CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- In a game where neither team gathered more than an eight-point lead, Austin Peay held its homecourt serve and edged Murray State on Thursday night, 71-68, at a raucous, chaotic Dunn Center.
The Racers (18-7, 11-2 Ohio Valley Conference) had five in double-figures: a game-high 21 points and 8-for-13 shooting from senior wing Jaiveon Eaves; a well-rounded 13 points, six assists and five rebounds from sophomore guard Tevin Brown; 13 points and three 3-pointers from freshman DaQuan Smith; 11 points on 62.5% shooting from sophomore forward KJ Williams; and 10 points with eight boards from senior forward Anthony Smith.
It was the perfect balance for a championship-like atmosphere. But the Governors (17-9, 11-2) got 20 points from talented freshman guard Jordyn Adams - including a lead-grabbing and-1 with less than one minute to go - and a grueling double-double from junior OVC preseason Player of the Year in forward Terry Taylor (16 points, 14 rebounds, 8-for-18 shooting).
APSU shot just 40% from the field, but the best team in the league at getting to the free-throw line did just that - going 20-for-24 at the stripe.
Down 64-57 with less than four minutes to go, the Racers used a 9-2 run to tie it at 66-all - with DaQuan Smith's third triple from the left corner tying it.
But Adams immediately answered, bowling right down the lane. A Williams jump-hook cut it to 69-68, and a Taylor turnover along the baseline brought new life. But Anthony Smith's drive didn't result in free throws, and DaQuan Smith's tip of a Carlos Paez dribble was ruled a foul.
Paez made both of his free throws, and two 3-point misses failed to negotiate overtime.
After two rough starts last week in Nashville, McMahon emphasized better starts this week - particularly on the road against the Governors.
The Racers delivered, and shot 8-for-11 from the field on the way to an early 18-12 lead.
Once the shooting cooled, however, APSU was able to equalize, and took the lead at 22-20 on a lob-and-layup to Govs junior hybrid Taylor.
From there, neither team possessed more than a one-basket lead, with APSU up 35-34 at the break.
The Racers shot 14-for-26 from the field and 2-for-4 from the arc in those first 20 minutes, but went 4-for-9 from the charity stripe in that same stretch.
A subliminal first-half didn't translate after halftime, as the Racers shot 7-for-20 in the first 15 minutes after the break.
The Governors took advantage, and took the first two-possession lead for either team at 48-43 after two baskets from Taylor and two free throws from Adams.
MSU had its biggest deficit at 64-57, courtesy of an 8-3 APSU run, before closing the game by shooting 5-for-8 from the field and nearly completing the comeback.
MSU was a strong 48% from the field and 35.7% from the arc, but managed just 11-for-17 from the stripe - including five first-half misses. The Governors also managed 14 points off of 14 MSU turnovers. The Racers managed five points on five APSU turnovers.
Once again, MSU displayed prolific 3-point shooting defense - holding the Governors to just 3-for-18 from deep.
But nine offensive rebounds from the Govs, and nine second-chance points, also loom in a one-possession loss.