Illinois slips past Austin Peay

Michael Finke leads all scorers with 17 points in turnover filled 64-57 win

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- It was just plain ugly. 

At times, it felt like there were more turnovers and missed shots than points for both teams but in the end, Illinois outlasted Austin Peay in a 64-57 win at State Farm Center Wednesday night. 

"We're happy with the win, first and foremost, glad we were able to gut it out," Illinois forward Michael Finke said. "I don't know if we came out flat but we didn't have enough energy and that's something that Coach Underwood kept challenging us with at halftime, in timeouts. We're all just challenging each other with it to play with more energy."

It was like looking themselves in the eye. The Governors pressured the ball, forcing 25 Illini (7-3) turnovers, just one shy of the all-time Illinois record at the State Farm Center. 

"We knew they were going to play that way," Illinois junior forward Leron Black said. "We knew they were going to deny it so we just got to learn from it and play tougher."

One bright spot was the return of Michael Finke. After a string of lackluster performances, the junior led Illinois with 17 points and 8 rebounds. 

"Honestly I've worked the hardest this offseason that I've ever worked and right I've worked the hardest I've ever worked," said Finke. "For some reason shots just aren't falling right now. Can't really think about it as much, just have to keep shooting it. Teammates found me in the right places and was able to get on the boards a little better tonight."

The Illini snap their three-game losing streak but they’ve got another tough match on the road against UNLV on Saturday.


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