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19-0 run dooms No. 24 Rutgers in 69-60 loss to Illinois: Reaction Video and Recap



Feb 11, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) grabs a rebound during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 24 Rutgers lost at Illinois 69-60 on Saturday in a game that fell apart in the second half. With the Scarlet Knights leading 47-41 with 15 minutes to play, the game shifted soon after.

When Cliff Omoruyi picked up his third foul with 13:54 to play, the game changed. With him out of the game, the Illini went on to produce a game changing 19-0 run. Rutgers missed 14 straight shots over a ten minute period. While the team closed on a 13-9 run over the final five minutes, the issue was never in doubt.

While Illinois committed 17 turnovers and Rutgers swiped 9 steals, they weren’t able to convert in an efficient enough manner. They only has 16 points off of turnovers and 2 points in transition. In addition, RU grabbed 15 offensive rebounds but only had 18 second chance points. Those two areas represented missed opportunities. Rutgers shot just 35% from the floor and only had 7 assists on 24 made field goals.

We played a good 31 minutes of basketball today. Illinois played great the last nine minutes and we didn’t,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell. “I am looking forward to a home game.  It’s been three on the road here and we’ve got to play better on the road for sure. We didn’t shoot it the way we liked and didn’t execute in the last nine minutes especially. They got us on the backboards and gave up 48 percent for the game, which is not a recipe on the road against a really good team. But you have to give Illinois credit. Their big guys bothered us around the basket. Cliff (Omoruyi) got into foul trouble. They scored points around the rim and they’ve got some good players. Coleman Hawkins was a problem all night. Dainja just started and got them off to a good start. Terrence Shannon is a good player. We just have to play better than that on the road.”

Caleb McConnell had 14 points, 5 steals, 3 rebounds and 3 assists while Omoruyi finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Aundre Hyatt had 12 points, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal while Paul Mulcahy also had 12 points along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal. The bench combined to score just 6 points on 3 of 16 shooting.

Rutgers is now winless and 0-7 on the road against Illinois. They are now 16-9 overall and 8-6 in Big Ten play.

Here is my reaction video to the loss which includes a deeper dive into deficiencies for this team without Mawot Mag, the difficulty of this past week and reason for optimism with the road ahead.

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