RECAP: Illinois overcomes turnovers for win


Austin Yattoni

Illinois forward Leron Black (12) puts up a hook shot during the game against Austin Peay at State Farm Center on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.

By Will Gerard, Staff Writer

Illinois overcame another slow first-half start and a season-high 25 turnovers in a gritty 64-57 victory over Austin Peay.

The Illini recorded 15 first-half turnovers, and the Governors weren’t far behind with 12 of their own as the visitors took a two-point lead into halftime.

Illinois (7-3, 0-2 Big Ten) forced 24 Austin Peay turnovers (4-5), yet it recorded six fewer steals than the visitors.

Junior forward Michael Finke led the Illini with team-highs in points and rebounds. He scored 17 points and had eight rebounds, however, he contributed four turnovers

Both teams shot 2-13 from three-point range. The only successful Illini three-point shots came from sophomore Kipper Nichols early in the first half and from Williams with 4:49 minutes left in the ballgame.

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6-foot-7 Austin Peay junior forward Averyl Ugba scored a team-high 15 points (7- 10 FG) while bringing down 8 rebounds, which was also a team-high.

Illinois had 15 more attempts from the charity stripe shot 20-28 from the free throw line.

Nichols chipped in for seven points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Austin Peay led by four points with 5:53 minutes left in the second half before Illinois responded with an 18-7 run to close the game.

Finke extended the Illini lead to four on a dunk at the 14:35-minute mark in the second half.

Junior forward Leron Black’s baseline jumper on the previous possession gave the Illini their first lead since being ahead 13-12 with 12:20 minutes left in the first half.

Black scored 16 points (5-9 FG) and brought down four rebounds.

Illinois took an early 13-8 lead over Austin Peay within the first five minutes of the game before going on a six-minute scoring drought, and it scored just four points over an 11-minute stretch.

Freshman Da’Monte Williams, who recently started attending junior sharpshooter Aaron Jordan’s early morning shooting sessions, started in place of fellow freshman Mark Smith.

It was the first lineup change Illinois has made to the starting five this season.

Smith scored his first points of the game on a baseline reverse layup to tie the score at 30.

He finished with just four points (1-6 FG, 2-2 FT) in 15 minutes.

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