Big Ten

Another stunner: Sixth-ranked Terps fall at previously winless Gophers


Another stunner: Sixth-ranked Terps fall at previously winless Gophers

For the second straight night, a Big Ten team ranked in the top 10 fell in a shocking road upset.

Wednesday night, it was fourth-ranked Iowa getting bested by Penn State. Thursday night, it was sixth-ranked Maryland getting upended at Minnesota, the Gophers scoring the big upset by a 68-63 final score.

It was the first conference win of the season for Minnesota, which snapped a jaw-droppingly long 14-game losing streak.

The Gophers had a double-digit lead at the break after the Terps shot just 35.5 percent over the first 20 minutes. Minnesota made seven first-half 3-pointers as Maryland turned the ball over eight times in the first half.

Despite woeful second-half shooting by the Gophers, the Terps only slightly dented that lead over the second half's first 10 minutes, Minnesota keeping its double-digit advantage for the majority of that stretch. But thanks to seven straight points for the Terps in the middle of the half, the gap was just five with nine and a half minutes to play. Rasheed Sulaimon hit a 3 and then two free throws to make it just a two-point game with seven minutes to go, and a Melo Trimble bucket had the gap at just a point about two minutes later. Another Sulaimon 3 gave the Terps their first lead at 61-60 with two minutes to play, but Joey King snatched that lead right back with a pair of free throws a minute later, a lead the Gophers didn't surrender the rest of the way. That Sulaimon triple was Maryland's last made basket of the night, as the Terps went 0-for-5 from the field, turned the ball over twice and missed a free throw in the game's final three minutes. Meanwhile, during that same span, Minnesota went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.

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Trimble made one of the game's biggest head-scratching plays late, as after a Jake Layman steal ended up in his hands in a one-point game with 27 seconds left, the point guard immediately coughed the ball up and back over to the Gophers, his sixth turnover of the evening.

Minnesota pulled off the huge upset despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field on the game and just 20 percent from the field in the second half. The Gophers made just six baskets over the final 20 minutes, including a 1-for-10 performance from behind the 3-point line. But the Terps weren't much better shooting the ball, shooting 37.5 percent on the game.

Nate Mason scored a team-high 18 points for Minnesota, albeit on 5-for-15 shooting. Jordan Murphy scored 17 points on 5-for-15 shooting. And King added 15 points.

Sulaimon was really the only Terp to do significant damage, scoring a game-high 28 points, hitting four 3s and going 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Layman finished with 11 points. Trimble scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting, and Robert Carter Jr. had just eight points on 3-for-12 shooting.

The loss was a bad one for Maryland, coming against a team that hadn't won a game since mid-December. It's the second straight loss for the Terps, who now sit at 22-5 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten. The loss meant Maryland missed its opportunity to force a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten alongside Indiana and Iowa. Next up is a Sunday game against Michigan, which handed Maryland its first conference loss last month.

Minnesota's whopping 14-game losing streak ended as the team improved to 7-19 overall and 1-13 in the league. Next up is a Tuesday-night battle with winless Rutgers.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.