. “Coach harps on us about trusting each other. Playing for your brother. I told them at the half, ‘it’s time for us to play the way we’re supposed to play. How coach wants us to play. We can’t be out here complaining and getting at each other. We’re here to help each other and play for our brother. It’s not me, it’s we.’ I had to reiterate that and we showed that.”
Alongside Taylor’s massive night, freshman guard Jordyn Adams scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, Reginald Gee had 12 points and two steals, Carlos Paez had seven points and six assists. Eli Abaev pulled down 10 rebounds.
The win is the first for the Govs since Nov. 5 and first against a Division I opponent this season.
“It’s huge. We needed it,” Figger said. “We were wounded animals, and the guys decided that they’d had enough. When we were down 12 in the first half, they could have folded right there, and we almost did. But we found a way to regroup at half, we’re down five at half, and came out in the second half and played to the identity that we want to play with.”
The Governors (2-3) face a quick turnaround. They’ll host the South Carolina State Bulldogs on Monday at 7 p.m. before taking the holiday off. They return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in Fayetteville, Ark. to face the 5-0 Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m.