A prominent Big Ten game went down to the final moments, No. 19 Rutgers narrowly beating No. 13 Illinois 91-88 at home on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, Rutgers improves to 6-0 on the season. Illinois is 5-3, having now lost two of their last three games since beating Duke two weeks ago.

Rutgers was led by guard Ron Harper Jr. who had 28 points and nine rebounds, continuing his impressive start to the season. Fellow guard Jacob Young put in 24 points with four assists to round-out a strong backcourt effort from the Scarlet Knights.


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In the loss, Illinois was paced by guard Ayo Dosunmu who registered 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

For the Scarlet Knights and head coach Steve Pikiell, the win over Illinois is an impressive resume builder. On track to make the NCAA Tournament a season ago, Rutgers’ strong start coupled with a win over a favorite to take the conference is important for what will be a tough stretch of games over the next few weeks.

Four of the next five opponents for Rutgers are ranked in the nation’s top 20 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, including a visit from No. 3 Iowa on Jan. 2 followed three days later by playing at No. 4 Michigan State. They will also twice play Ohio State, who are currently No. 20 but figure to move up in the next poll following yesterday’s win over UCLA.