Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Denzel Valentine drops 32 in Spartans win


Big Ten basketball roundup: Denzel Valentine drops 32 in Spartans win

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Friday, Nov. 27, 2015:

Illinois 72, UAB 58

Kendrick Nunn missed the Illini’s first five games but returned in a big way with 18 points to lead Illinois to a win. The Illini used a 9-0 run in the first half to create some separation with UAB and had another big 18-10 run in the second half. Illinois finally got a solid defensive effort, holding UAB to 38.8-percent shooting and just five 3-pointers. Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan and Leron Black all scored 12 points. The Illini next get the No. 4 team in the country, Iowa State, in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62

The Hawkeyes had a 15-14 lead midway through the first half, but the Irish went on 25-7 run to cruise out to a 17-point lead. A 16-0 run by Iowa in the middle of the second half, though, gave the Hawkeyes a one-point lead. But Notre Dame countered with 17-8 spurt to grab the lead back. Iowa stared at a six-point deficit with a minute left and couldn’t get it any closer as time ran out. The Hawkeyes shot just 37.9 percent from the field and went just 6-for-24 from 3-point range. Jarrod Uthoff had 20 points and eight rebounds, Mike Gesell had 14 points and nine assists, and Adam Woodbury had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

[MORE BIG TEN: Kendrick Nunn scores 18 points in return as Illini beat UAB]

Michigan 78, Texas 72

The Wolverines were on fire from deep early, hitting six 3-pointers in the game’s first nine minutes and totaling 11 deep balls in the first half, taking a 12-point lead into the break. The Longhorns whittled that lead down to four midway through the second half and had it at just a point with four and a half minutes left. But Michigan got seven straight points from there to hold off the charge. The Wolverines shot a scorching 58 percent from the field and finished with 14 made 3-pointers. Caris LeVert led the way with 19 points (three made 3s), Duncan Robinson had 14 points off the bench (four made 3s) and Derrick Walton Jr. (three made 3s) and Zak Irvin (two made 3s) each had 13 points.

Michigan State 77, Boise State 67

There’s no one in college basketball playing better than Denzel Valentine right now, and he had another monster performance a night after recording his second triple-double of the season, scoring 32 points, hitting seven 3-pointers, grabbing nine rebounds and handing out six assists in another Spartan win. This one was maybe closer than it should’ve been, and it took a 19-7 close to the first half for Michigan State to create just a five-point lead. Valentine hit five straight 3s in a three-and-a-half-minute stretch in the second half. Deyonta Davis joined Valentine in double figures with 12 points as the Spartans moved to 6-0.

[MORE BIG TEN: Denzel Valentine gets another triple-double in Tom Izzo's 500th Spartans win]

Minnesota 93, Nebraska-Omaha 90

Allowing 90 points to Nebraska-Omaha is not good, but it didn’t end up hurting the Gophers too much. A 9-2 first-half run put Minnesota in front, but UNO led by a point at the half. After the Gophers went up five in the first two minutes of the second half, the Mavericks used an 11-1 run to jump back in front, but a 12-2 Minnesota run had the Gophers back in front shortly thereafter. That was answered by a 12-3 UNO run, and it was close from there. Minnesota’s lead was just a point with 30 seconds to play, but both teams missed shots and free throws, the Gophers missing fewer to cling to a win. Five Gophers were in double figures, led by the 18 points of Joey King, who was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

Cincinnati 65, Nebraska 61

The Huskers and Bearcats played a defensive struggle in the first half, each scoring just 25 points. Things stayed extremely close throughout much of the second half before a 10-0 run gave Cincinnati an eight-point lead with three minutes to play. Andrew White and Glynn Watson kept things close with 3-pointers down the stretch, but the Bearcats made eight of their 12 free-throw attempts over the final minute and a half to hold on. Nebraska out-shot Cincinnati but was beat up on the boards. Tai Webster led the way for the Huskers with 21 points and eight rebounds. Shavon Shields was also in double figures with 14 points.

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

Memphis 81, Ohio State 76

The Buckeyes jumped out to a nine-point lead early in the second half thanks to an 11-2 run featuring 3s from Keita Bates-Diop, JaQuan Lyle and Marc Loving. The Tigers caught up relatively quickly, and the game remained close from there, with Memphis in front by five after a three-point play with two and a half minutes left. A Jae’Sean Tate jumper and a clutch, game-tying 3 from Bates-Diop spun the game into overtime as Ohio State turned the ball over in the final seconds on a breakaway chance to win the game. The Buckeyes then scored just one point in the extra period as Memphis got the win. Ohio State missed eight free throws and turned the ball over 19 times. Lyle had 18, Loving had 17 and Bates-Diop had 10 points in the loss.

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.