NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Todd Babington - who was named the Ohio Valley Conference tournament "Most Valuable Player" - scored 24 points and Austin Peay State University limited Tennessee State to just 36.7 percent shooting as the Governors defeated the Tigers, 82-64, Saturday afternoon to claim the tourney championship at Municipal Auditorium.
As a result, the Governors will advance to the NCAA Basketball Tournament for the sixth time in school history, the third time under head coach Dave Loos. The Governors opening round opponent will not be determined until Selection Sunday, March 16,
Babington, the senior from Crystal Lake, Ill., tossed down four first-half three pointers as the Governors built an insurmountable 40-25 halftime advantage. With the Govs trailing 12-8 with 14:51 left in the opening half, Babington knocked down his second three to cut the deficit to one point. After Fernandez Lockett threw down a dunk to give the Govs the lead, 13-12, TSU regained the lead for one final time.
Babington, however, knocked down another three pointer before TSU tied it up. It was tied for one final time at 18 all before Babington’s fourth three pointer gave APSU the lead for good, at 21-18, with 11:27 remaining. That was the start of an 11-2 run that gave APSU the lead at 29-20. The Govs then closed out the half on another run, this one 11-3 as the Governors would take a 15-point lead into halftime.
The Governors, who watched a nine-point halftime lead evaporate a few short weeks ago at Tennessee State, would not be part of a Tiger comeback this time. APSU quickly built a 20-point advantage a little more 5 ½ minutes into the half. TSU would never get closer than 16 points the game’s remainder.
Babington, who had six three pointers on the night (eight attempts), tossed his final dagger with 4:27 left in the game to give the Governors a 72-50 advantage.
Babington finished the night 9-of-12 from the floor. Derek Wright, despite a thigh problem, ended with 13 points while Drake Reed added 11 and Fernandez Lockett 10. Babington, Lockett and Wright, the three starting seniors, all were named to the all-tourney team.
Jerrell Houston led all scorers for TSU with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Reiley Ervin added 13 and Darius Cox 12. TSU’s all-league guard Bruce Price was held to just three pointers, largely to the defensive work of Kyle Duncan and Wes Channels. In fact, APSU held Tennessee State to 22 of 60 from the floor, making it the sixth time in seven games the Governors held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting.