Illini Men’s Basketball Defeats Rutgers, Wins Sole Possession Of Big 10 2nd Place

Rutgers' Akwasi Yeboah (1) drives the ball against Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu (11) as Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell watches on the sideline. Illinois defeated Rutgers 54-51 in the game at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

CHAMPAIGN – Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points and Kofi Cockburn added 11 and grabbed 17 rebounds and Illinois held off Rutgers 54-51 at the State Farm Center in Champaign. It was the Illini’s third consecutive victory,.

Dosunmu stepped up big in the final two minutes for Illinois (12-5, 4-2 Big Ten Conference).

He scored four points (all at the free-throw line) to seal a defensive battle that saw Rutgers (12-4, 3-2) grab the lead early in the game.

Jacob Young led Rutgers with 16 points.

Ron Harper Jr. added nine for the Scarlet Knights.

Illinois went on two 6-0 runs in the second half to close the gap against a fierce Rutgers defense.

Both teams played exceedingly well defensively.

Rutgers was 20 of 59 (34%) from the field to Illinois’ 18 of 63 (29%).

The win gives the Illini sole possession of second place in the Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball rankings, behind first place Michigan State. Rutgers shares third place with Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin.

Illinois’ next game is on Saturday, January 18, at 4 P.M., when they host Northwestern at the State Farm Center.

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Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focustalk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.