LIVE! Austin Peay

LIVE! Austin Peay

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois trailed for large portions of Wednesday night's game against Austin Peay. But the Illini were able to jump back into nonconference play with a 64-57 come-from-behind victory against the Governors.

Michael Finke led the Illini with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Leron Black chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds in the win. Illinois (7-3) will return to action Saturday against UNLV (7-2) in Las Vegas.

Until then, be sure to check out Thursday's News-Gazette and right here at IlliniHQ.com for more from the Illinois victory against Austin Peay.

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Illinois 55, Austin Peay — 3:39 left in 2nd half

Things really haven't improved all that much for either team. Production from its most experienced players, however, has Illinois leading late. Michael Finke hasn't hit a three-pointer, but he leads the Illini with 17 points and eight rebounds. Leron Black has chipped in 16 points and four rebounds. Without them? Illinois would almost assuredly lose this game. With them it's still kind of a close call.

But here's a fun tweet (and a little sad at the same time) ...

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Illinois 32, Austin Peay 32 — 15:32 left in 2nd half

The Illini's turnover troubles haven't stopped. They have three in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half. But Austin Peay has four turnovers and hasn't scored in the last 2 1/2 minutes. So it's a tie game — although Illinois would be leading if Michael Finke hadn't had a shot pinned to the backboard after he was run down in transition after making a nice defensive play for a steal.

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Austin Peay 28, Illinois 26 — Halftime

Here's the only thing you need to know about the game so far. The Illini and Governors combined for 27 turnovers and 24 fouls in the first half was also combining to make just 21 shots.

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Austin Peay 20, Illinois 15 — 3:59 left in 1st

Illinois and Austin Peay have combined for 23 turnovers and just 15 made shots. With the game in a timeout, radio analyst and former Illini Doug Altenberger said this game was shades of Illinois-Penn State. You know, the time Penn State beat the Illini 38-33. Not ideal.

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Austin Peay 17, Illinois 15 — 7:52 left in 1st

Here's how you give up a lead. Turn the ball over eight times and not make a shot for six straight minutes. Illinois can just be thankful that the Austin Peay offense wasn't overly productive during that timeframe either. It had Illini coach Brad Underwood turning to the scorer's table/us here on press row and ask, "What do you want me to try?"

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Illinois 13, Austin Peay 12 — 11:50 left in 1st

This will be a quick update after technical difficulties took me right to the end of the media timeout to even get this far. Kind of an up-and-down start for Illinois. Yes, the Illini lead, but they've had a series of empty possessions thanks to turnovers and a layup attempt by Trent Frazier that actually hit the left side of the backboard. Certainly room to get better tonight still.

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Illinois vs. Austin Peay — 7 p.m., BTN

Some news and notes to get you ready for tonight's game ...

— Da'Monte Williams is starting against Austin Peay in place of fellow freshman guard Mark Smith. Based on Tuesday's practice, this is not a surprise. 

— Illinois and Austin Peay have played since that 1987 NCAA tournament game with the Governors pulled the major upset, but that game still elicits some memories. Like Dick Vitale saying he'd stand on his head if it happened.

"Let’s pray to the good Lord above that doesn’t happen and Dick keeps his mouth shut," Illinois coach Brad Underwood joked Tuedsay afternoon.

— That game was the last for Doug Altenberger, who's on the radio call tonight. Stephen Bardo, who's the analyst for BTN, was also a freshman on that team.

— Tonight's officials are Gene Steratore, Lamont Simpson and Brooks Wells. Really, for the first time this season that I can recall, some familiar names.

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Illinois vs. Austin Peay — 7 p.m., BTN

Brad Underwood was quick to pull his starters Sunday against Maryland as the Terrapins built a 10-0 lead before the first media timeout. The starting group also struggled as a unit two days prior against Northwestern. While Underwood has subbed several players together early in a half before, he hadn't gone with a full line change before.

"I don’t know if it had as much to do with who was on the court as it did with our mental approach to the game," Underwood said about the poor start against Maryland. "I was really proud of that line change and really proud of that group. Greg (Eboigbodin), who had not seen a ton of minutes, was flying around and looked like an athlete that belonged in that game. Trent (Frazier) just kind of morphed himself into the game. It worked."

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Illinois vs. Austin Peay — 7 p.m., BTN

Three games and three losses in games that could have been wins. That was the state of the Illinois basketball program last week. Disappointing for sure, but Illinois coach Brad Underwood has already turned his focus torward making the improvements necessary to turn those would-be wins into actual victories.

"Well, the sun did come up Monday morning," Underwood said. "It was a tough couple days to be very honest. You reflect, you learn, you watch (and) you grow — any of those things you want to say.

"I’m proud of the comeback (against Maryland). Obviously some decisions down the stretch that didn’t work that we didn’t execute very well. We’ve got to continue to learn. Sometimes you have to walk before you can run. We very easily could be 9-0, but we’re not. We’re 6-3. Along with that we’ve got to continue to grow and improve."

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Welcome back to another LIVE! Report from State Farm Center with Illinois jumping back into nonconference basketball action after a brief foray into Big Ten play last week. Regardless of opponent, the Illini have some work to do after dropping three games last week.

Three games, of course, that Illinois could have won. Two that they should have won save for a run of self-inflicted mistakes against Northwestern and Maryland. It might be awhile until everyone forgets the lob pass Te'Jon Lucas tried to throw in the final minute against the Terrapins. It was ... regrettable.

How Illinois responds after those three games will be something to watch tonight as the Illini get back on the court against Austin Peay. While the Governors might have the best chant in all of sports — "Let's Go Peay!" — they are the underdogs tonight at State Farm Center.

But this was another game Brad Underwood put on the Illinois schedule because of his relationship with new Austin Peay coach Matt Figger. Underwood schedules for a reason. This reason? He knows how aggressive the Governors will be under Figger, and that's something he reiterated multiple times to his team during Tuesday's practice.

Tipoff is in an hour here at SFC. Until then, get caught up on some of the latest Illini basketball offerings here at IlliniHQ.com ...

Loren Tate's "Tatelines" podcast addressing multiple hoops questions

Aaron Jordan has become an Illini leader

Lineups, storylines and the beat writer's pick for tonight's game

A look back at some tough overtime losses for Illinois

Big Ten power rankings from our college basketball writer

Chat recap: A half dozen Illini hoops questions asked and answered

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griff507 wrote on December 06, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Had to stop watching this POOR EXCUSE FOR A COLLEGE BASKETBALL GAME!

I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH POOR PASSING, even 8th grade games have better passing than this garbage!  You can see from a mile away who is going to get the pass thrown their way, and the defense is there to take the pass more often than the offense!!!

Talk abot a team coming out flat!!!!

Stopped watching 3 minutes into the second half!  Hope we win, but I have lost my voice yelling at my TV, so I had to turn the channel!

 

Go ILLINI