PISCATWAY — History in Piscataway.
Ron Harper Jr. capped off a career-night with a last second three-pointer from just over the half court line to sink No. 1 Purdue, 70-68.
This marks the first time in program history that Rutgers was able to defeat the top-ranked team in the nation. This was just the third time that Rutgers hosted the No. 1 team in the nation — the last one coming in 2004.
A thunderous dunk from Mawot Mag pulled Rutgers to within a point of No. 1 Purdue with a minute left before an offensive foul gave them the ball back with a chance to take the lead. A Ron Harper Jr. backdoor pass landed out of bounds but a successful trap led to a Jaden Ivey travel.
After Trevion Williams gave the Boilermakers the lead back, Harper Jr. raced down court and was able to get a clean look at the basket. Harper Jr. finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds.
The Scarlet Knights were energized from the opening minutes led by 8,000 full-throated fans inside Jersey Mike’s Arena.
The slow starts that the Scarlet Knights have grown accustomed to this season took a backseat in this one. Rutgers got out of the gate quick and survived the early minutes of the game. The top-ranked team in the nation was up for the challenge on the road.
Trailing by three early on, Purdue went on a 15-5 run to grab control in the first half. Rutgers withstood the run and put together one of their own. The Scarlet Knights would score the next nine points to take a 29-24. Just two minutes later, Harper Jr. would convert a four-point play to give Rutgers its biggest lead at seven. He scored 17 of his 30 over the first 20 minutes.
The Boilermakers are known for their guard play but it was not projected lottery pick Ivey that gave Rutgers fits. Trevion Williams got hot early with 14 points and seven rebounds while 7-foot-4 Zach Edey asserted his dominance as well.
The drought came a bit later in the contest. After a Caleb McConnell layup put Rutgers up three, Purdue scored the next 11 points. During this run, the Scarlet Knights went nearly five minutes without a basket. The lead ballooned to double-digits by the eight-minute mark.
Rutgers battled back on both ends and put themselves in position late in the game. Purdue shot just 41% from the field and finished 7-for-26 from three-point range.
A struggling Scarlet Knights’ team picked up a season-changing victory and did it in a historic way. This is a victory that fans in attendance and watching at home alike will remember for a long time.