Illini basketball preview: Austin Peay

Sergio Conner
Декабря 7, 2017

IL (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.

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

Aaron Jordan, who has started this season off on a torrid pace, was held scoreless for the first time this season, something that Underwood isn't necessarily concerned about.

Leron Black was the only other Illini player in double figures with 16 points, and worked his way to the free throw line in the late stages of the game, finishing 6-8 from the stripe, including some clutch tosses in the waning moments of the contest.

Austin Peay plays a similar style to the one employed by Illini coach Brad Underwood, and he said that contributed to the turnovers and sloppy play.

"I'm not sure if we came out flat or not, but we didn't have the energy once again, and we'll have to get that fixed", Finke said following the game on his team's effort on the court.

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

With 19.6 seconds left, the Governors still had a chance. IL committed 25 turnovers in the game, a number that Underwood does not care for very much.

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Both teams shot 2-13 from three-point range.

Underwood changed his starting lineup for the first time all year against the Governors. Terry Taylor added 13 for the Governors, who shot 41.4 percent (24-of-58) from the field for the game.

"That was like an old slugfest in the sand box", Underwood said.

Austin Peay (4-5) played an aggressive, physical and fearless game while jumping into passing lanes and earning extra possessions.

"That was their coach not letting him (Jordan) getting any shots, and he told me he was going to do it and he did it". Offensively and defensively Austin Peay does not grade out well, ranking 284 and 264 by KenPom.com's adjusted metrics, respectively.

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. He knocked down 15 of his 23 attempts through the first nine games of the season, including 3 of 5 in the Illini's Big Ten opener. Austin Peay had six different players record a steal and made things very hard for the Illini on the perimeter.

Likewise, the Governors play a similar pace as IL (74 vs. 75.6 possessions per 40 min), but lack the ability to score like the Illini (74.6 vs. 85.1 points per game).

It doesn't take much to get Doug Altenberger talking about Austin Peay. Austin Peay will take on Evansville to cap a two-game road trip.

Overall, this should be a way for IL to get back on the winning track and maybe implement some new wrinkles into their play. Freshman Brandon McCoy - averaging 20 points and 11.2 rebounds - has led the Runnin' Rebels to a 4-2 record at home.

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