Austin Peay at Illinois
Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 | 7:00pm
Champaign, IL | State Farm Center
Clarksville, TN – Another in a series of stout road tests await Austin Peay State University men’s basketball as the Govs travel to face Big Ten foe Illinois, 7:00pm, Wednesday, December 6th, at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Back-to-back overtime losses against Northwestern and Maryland have made for a busy December for the Fighting Illini.
The Govs, meanwhile, got an extra day of rest—just their third break of three or more days between games so far in 2017-18—and will enjoy a 10-day gap between this contest and the December 16th roadtrip to Evansville.
For the first time all season, no APSU freshman reached double figures in scoring during Saturday’s contest against Alabama A&M, but the high-level play of upperclassmen Averyl Ugba (15 points), Chris Porter-Bunton (14 points) and Steve Harris (15 points) provided the offensive spark and lockdown defending limited the Bulldogs to just 47 points on 14 made field goals in the Dunn Center—lowest opponent marks against the Govs since at least the 2011 season.
Scouting the Fighting Illini
This will be the last of four games against high major opponents to start the non-conference road schedule for the Govs–a schedule that ranks 75th nationally and third in the league (behind SIU Edwardsville and Morehead State) adjusted for efficiency.
Against Illinois, they’ll face a young but careful squad among the nation’s best in ball control (plus-6.0 turnover margin, 11th nationally) and adroit at getting to the charity stripe; the Fighting Illini rank fourth nationally in free-throws made (181) and eighth in attempts (236). And that doesn’t even tap into the talents of Aaron Jordan, the nation’s leader in three-point percentage (65.7 percent).
Last Time Out Against Illinois
Three’s rained down for Illinois, which hit 14-of-25 from beyond the arc to dispatch the Govs in preliminary round action of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, November 21st, 2014, at the State Farm Center.
Chris Freeman (13 points) and Khalil Davis (12) managed to get into double figures in the score column, but a hot-shooting Illinois team (40-of-67, 60 percent) simply could not be stopped in Champaign.
Keep An Eye On
Two-time OVC Freshman of the Week Terry Taylor averaged 10.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg last week, including 15 points and 11 boards against Oklahoma State—the first double-double by a Gov against a high-major opponent since Chris Horton (Kansas, 2016 NCAA Tournament First Round).
Harris has provided consistent scoring off the bench, averaging 10.7 ppg on 48.1 percent shooting the last three games.
For the fourth straight game, APSU head coach Matt Figger will face off with a first-year head coach in Brad Underwood, who is no stranger to Figger or the Govs; Figger coached with Underwood on staff with Frank Martin at Kansas State and South Carolina before the latter found head coaching success at Stephen F. Austin–where the Govs saw his squad in the 2014 Las Vegas Invitational–Oklahoma State and now Illinois.
A win would be Austin Peay’s first against Illinois or any Big Ten foe since that 1987 victory.
The Govs are averaging 26.8 ppg off turnover during the last six contests.
Follow APSU Govs Online
Check back at LetsGoPeay.com and on Austin Peay’s Official Athletics Facebook page often for up-to-date news about all Governor athletics, as well as the Governor men’s basketball Twitter page (@AustinPeayMBB). Live stats will be available during the game at PeayStats.com, and all home games and Ohio Valley Conference games can be viewed on www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com.
Postgame video interviews and other videos from around APSU Athletics can be found on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/letsgopeay)