Luther Head's Put Back Gives Illinois Overtime Win

Forty minutes of action were not enough to decide the battle between Illinois and Purdue on Wednesday evening. For every run either team would go on, the other team would answer. Whether it was Illinois coming out of the gates on fire, or the Boilermakers coming back from the half on fire. <br><br> The final play of the game was all Luther Head for the Illini. Luther found a streaking Roger Powell underneath the basket at half court, and followed his miss for the game winning tip in.

Luther Head hit a falling down put back with 0.9 seconds remaining in the contest to give the Fighting Illini an 81-79 overtime victory over Purdue Wednesday night in West Lafayette. Head rebounded a missed lay up by Roger Powell that appeared to be goal tended by the Boilermakers as it bounced off the rim, after finding Powell with the half court pass. Purdue's Kenneth Lowe pulled the Boilermakers into a 79-79 tie with a three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Illinois' Deron Williams.

In the overtime period, Illinois was led by the hot outside shooting of junior center Nick Smith who scored eight points in the overtime period, six of them on two three point shots. Smith also put in two free throws with less than a minute left in the period that gave Illinois a three point lead before Lowe's game tying three pointer.

The Fighting Illini have one more game left to win before their season goal of winning a Big Ten Championship is complete. A win on Sunday over the Ohio State Buckeyes will give the Fighting Illini their first outright Big Ten Championship since 1952.

The Illini backcourt trio of Luther Head, Deron Williams, and Dee Brown once again led the team in scoring by scoring 19, 16, and 15, respectively. Deron Williams also contributed ten assists, for yet another double double on this season. The Illinois guards were able to score from all over the court on Wednesday night as they used the dribble to get into the lane and score, and also were shooting the three-point shot at a 33% clip.

The Fighting Illini dominated the offensive glass by pulling down 11 offensive rebounds, including Luther Head's final rebound and put back that won the game for the Illini. James Augustine had 4 offensive rebounds, 9 total, and many more back taps that ended up in the hands of Illinois guards, extending Illinois possessions at key times throughout the game.

The Purdue Boilermakers were led by Kenneth Lowe's 23 points on three of four shooting from behind the three point line.

ILLINI STATISTICS
PLAYER MIN FGM-A FTM-A OFF REB AST PF PTS
J. Augustine 36 4-4 1-1 4 9 0 2 9
R. Powell 20 2-7 0-0 2 4 1 4 4
L. Head 41 7-13 2-2 1 3 8 4 19
D. Williams 45 6-17 0-0 0 2 10 2 16
D. Brown 43 6-13 3-4 2 7 3 3 15
R. McBride 3 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 0
B. Randle 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0
B. Randle 7 0-2 2-2 1 2 0 2 2
N. Smith 20 4-8 2-2 0 2 0 3 12
J. Ingram 10 2-5 0-1 1 1 0 1 4

Team Rebounds: 4
Turnovers: 9 (N. Smith 2, D. Brown 2, D. Williams 2, L. Head, R. Powell, J. Augustine)
Blocked Shots: 8 (J. Augustine 2, J. Ingram, N. Smith, D. Williams, B. Randle, L. Head, R. Powell)
Steals: 7 (L. Head 3, D. Williams, R. McBride, B. Randle)
3-Point Field Goals: 9-25 (D. Williams 4-11, L. Head 3-7, N. Smith 2-3, D. Brown 0-3, B. Randle 0-1)
Technical Fouls: None


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