Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Illinois rides second-half surge to win vs. No. 24 Rutgers

Coleman Hawkins put up 18 points and eight rebounds and host Illinois scored 19 straight points in the second half to take down No. 24 Rutgers 69-60 Saturday in Champaign, Ill.

Dain Dainja added 15 points and seven rebounds and Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 15 to help the Fighting Illini (17-7, 8-5 Big Ten) win for the fourth time in five games.

Rutgers (16-9, 8-6) led by six with 15:41 to play before missing its next 15 shots from the floor. They were held scoreless for 10:01 and went 10:39 between made field goals.

Caleb McConnell scored 14 points, 12 in the first half, to bounce back after shooting 1-for-12 for two points Tuesday against Indiana. Clifford Omoruyi had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Paul Mulcahy and Aundre Hyatt added 12 points apiece.

After Illinois scored the first two baskets of the game, Rutgers moved ahead for the rest of the first half. A personal 5-0 run by McConnell established a 16-8 Rutgers lead.

The Scarlet Knights made four straight shots, two by freshman Derek Simpson, to maintain an eight-point edge at 30-22. Illinois responded at that point with a 7-0 surge, fueled by Dainja’s dunk and featuring a 3-pointer from freshman Sencire Harris.

Mulcahy stemmed the tide by knocking down consecutive jumpers. Illinois missed its final six shots of the half and trailed 34-30 at the break.

Hyatt made a layup, a mid-range shot and a triple to put the Scarlet Knights up 45-39 with 15:41 to play. That’s when they went cold, while Hawkins and Illinois got to work.

Hawkins’ triple sliced the Illini’s deficit in half, and close to two minutes later he scored again to give Illinois a 48-47 edge. Shannon added four straight points and Mayer scored the final six on a three-point play and an open trey.

Omoruyi was whistled for his fourth foul and subbed out during the drought. He still managed to score nine points in the half.

Oskar Palmquist made a mid-range jumper to end the drought at 5:01. Rutgers got within 60-51 when Omoruyi returned and made a layup, but Dainja’s bucket a minute later restored the double-digit advantage until the final seconds.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller
FLM Direct-Ballerhttp://fieldlevelmedia.com
Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.
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