EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Austin Peay's Terry Taylor scored a career-best 33 points to lead the Governors past SIUE 79-71 at the Vadalabene Center.
Taylor made 12 of 24 shots, including two treys, sank 7 of 13 free throws and grabbed 12 rebounds.
"He's a very good player. He has great movement with his feet, strong hands and he plays hard," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "And when we got into foul trouble, that made it tougher."
While SIUE fell to 5-12 overall and 1-4 in the OVC, Austin Peay remained tied with Murray State and Jacksonville State for first place in the league. The Governors improved to 13-5 and 5-0 in defeating the Cougars for the eighth successive time.
"We battled, played hard and our kids played with a lot of emotion," Harris said. "I don't take that for granted because our players are competitors, and they want to win. They are fighters, and this is the first time in four years that I have seen it where everybody has cared. They just have to channel their emotions a little better."
Freshman Cameron Williams continued his solid play by scoring a team-high 16 points. He also had seven rebounds. Reserve Jaylen McCoy pitched in 10 points, while Tyresse Williford contributed 13 points and four assists. Brandon Jackson added eight points and eight rebounds.
"We battled, and we continue to do that consistently," Harris said. "But we made 18 turnovers, and that's too many against anybody. We need to do a better job of handling the ball and finishing around the rim."
Foul trouble also badgered the Cougars. They committed 29 of them and three players fouled out. Austin Peay made 17 of 34 free throws and hit on 28 of 62 field-goal attempts, including 6 of 20 treys.
SIUE made 22 of 58 shots, including 9 of 20 from 3-point land. The Cougars sank 18 of 23 foul shots and snagged 41 rebounds, one more than the Governors.
"I like how we played the whole game, but we were a little passive against their zone defense," Harris said.
The Cougars welcome OVC opponent Murray State at 7 p.m. Saturday to complete their two-game homestand. SIUE then travels to Southeast Missouri (Jan. 24) and UT Martin (Jan. 26) before returning home to face Morehead State (Jan. 31) and Eastern Kentucky (Feb. 2). Both of those home games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Murray State is different from Austin Peay, but they are a really good team, too," Harris said. "But they are no better than Austin Peay or Jacksonville State. It will be a very emotional game against them. What I would like to see is more consistency with our state of mind."