Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Badgers, Illini upset on opening night


Big Ten basketball roundup: Badgers, Illini upset on opening night

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Friday, Nov. 13, 2015:

North Florida 93, Illinois 81

The Fighting Illini had a rough night defensively, allowing 90-plus points for just the second time in the John Groce Era. North Florida made 17 3-pointers to send Illinois to its first season-opening loss since 1998. Grad transfer big man Mike Thorne had 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Malcolm Hill also had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. But the Illini will have to do better than allowing 52.2 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from 3-point range.

Indiana 88, Eastern Illinois 49

The Hoosiers allowed just 17 first-half points and led by 32 at the break. Indiana had six players score in double figures, led by the 17 of James Blackmon Jr. Yogi Ferrell filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while freshman big man Thomas Bryant had 11 points and nine rebounds in his first college game.

Iowa 76, Gardner-Webb 59

The Hawkeyes allowed just 22 points in the second half en route to a season-opening win. Jarrod Uthoff had 21 points to lead Iowa, getting seven of those from a perfect night at the free-throw line. Adam Woodbury was the only other Hawkeye to score in double figures with 11 points. Mike Gesell only had two points but filled the stat sheet with nine assists, four rebounds and three steals.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini fall to North Florida, first season-opening loss since 1998]

Maryland 80, Mount St. Mary’s 56

The Terps shot nearly 60 percent from the field and limited the Mountaineers to 31-percent shooting. Six players scored in double figures for Maryland, paced by the 16 points of Jake Layman and the 14 of Melo Trimble. Diamond Stone scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his first college game. The Terps hauled in 44 rebounds as a team.

Michigan 70, Northern Michigan 44

The Wolverines shot nearly 52 percent from the field in a runaway win. Caris LeVert led the way for Michigan with 18 points (7-for-12 shooting), five assists and four rebounds, while Aubrey Dawkins scored 15 points (6-for-7 shooting) and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Michigan State 82, Florida Atlantic 55

Michigan State more than doubled up Florida Atlantic in the first half to lead by 22 at halftime. The Spartans shot better than 48 percent from the field and better than 38 percent from 3-point range. Matt Costello was the high man with 15 points, one of four Michigan Staters in double figures. Denzel Valentine nearly had a triple double with 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Freshman Deyonta Davis had 13 points and 11 rebounds, also blocking five shots in his first college game.

[MORE BIG TEN: Tom Izzo ranks Spartans' 2016 class as 'best we've had']

Minnesota 76, UMKC 58

Minnesota led by just two at halftime but pulled away in the second half for a nearly 20-point win. Joey King hit six 3-pointers, good for 18 of his team-high 22 points. The Gophers hit 12 long balls on the night. Carlos Morris had 13 points, and Nate Mason had 11, both guards coming off the bench for double-digit scoring performances.

Northwestern 79, UMass Lowell 57

Despite trailing at halftime, Northwestern outscored UMass Lowell by 24 in the second half. Alex Olah had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Aaron Falzon had 20 points, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range in his first college game. Guards Bryant Macintosh and Tre Demps also scored in double figures as the Cats picked up their shooting drastically in the final 20 minutes.

Purdue 81, North Carolina A&T 40

The Boilermakers’ patented defense was on display as the Aggies shot a hideous 24.1 percent from the field and were oh-fer from 3-point range despite casting up 15 tries. Rapheal Davis and Kendall Stephens each had 14 points to lead Purdue. Stephens and fellow reserve Ryan Cline each hit four 3-pointers, and freshman big man Caleb Swanigan had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in his first college game.

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

Rutgers 72, Rutgers-Newark 59

Tied at the half, Rutgers outscored Rutgers-Newark by 13 in the second half to pull away for the victory. The Knights shot 50 percent from the field. Mike Williams had a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, also dishing out four assists and recording a whopping five steals. Deshawn Freeman had 13 points off the bench, and D.J. Foreman was also in double figures with 10 points.

Western Illinois 69, Wisconsin 67

For the first time since Bo Ryan’s first season in 2001, the Badgers dropped their season-opener, giving Western Illinois its first win over a Big Ten team since 1994. Wisconsin scored just 23 points in the second half, and Western Illinois shot 54 percent on the night. Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes each had 17 points, but a pair of Western free throws with 10 seconds left proved the winning points for the visiting Leathernecks.

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.