Illini grind out a win vs. Austin Peay

Austin Peay Men's Basketball loses hard fought game to Illinois Wednesday night

Austin Peay: The Governors are off until next Saturday, Dec. 16.

One of the most infamous games in Illini basketball history hangs in his memory like the scars from a long ago auto wreck.

A couple freshmen, Dayton Gum and Terry Taylor, are leading Austin Peay this year, averaging 13.6 and 12.6 points per game, respectively. When he speaks of it he cringes, cusses and finally laughs, because he's learned that's all he can do.

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

Flirting with disaster all night, IL finally brushed aside cold shooting and 25 turnovers to pull out a 64-57 victory that ended a three-game losing streak.

"It's really good to fight through a game like this occasionally, and they took the fight to us, and you have to give Matt (Figger, Austin Peay head coach) credit for having his guys ready to play", Underwood said after the game on his team's overall effort. On the other end, Da'Monte Williams spotted up on the right wing, and nailed a 3-pointer to push the Illini ahead for good.

Williams got his first career start Wednesday, replacing freshman Mark Smith in the lineup.

IL still led by just three points at 59-56 when Austin Peay was called for a shot clock violation with 45.8 seconds to go.

With 19.6 seconds left, the Governors still had a chance.

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

"A tough night offensively, with nine assists", Underwood said.

"That was like an old slug fist in the sandbox", Underwood said. "I know I should be able to make that shot".

IL now has won 12 consecutive non-conference home games and four straight against Austin Peay.

IL and Austin Peay combined for 49 turnovers. Austin Peay will take on Evansville to cap a two-game road trip.

Nobody said that learning Brad Underwood's system would be an easy task.

"I looked around the locker room at the half and it was like a morgue, with very little energy on our part". "I'm not used to that". I try to do that every day with consistency and passion. I expect that with our team.

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. Whether or not Brad Underwood tinkers with the defense, as he did a year ago at Oklahoma State to correct a six-game skid, remains to be seen. IL committed 25 turnovers in the game, a number that Underwood does not care for very much. "I'm glad we made free throws". However, the Illini did get to the free throw line 28 times in the game, making 20 of those attempts and limiting the Governors to just 7-13 from the line.

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