PISCATAWAY – Rutgers not just defeats ranking teams, they dominate them with a relentlessly tough style of play.

№ 12 Illinois became the fourth team in a row to move to the Scarlet Knights, winning 70-59 on Wednesday night. Rutgers’ race is almost certain that Steve Pickle’s team will receive a rating for the first time this season and get a place in the NCAA tournament for the second season in a row.

Pickel was not ready to say anything after the game, saying he would wait for the official announcement of the NCAA tournament until March 13.

“I think we can play anyone,” Pickel said. “We can play with anyone, anywhere and win games in any tournament.”

Cliff Amarui scored 15 points, 13 rebounds and made a reverse dunk in Rutgers ’second run.

“All the credit goes to them in the world,” said Illinois coach Brad Underwood. “It was something my team hasn’t seen in a very long time … They deserve every honor. We had no life, no spirit, no struggle. “

The winning streak against the ranking teams is the longest in school history for the Scarlet Knights (16-9, 10-5 Big Ten). There is a chance to continue the series with games next week at number 5 Purdue and home against number 15 from Wisconsin. The last team to win four straight teams with ranked teams in the regular season was Michigan in the 2019-20 season.

Ron Harper Jr. added 16 points and eight rebounds and gave the assist in Amarui’s jumps in the second half. It was the second basket in the series with a score of 12-0, which increased the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 47-28. Paul Malkahi added 13 points and Caleb McConnell added 11.

“We’re just trying to keep getting better,” McConnell said. “There’s no ceiling.”

Center Kofi Cockburn was the only constant threat to Illinois (18-7, 11-4), scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds. Trent Fraser added 11 points and R.J. 10 points. Melendez.

“My key to the game was that the Rutgers played harder than every opponent they played with in this winning streak,” Underwood said after seeing his team win. “It’s not rocketry, it’s not a great performance.”

Ilini throws 38% off the field, including 6 of 23 from a 3-point distance. But they missed their first 13 throw attempts and were never in the game.

Rutgers improved to 13-2 at home, and his biggest advantage was 60-37 about six minutes before the game.

The Rutgers ’recent series combined good shooting and defense, and that was evident early in the game when the Scarlet Knights opened the game with a 17-7 jerk, scoring six Harper points. Cockburn had all of Elijah’s points inside.

Illinois failed to find a shot in the first 20 minutes, scoring 32% and combining the last of 14 3-point attempts.

Rutgers led 33-24 in the first half of the season, a minimum of points in the first half for Illinois.

Harper seemed to shake hands late, but Pickel had no information about his injury.


The Scarlet Knights received votes in the latest poll, and there’s no reason not to include them in next week’s rankings. Illinois won a five out of six and skipped a bit.

The big picture

Illinois: The great man Cockburn didn’t get support against Rutgers, which can’t happen all the time if coach Brad Underwood’s team wants to break through after the season.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights suffered some staggering losses early in the season when expectations were high after hitting the NCAA tournament last season, for the first time since 1991. Expectations are back, and there is no doubt that this is a tournament team.


Illinois: Michigan № 19 on Saturday.

Rutgers: Sunday at Purdue № 5.

No. 24 UConn 70, Seton Hall 65

STORS, Cannes – Adam Sanaga scored 20 points and 16 rebounds, while UConn number 24 defeated Setan Hall 70-65 on Wednesday night.

It was the sixth double-double of the season for Sanoga, a central sophomore Husky. Tyris Martin scored 16 points and 10 rebounds for UConn (18-7, 9-5 Big East), and R.J. Cole added 16 points.

Setan Hall (15-9, 6-8) has won three of his last four games. Kadar Richmond, who scored 27 points in the first team meeting in early January, had 13 points. Jamir Harris added 15 points, Jared Rodin scored 14 points and Miles Cale scored 11 in the Pirates.

UConn missed nine of the first 10 shots due to a 3-point arc in the first half. But Cole, Martin and Isaiah Weiley made 3 each when UConn went on a series of 11-4 to start the half and come out ahead with eight points.

In the 11th minute of the second half, Seton Hall scored three points, but a couple of blows from Cole’s basket became part of the UConn series with a score of 6-0, which put him ahead 53-44 with a score of 8:43. By the end of the game, “Pirates” would not come close to six points.

Partly thanks to UConn’s defense, which had three early blocks, Setan Hall missed 10 of the first 11 shots in the game.

UConn led 28-27 at the break, while Sanaga scored 12 points and nine rebounds.

UConn – 15-1 when leading in the middle of this season. His only loss was on January 8, when Setan Hall won 90-87 in overtime – in the game, the visiting Huskies led 41-37 at the break.

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