Rutgers had a golden opportunity to secure its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1979, but couldn’t convert.

The Scarlet Knights fell 63-60 against Houston on Sunday night despite leading for the vast majority of the second half.

Rutgers held a 58-49 advantage with 4:55 to play. But from there, the No. 2-seeded Cougars out-scored the Scarlet Knights 14-2. A Geo Baker layup with 2:04 left gave Rutgers a four-point lead, but it wasn’t able to score again.

Houston won the game despite shooting 36 percent from the field, compared to 44 percent from Rutgers. The Cougars made up for a poor field goal percentage by creating a huge advantage on the offensive glass. Houston put up 15 second-chance points, while Rutgers managed just two.

Baker led Rutgers with 14 points. Montez Mathis scored 10 points off the bench in the first half, but didn’t score after the break.

This ends a tough day for the Big Ten, as Illinois and Wisconsin also suffered losses. The conference now just has three teams still alive in the Big Dance — Michigan, Iowa and Maryland.