Shannon Returns, But Illini Team Effort Dominates Rutgers

By IlliniGuys Staff

January 21, 2024

(Cover photo courtesy Illinois Athletics)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Terrence Shannon Jr. made his first Illini appearance in 2024 and scored 16 points to add to a dominating team performance as 14th ranked Illinois completed its regular season sweep of Rutgers with a 86-63 win Sunday afternoon at State Farm Center.

The victory keeps Illinois (14-4, 5-2) on pace with Big Ten leading Wisconsin, which comes out of the weekend a half-game ahead of Purdue and a full game in front of the Illini.

Shannon had been suspended for the past six games as the result of a University of Illinois Department of Intercollegiate Athletics policy following a criminal charge by a Kansas district attorney.  But a federal court judge struck that down Friday afternoon by issuing a preliminary injunction and allowing Shannon to resume team activities immediately.

The fifth-year player and All-Big Ten selection entered the game at the 17:36 mark and immediately made an impact. assisting on back-to-back Coleman Hawkins fast break dunks to electrify the crowd as Illinois took an early 8-2 lead.

This Illinois team today is different than the one Shannon last took the court with before Christmas.  During his three-week absence, the Illini offense never missed a beat despite being without his 22 points per game.  The rest of the team scored 84 points per outing in the three weeks he was gone.

But Shannon provided a spark midway through the second half.  Held without a field goal for the entire game, Shannon converted on consecutive fastbreak layups to key a 24-7 run to put the game away.  the 6'7" guard scored all but one of his 12 second-half points during that run.  He finished with four assists and one rebound.

Shannon was one of five Illini scoring in double figures.  Justin Harmon scored a game-high 18 points off the bench.  Quincy Guerrier posted his seventh double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.  Marcus Domask scored 12.  Coleman Hawkins had 12 points, nine rebounds, and five steals.  That's 11 steals in two games for the lanky 6'10" senior.

Rutgers (10-8, 2-5) was led by Clifford Omuruyi's 22 points, but was held scoreless for the final 6:00 of the game.

Illinois next travels to Evanston to face Northwestern Wednesday night (8pm, BTN).

Stay with IlliniGuys.com for complete postgame coverage.

 

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