Big Ten

Badgers miss whopping 28 3-pointers in loss at Creighton

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Badgers miss whopping 28 3-pointers in loss at Creighton

Wisconsin might be the preseason Big Ten favorite, but it's going to have to play much better than it did Tuesday night if it wants to win the conference for real.

The ninth-ranked Badgers suffered their first loss of the season, missing 28 3-point attempts and turning the ball over 16 times en route to a 79-67 loss to Creighton in Omaha.

It was a three-point game at halftime and stayed tight the majority of the way through the second half. But Creighton pulled away from a 50-50 tie with a 13-2 run that built a double-digit lead with six and a half minutes to go. The lead hit double digits again with under three minutes to play before an Ethan Happ three-point play and a Bronson Koenig triple sandwiched around a split pair of free throws by the Bluejays made it just a five-point gap with a minute and a half to play.

But Creighton avoided the fate of conferencemate Georgetown — which blew its own lead in stunning fashion earlier Tuesday against Maryland — by knocking down six of eight free-throw tries over a 46-second span to keep Wisconsin at bay. The Badgers didn't score after a Zak Showalter tip-in made it a six-point game with 46 seconds left, the Bluejays putting in the game's final six points to march to a double-digit victory.

Wisconsin was an eyebrow-raising 11-for-39 from 3-point range, with stars Koenig and Nigel Hayes missing 10 and six deep balls, respectively. The duo finished with team-high scoring outputs, Koenig finishing with 21 points and Hayes with 16, but Koenig was 8-for-19 from the field and Hayes was 6-for-13. Three Badgers — Koenig, Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown — had four turnovers apiece.

While Wisconsin struggled shooting the ball and hanging on to it, Creighton was the opposite, shooting a sparkling 50 percent on the game — including 53.8 percent in the second half — and turning the ball over just seven times. Four Bluejays were in double figures scoring, led by the 18 points of Khyri Thomas, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range and made seven of 11 free-throw attempts.

Creighton dominated at the free-throw line, going 15-for-22, while Wisconsin was just 4-for-5 from the stripe. The Bluejays also outscored the Badgers in the paint by a wide margin, 32-20, doubled them up in points off turnovers, 26-13, and had 13 fast-break points compared to zero for Wisconsin.

The Badgers are 1-1 after the defeat.

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

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.