Big Ten

Badgers stay on roll by running away from Michigan late

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Badgers stay on roll by running away from Michigan late

With the way the Badgers have played since mid-January, they've looked like one of the two best teams in the Big Ten.

And now, however improbably, they actually are.

Though the conference standings are always changing, Wisconsin at least temporarily moved into second place in the league after a 68-57 win over Michigan on Sunday evening in Madison. The win was the third straight for the Badgers, who have won 10 of their last 11 after starting conference play 1-4.

The Badgers trailed the Wolverines by a point at the half after shooting just 41.7 percent over the first 20 minutes. But after several minutes of lead trading in the second half, Wisconsin burst away from a one-point deficit with 13 minutes to play, going on a 13-3 run that built a nine-point lead. Nigel Hayes scored six of those 13 points, with Ethan Happ accounting for four. Michigan did respond with back-to-back buckets to make it a five-point game, but a Bronson Koenig triple served as the dagger, stretching the lead back out to eight. It didn't get any smaller the rest of the way, and Vitto Brown's career-high fourth 3-pointer made it a double-digit lead that reached as high as 13 before the final horn sounded with an 11-point margin.

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The Badgers shot 56 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes, going 14-for-25 from the field and 4-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. They finished with a big 33-20 rebounding advantage and went 12-for-15 from the free-throw line.

The Wolverines finished shooting 48 percent from the field but were just 5-for-13 from 3-point range.

Koenig led four Wisconsin scorers in double figures with 19 points, making three 3-pointers. Hayes had 16 points, Brown had 14 with the quartet of made triples and Happ had 12.

Zak Irvin led Michigan with 14 points, with Derrick Walton Jr., Duncan Robinson and Ricky Doyle all scoring 10 points.

The Badgers' latest win boosted their record to 19-10 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten, good enough for the time being for the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Of course, Wisconsin still has two more regular-season games left — plus a lot more could happen around the league with tiebreakers and such — against Minnesota on Wednesday and against Purdue next weekend, both away from the Kohl Center.

The Wolverines have dropped three of their last four, the most recent lowering their record to 20-10 overall and 10-7 in the league. Michigan's final regular-season game comes next weekend against Iowa.

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.