Rutgers could taste just how sweet it was. Leading Houston by as many as 10 in Sunday night’s Round of 32 game, the Scarlet Knights looked like they might pull off the upset and advance to the Sweet 16.

But a furious run by the Cougars in the final 5 minutes of the contest was enough to lift them over the Scarlet Knights in a 63-60 game. Ron Harper Jr. had one last attempt to send the game to overtime but the shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

Harper ended the game with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 31 minutes.

Even though Sunday’s result was disappointing, Rutgers ended the season with a 16-12 record and won a game in the NCAA Tournament, ending a 38-year drought. It feels like the start of something big for a program that had not had much success over the last four decades.

After the game, Harper had a message to all of the Rutgers supporters this year.

“Thank you Rutgers Nation for your support all year. Playing 95% of the season with no fans was challenging and hearing your roars in Indy made it all worth it,” Harper wrote on Twitter. “That shot will haunt me for the rest of my life and I wish it went down differently but it didn’t. I never wanna stop playing with this group of guys and to come up short is devastating. That doesn’t take away from the fact  that this group made history and this team fought through adversity every single day. I’ll forever be proud to be a part of the group that set the standard. Thank you Rutgers nation.”

Harper ended the season averaging 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He was the team’s leading scorer and averaged more minutes than any other player for the Scarlet Knights this season.

It may not have ended they way he would’ve liked, but Harper and Rutgers had a special season. And for the entire 2020-21 campaign, it was an incredibly fun team to watch.