Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. returned to the court for the Illini on Sunday afternoon.
Shannon came off the bench and scored 16 points to help No. 14 Illinois beat Rutgers 86-63 in Champaign, marking his first appearance back since a judge ruled he be reinstated following his arrest and suspension last month.
"[Terrence] got off to a great start because he could pass it. He made a couple of really nice passes and got teammates involved, and that was really unselfish play in there. He was very solid," Illini head coach Brad Underwood said, via 247 Sports' Jeremy Werner. "He's had just a couple days of practice ... [We] integrated him in a nice way, and I thought he was pretty solid."
Shannon was first suspended from the team on Dec. 28 after he was arrested on rape charges stemming from an incident last fall in Kansas. Shannon’s attorneys argued that the Illinois program ignored due process and “rushed to judgment” in suspending him immediately. He was granted a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he made his first appearance in court. The judge said that Shannon would “suffer irreparable harm without an injunction,” and Illinois then reinstated Shannon to “full status as a university student-athlete.”
I am grateful for the opportunity to re-join my teammates and get back to work.
— Terrence Shannon Jr (@Sn1per_T) January 19, 2024
Shannon is set to have a preliminary hearing in his criminal case in Kansas in February.
Illinois led for nearly the entire game on Sunday and cruised to the 23-point win at the State Farm Center. Justin Harmon led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench, and the Illini shot nearly 51% from the field as a team. Shannon had four assists and shot 4-of-10 from the field while missing all five 3-point attempts he took in his 28 minutes.
Illinois went 4-2 in the six games it played without Shannon, who last played on Dec. 22 in a 24-point win over Missouri. He’s averaging 21.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 11 games this season.
“I think they’re very level emotionally. I think that they saw a teammate be able to come back, and there’s always joy in that,” Underwood said of his players, via 247 Sports. “But this team has done an incredible job of staying in the moment of what’s truly important, and it hasn’t been the outside noises and the other people and it’s what makes this team really, really special.”
Illinois will take on Northwestern on Wednesday before hosting Indiana next weekend.