The Central Missouri Mules took the back-to-back Division I Ohio Valley Conference champion Austin Peay Governors to the end in the first exhibition game of the 2008-09 season, but lost 80-75 in Clarksville, Tenn.
In the end, the free throw margin was too much to overcome as the Mules went 7-of-15 compared to the Governors 28-of-47 performance. Central Missouri hit four more field goals and eight more three-pointers in the outing, but APSU had to attempt only 15 shots in the second half, making 13 of them. The Governors hit 87 percent in the final half, and 65 percent for the game. The Mules shot 53 percent in the outing.
The opening period was a back-and-forth affair with seven ties and lead changes. Central Missouri had the two biggest leads of the half at four points, and went into the break up 36-35.
Senior De’Andre Byrd set the pace in the first half with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting, while newcomer Sanijay Watts and senior Joe Young each had eight at the break.
The Mules led most of the second half and stretched their lead to as many as seven after a 6-0 run. The run was sparked by the defense as all three buckets came directly off steals by UCM. Byrd had two of those, giving the Mules a 51-44 lead with 12:49 left.
The Governors fought back though, and took their first lead of the period with 7:26.
APSU led by a point with 4:14 left before going on a run sparked by free throws. 13 of its final 17 points came from the free throw line as the Governors built the advantage to 10 with 1:11 to play.
Junior Tremaine Luellen answered with a three, followed by a steal from junior newcomer Alex Moosmann, leading to a three pointer by Young. That cut the score to 75-71 with 48 seconds left. After trading points, Watts cut it to three with 16 seconds left on a layup off an assist from Moosmann. The Governors got a break from there when the officials called an intentional foul with 10 seconds left, giving them the ball and two free throws, ending the game.
Young led the Mules with 23 points while Byrd finished with 15 and Watts had 12 on the night. Central Missouri committed 35 fouls compared to the Governors 15 in the outing. Luellen was the Mules’ leading rebounder with eight.
UCM will finish the exhibition schedule on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. at Division I Creighton in Omaha, Neb.
Story courtesy of Rob McCutcheon at Central Missouri.