The Central Illinois Drive clinched the Central Division title Sunday afternoon with their epic 119-107 overtime victory over the Sauk Valley Predators. The Drive trailed by 23 at one point and were able to come all the way back. With the win the Drive move to 15-0 on the season. Nathan Fuqua led the team with 24 points, his highest total of the season. Anthony Slack had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Perry Petty also scored 18 points. The team shot 43.96 overall and went 12 for 34 from three-point range. Central Illinois hit 27 of 36 free throws.
The opening quarter did not start well at all for the Drive. Sauk Valley came out with a 16-1 run and added to it as the quarter progressed. At one point the Predators led 20-3. The recently activated Daniel Ruffin was able to spark the offense some as Central Illinois finished the quarter down 30-10.
Central Illinois found what they were looking for offensively to open the 2nd quarter. The Drive started with an 8-0 run and turned it into a 15-5 run about halfway through the quarter. The Drive trailed 51-33 and knew they had to fight hard to turn the game around.
In the 3rd quarter the Drive kept the offense coming but were not able to keep the Predators from responding. Sauk Valley kept their lead around 20 points for most of the quarter. Late in the 3rd the Drive sped the game way up and closed the deficit to 6 points. With a 27-11 run and a 35-23 quarter, the Drive only trailed 74-68 after the 3rd.
The 4th started as a shootout as both teams kept matching each other. Sauk Valley got out to a 12 point lead by going to the free throw line regularly. Josh Edmonds helped keep the Drive close with two impressive fade-away shots, one was a three-pointer. With only 4:20 left in regulation the Drive tied the game at 94. Daniel Ruffin missed a shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime tied at 103.
In overtime it was all Drive. Todd Peterson got the scoring started with a three-point shot and was followed by Nathan Fuqua who hit a two-pointer and a three. The Drive eventually would out-score Sauk Valley 16-4 for the big win.
article courtesy Central Illinois Drive