Big Ten

Badgers splash home 13 triples to beat Buckeyes for fifth straight win

nigel-hayes-0204.png

Badgers splash home 13 triples to beat Buckeyes for fifth straight win

The Badgers looked to be lost early this season, with just a 9-9 record on Jan. 12. Oh what a difference five games can make.

Wisconsin is riding a five-game winning streak and making a case for a berth in the NCAA tournament, grabbing consecutive win No. 5 on Thursday night with a 79-68 defeat of Ohio State in Madison.

The key Thursday was 3-point shooting, something the Badgers don't often do well. But Wisconsin went 13-for-27 from beyond the arc, with five different players hitting multiple 3s.

The Badgers started with a bang, opening the game with an 11-0 run that stunned the Buckeyes into a timeout before four minutes had passed. But Ohio State didn't roll over by any stretch. Thanks to the efforts of JaQuan Lyle, who had 18 points in the first half, the Buckeyes rebounded from that early shock and kept things close for the majority of the first half. It was a one-point game with eight minutes before halftime, and Ohio State grabbed a brief one-point lead on a pair of Trevor Thompson free throws a minute later. But Bronson Koenig hit back-to-back triples to put Wisconsin back on top, and the Badgers were in front by six at the break.

The Badgers' lead grew as big as 12 in the second half, but the Buckeyes refused to go away. A 9-0 Ohio State run in the middle of the period turned that 12-point gap into a three-point margin, and it got down to two with four and a half minutes to play. But powered by free throws and a big-time 3-pointer by Jordan Hill, Wisconsin outscored Ohio State, 14-5, over the game's final four minutes, running to an 11-point margin of victory.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Badgers gear right here]

The Badgers shot 49.1 percent on the game, red hot in the second half with a 56.5-percent shooting mark. The 13 triples were a season high, blowing the Buckeyes out of the water, as they made just seven. Wisconsin also held a 37-26 rebounding advantage.

Nigel Hayes led the way for the Badgers with 21 points, all but three of those coming after halftime. Koenig had 13 points, and Vitto Brown and Ethan Happ each had 12.

Lyle scored 27 points for the Buckeyes, who got huge production from their reserves. Ohio State's bench accounted for 46 of the team's 68 points. Lyle was the biggest contributor, but Kam Williams added 10 points and Thompson had nine.

The Badgers' fifth straight win sent them to 14-9 overall and 6-4 in conference play. Wisconsin doesn't play this weekend and next faces Nebraska before a big game against Maryland.

The Buckeyes have lost four of their last six games and dropped to 14-10 overall and 6-5 in league play. Next up is a Tuesday game against Northwestern.

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

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.