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Ron Harper Jr.’s heave gives Rutgers the upset over No. 1 Purdue

Time stood still for a brief moment as Ron Harper Jr. heaved up a prayer at the buzzer. The basketball gods heard that prayer and now Rutgers is floating on cloud nine.

From now on, just say “The Shot” in Piscataway and basketball fans will know which shot you mean.

This monumental win could not have come at a better time for the Scarlet Knights. After a 4-4 start with four brutal losses, Rutgers needed a jolt of life. That’s exactly what happened at the RAC on Thursday night.

Even with Geo Baker, who was out with the flu, Rutgers figured out a way to get it done. Head coach Steve Pikiell pushed all the right buttons in this win.

But everything aside, the story of the game is Ron Harper Jr. His 30 points tied a career-high and the last five were the most important. Of course, his buzzer-beating three will be the highlight that lives on forever, but he drilled a turnaround jumper to give Rutgers a one-point lead on the possession before The Shot.

Harper Jr. was a beast on the boards as well, scooping up 10 rebounds for the double-double. Mawot Mag, Caleb McConnell, and Cliff Omoruyi combined to score 35.

Although Rutgers still needs to show that they can do this on a consistent basis, it’s a good night to be a Scarlet Knight.

A matchup with in-state rival Seton Hall is next up for Rutgers. Both teams are entering Sunday with momentum. The Pirates defended home court against No. 7 Texas, giving New Jersey college basketball teams two wins over top-ten squads on the same night.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.