January 11, 2020 / 7:19 PM / 16 days ago

Dosunmu scores 18 as Illinois holds off Rutgers

Ayo Dosunmu scored a team-high 18 points, including eight in the final 94 seconds, and Illinois held on for a 54-51 win over visiting Rutgers on Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill.

Kofi Cockburn contributed a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds for Illinois (12-5, 4-2 Big Ten). Giorgi Bezhanishvili had eight points despite 3-for-13 shooting.

Jacob Young scored 16 points off the bench to lead Rutgers (12-4, 3-2). Akwasi Yeboah scored eight.

The score was even at 46-46 with less than two minutes remaining.

Dosunmu gave Illinois a 48-46 advantage with a pair of free throws with 1:34 to go. He delivered again with 50.7 seconds left, drawing a goaltending call after a Rutgers defender blocked his layup attempt after it bounced off the glass.

Illinois increased its lead to 52-46 with 39.4 seconds left when Dosunmu made two more free throws.

Rutgers pulled within 52-49 on a 3-pointer by Young with 21.4 seconds left.

The Fighting Illini held steady down the stretch, with Dosunmu calmly draining two more free throws with 20.0 seconds left to make it 54-49. Rutgers scored once more before Illinois dribbled out the clock.

The Scarlet Knights led 26-22 with 15:52 left in the second half when Ron Harper Jr. drilled a 3-pointer. Illinois rallied to even the score at 28-28 with 12:18 remaining, prompting a Rutgers timeout.

That set up a back-and-forth finish. Illinois pulled ahead 42-38 on a 3-pointer by Alan Griffin with 5:12 to go, but Rutgers responded yet again. Montez Mathis drained a 3-pointer to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 46-44 with 3:09 to play.

Rutgers led 21-18 at the half.

The Scarlet Knights opened the game on a 10-4 run. Yeboah made a pair of 3-pointers in the first four minutes, while Mathis and Shaq Carter each hit a layup.

Illinois fought back to grab a 15-12 lead with 7:47 remaining in the first half. Kipper Nichols made a layup to cap the 11-2 run for the Fighting Illini.

Rutgers closed the first half on a 9-3 run to climb back on top. The teams combined for only one point, a free throw by Rutgers’ Carter, during the final 2:14 before intermission.

—Field Level Media

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