Austin Peay Rebounds in Rivalry Win
Austin Peay (7-14, 3-4) escaped the Dunn hothouse Saturday night, 84-81 over a talented Murray State (11-10, 5-2) unit.
It wasn’t easy.
“At halftime we were shooting 26%,” said Josh Robinson. “We knew we weren’t going to keep shooting that. So we just said, ‘Keep playing defense. Keep getting stops and our offense will come.”
Despite shooting an eye-gouging 9-34 through the first twenty minutes, Austin Peay held a 63-58 lead with 3:09 left. After an arena-wide ninety-second dry spell the unsung hero Christopher Porter-Bunton buried a three-pointer from the top of the key.
The newfound eight-point lead brought the red-clad faithful to their feet. With only 1:30 left the game appeared in the bag.
Foul-saddled Murray State center Terrell Miller managed a layup. After Jared Savage finished a breakaway dunk Jonathan Stark hit a triple.
Still 1:05 should not be enough time to cough up a 63-58 lead.
Josh Robinson missed the front end of one-and-one. After Stark hit another jumper, Robinson was guided to the endline. A potential two point trip vanished.
Stark bottomed out another three-point bomb. 68-68. That eight-point lead felt distant and perhaps mythical in Peay’s mind.
John Murry heroically converted a difficult jumper to give Peay back their lead, 70-68.
“They made some tough shots to their credit,” said Murray State Head Coach Matt McMahon.
A final trip to the line would secure the win.
Instead Kenny Jones missed the front half of another one-and-one in the final ten seconds. Either trip could have trashed the visitor’s chances.
Starks beat the buzzer with a running layup, sending the game to overtime, 70 all.
“I guess the positives would be that when we were down eight the guys made the plays to get the game to overtime,” said Murray State Head Coach Matt McMahon.
“We didn’t have a down moment,” said Christopher Porter-Bunton. “We just had to gather ourselves because we were up and then they came back. We just had to gather ourselves and keep fighting.”
Peay’s forward Jones was a little down on himself cause of late free throw miss. He obviously attacks his problems urgently.
On the first overtime possession Jones collected an offensive rebound and made his impending free throw, 73-70.
“We did a good job forcing tough perimeter shots and they made some tough shots to their credit, but I don’t think we did a good job checking out and getting long rebounds,” said MSU Coach McMahon.
The Governors collected 15 offensive rebounds. High school teammates, Jared Savage and Porter-Bunton did the most damage on the glass. Savage hauled in seven offensive rebounds and CPB grabbed three.
“They were bigger than us, but we just had to use our quickness,” said Christopher Porter-Bunton.
Murray State primarily utilized three bench players (Gee McGhee, Gilbert Thomas, and Jalen Dupree). McGhee was great with eight points and nine rebounds, most of his contributions in the first half as Miller and Sanchious battled foul trouble.
Josh Robinson and John Murry each finished with 22 points, outpaced by Jonathan Stark (27 pts).
“I took it as a challenge to me because Jordan…what is his name? Starks,” said Robinson. “We are the two leading (OVC) scorers. I wanted to go at him and I think he did a good job going at me. But we got the win.”
The offensive rebounding and an emotional rebounding from a dire regulation conclusion earned the Governors a third OVC win.
“When you come on the recruiting visit this is what you dream of,” said Porter-Bunton. “They always talk about the Murray State game. This is picture perfect.”