CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -On Senior Night, Austin Peay State University's seniors soared to the forefront. Seniors TyShwan Edmondson and Melvin Baker combined for 47 points, each hitting a late-game three pointer, as the Governors defeated Southeast Missouri, 68-59, Saturday night in Ohio Valley Conference basketball action in Dave Aaron Arena.
The victory allowed the Govs to finish the OVC season 8-8, making it 19 straight seasons where the Govs have finished .500 or better in the league. It also allowed them to rise to the No. 6 seed in this coming week's OVC tournament. Entering the post-season on a three-game win streak, the Govs, now 12-19 overall, will play No. 7 seed Jacksonville State, 8 p.m., Wednesday, in first-round league tourney play.
Southeast Missouri, meanwhile, lost its fourth straight game and ended the OVC season at 9-7. They enter OVC tourney play at 14-15 overall.
After Southeast Missouri gained the lead, 52-51 on a pair of Nick Niemczyk free throws, Baker tied the contest, making one-of-two free throw attempts. Baker then cleared the defensive rebound after a SEMO miss and came right back to give the Govs the lead by nailing a jumper with 4:13 remaining.
After a series of misses by both teams, Baker expanded the Govs lead, 57-52, by nailing a long three pointer from right in front of the Govs bench with 2:33 left. Seconds later back took the ball away from SEMO center Leon Powell and Edmondson literally put the game way by nailing an almost 30 footer from top of the circle to make it 60-52, with 1:48 remaining.
From there, it was a matter of the Govs making enough free throws down the stretch.
Edmondson led the Govs with 25 points, including a season-best 6-of-7 from the three point line. Baker added a career-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
But it was more than Edmondson and Baker leading the Govs seniors. Center John Fraley, who was double-teamed inside all night, grabbed 10 rebounds. The Govs were out-rebounded by 21 rebounds in the two teams' first meeting and finished only with a 33-29 deficit, Saturday night.
Josh Terry ,meanwhile, blanketed SEMO's perimeter players much of the night, helping hold his former juco teammate Nick Niemczyk and Marland Smith to just two three pointers between them as the Redhawks were held to just 35.7 percent shooting in the final half.
Leon Powell led the Redhawks with 16 points and 10 rebounds while fellow inside man Tyler Stone added 11.
Southeast Missouri led by as much as eight first-half points and never trailed during the half, although the Govs ended half on a 6-0 run to go into halftime trailing just 25-24. APSU then opened the second half on a 13-5 run to build as much as a seven-point advantage before SEMO fought back.
There were six second-half ties and seven lead changes before Baker's jumper put APSU up for good.