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Terrence Shannon scores 16 in his return, No. 14 Illinois beats Rutgers 86-63

Illinois' Terrence Shannon Jr., center, drives to the basket between Rutgers' Derek Simpson, left, and Noah Fernandes during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Champaign, Ill.

CHAMPAIGN — Justin Harmon scored 18 points and Terrence Shannon Jr. added 16 in his return to lead five Illinois players in double figures as the No. 14 Illini beat Rutgers 86-63 on Sunday.

Shannon, in his first game back since the university was ordered to lift his suspension, came off the bench and played 28 minutes. He had four assists and made 8 of 10 shots from the free-throw line.

Shannon was suspended by the university on Dec. 28 because he’s facing a rape charge in a September incident in Kansas. But U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Lawless ruled Friday that the university had violated Shannon’s civil rights and granted a preliminary injunction that required Illinois to reinstate Shannon to the team.

The Illini (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten Conference) were 4-2 in six games without Shannon, who hadn’t played since Illinois’ 97-73 victory over Missouri in St. Louis on Dec. 22.

Clifford Omoruyi had 22 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (10-8, 2-5).

After trailing 40-28 at halftime, Rutgers closed within 55-51 with 10:20 to go on a dunk by Omoruyi, but back-to-back layups by Shannon in 28 seconds put Illinois back in front 60-51 with 9:04 left.

Quincy Guerrier had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season for Illinois, while Coleman Hawkins and Marcus Domask each added 12.

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: Omoruyi was the only Scarlet Knights player who gave Illinois problems offensively. While he was hard to stop under the basket, the 6-foot-11 center also made his first 3-pointer of the season on his first attempt.

Illinois: Illini fans showed support for Shannon by cheering when he entered the court for pregame warmups and giving him a standing ovation when he checked into the game with 17:37 to go in the first half. The cheers were even louder moments later when passes by Shannon on fastbreaks led to a dunk and layup by Hawkins in 36 seconds. Shannon’s reception on the road won’t be as friendly.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights will face No. 2 Purdue at home Sunday.
Illinois: The Illini will play Wednesday at Northwestern.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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