Chris Horton of Austin Peay made the plays as the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament’s MVP. Five-year-old Rhyan Loos provided the inspiration. That compelling combination makes them ASN’s Co-Players of the Week.
Loos, daughter of Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos, is recovering from surgery last week to remove a tumor on her kidney.
“We play for Rhyan,” Horton told ASN’s Mark Adams before the OVC championship game. “Knowing what she has been going through, we wanted to even play harder for her and Coach Loos.”
In leading No. 8-seed Austin Peay to the Ohio Valley tournament championship, the 6-8 senior center-forward averaged 37.3 minutes per game in the Governors’ four wins in four days. He averaged 22.5 points and 14.0 rebounds per game, making 67% of his field-goal attempts (30 of 45) and shooting 11.5 free throws per game as Austin Peay became the first No. 8 seed to win the OVC Tournament.
In a 92-72 opening-round win against Tennessee Tech, Horton tallied 37 points 21 rebounds and followed up with another double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) in a 74-72 upset victory against Tennessee State.
In the semifinals against top-seeded Belmont, Horton’s 30 points and 16 rebounds led Austin Peay’s 97-96 victory in an overtime thriller. Playing on an injured ankle in the title game against UT-Martin, Horton finished off the tournament with 8 points and 7 rebounds in the Governors’ 83-73 victory.
Horton is the nation’s leading offensive rebounder (5.0), fifth-leading overall rebounder (12.2) and No. 2 in double-doubles (24). Austin Peay returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008 and the fifth time in Loos’ 26 years at Austin Peay.