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Austin Peay wins fourth game in four days to win OVC championship in 83-73 victory over UT-Martin

Austin Peay, an 18-17 team, (and 8-seed in the OVC tourney) is going dancing!

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Savage.

That's the best way to describe Austin Peay's offensive onslaught from beyond the arc as the Governors earned their first Ohio Valley Conference championship since 2008 by setting down the UT-Martin Skyhawks 83-73.

APSU beat the 5-seed Tennessee Tech. It beat 4-seed Tennessee State. It beat 1-seed Belmont. Mark down UT-Martin as having been vanquished as well. To think this is after the Govs lost to the Skyhawks TWICE in February. And now THEY'RE GOING DANCING.

All this on a what is probably a pretty fun 69th birthday for Coach Dave Loos.

Austin Peay had won its OVC tourney games in comeback fashion and high-scoring affairs over the last three days. On Saturday however, it was Austin Peay that jumped all over the Skyhawks in the first half. Yes, Austin Peay did trail 11-3 to kick things off, but after that, momentum swung heavily in the Governors' favor. APSU soon found itself on the favorable end of a 12-0 run that put it up 22-13. That spurt featured a Chris Horton one-handed alley-oop slam and two Jared Savage 3-pointers to swing momentum entirely in favor of the Govs. APSU went into the half up 38-33 despite the fact that a flagrant foul from Torrance Rowe resulted in an ankle injury that kept Horton out for several minutes and limited his lateral quickness and offensive viability for much of the night.

Horton ended the weekend garnering the honor of MVP of the tournament despite being hampered with the injury on this particular night and finishing with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Horton averaged 22.5 ppg and 14 rpg. The honor was well earned. We'll see where his swolen ankles can take APSU in the coming weeks. Governors fans have to be happy that the more than a week sits between they and their first possible NCAA tournament game.

Jared Savage hit the first three buckets of the second half for AP, all of which were 3-pointers. After an additional Josh Robinson triple, the Govs led 50-37.

After starting 0-4 from beyond the arc, Savage proceeded to his 7 of his next 8 and 8-14 overall. The freshman from Kentucky had what has to be one of the best several day stretches of his life as he hit 22 3-pointers over a four-game span. That included performances of 3-7, 3-6, 5-7 from distance in APSU's other three OVC tourney games. He had 24 points, as every one of his shots on this night came from beyond the 3-point line. He even added 9 rebounds.

All this for a kid who was really only averaging around 5 ppg this season.

John Murry was another Governor whose impact offensively was limited to around 5 ppg, but he too lit it up from 3-point land, finishing with 11 points and 4 treys.

The Governors hit 16 treys on 31 tries on the night, and that includes a blistering 9-14 mark in the second half.

Austin Peay actually led UTM by 17 in a game it lost to the 'Hawks on February 13th. It lost that game 85-84 on a Jacolby Mobley buzzer-beating trey.

This time around, Mobley struggled from the floor (6-18 shooting and 15 points) while Alex Anderson (14 points) and Twymond Howard (24 points) fought valiantly while they tried to propel UTM to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. But it wasn't meant to be. This was Austin Peay's time to wear the glass slipper.

The OVC is being represented by a team that is riding an incredible high despite sitting just 18-17 on the season. Don't mind the 7-9 regular season conference record. Counting the tourney, APSU has now won 6 in a row and 9 of its last 12 games.

Dance the night away Governors.