Ayo Dosunmu scored 23 points, and the Illini easily defeated the Scarlet Knights 90-68.
INDIANAPOLIS — Ayo Dosunmu scored 23 points and No. 3 Illinois easily beat Rutgers 90-68 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday night.
The junior guard was too quick in creating open looks off the dribble, often provided chances for teammates. Dosunmu shot 8 for 11 from the field, 7 of 9 from the line and added six assists and five rebounds.
Illinois (21-6) has won 12 of its last 13 games and avenged a regular-season loss to Rutgers (15-11) to advance to Saturday’s semifinals against the winner of No. 5 Iowa and Wisconsin.
When the second-seeded Illini weren’t hitting shots, they were forcing the action with drives to the rim and getting fouled. Illinois made 21 of 31 free throws. Seventh-seeded Rutgers converted 16 of 22.
Center Kofi Cockburn threw around his 7-foot, 285-pound frame, and had four emphatic dunks. He finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Illinois dominated the boards 44-19, including 17-3 in offensive rebounds.
Rutgers reduced a 19-point halftime deficit to 13 early in the second half, but got no closer.
Ron Harper Jr. scored 21 points and Jacob Young had 13 for the Scarlet Knights.
The Illini scored the first nine points. Rutgers closed within four points before Illinois pulled away. Cockburn punctuated the early effort with a one-handed dunk off an offensive rebound for a 45-26 lead in the final minute of the first half.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights were ranked as high as 11th during the regular season, but injuries took a toll. A modestly successful season after 20 wins the year before was a letdown without an NCAA Tournament bid. Perhaps the NIT will provide a chance to keep playing.
Illinois: The last time the Illini were as high as a second seed was in 2009, when they were also a No. 2. A tourney title could legitimize the team as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. … Sixteen conference wins in the regular season were the most in team history.