Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Four wins give B1G a Challenge victory

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Big Ten basketball roundup: Four wins give B1G a Challenge victory

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015:

Notre Dame 84, Illinois 79

The Illini had a 10-point lead in the early stages of the second half, but the final 20 minutes were dominated by the Irish, who took advantage of ice-cold Illinois offense and poor Illinois defense to shoot 57.1 percent and score 51 points in the second half to spoil the Illini’s housewarming party. Illinois missed all but three of its first 21 shots of the second half, shooting 35.1 percent in the period. Malcolm Hill finished with 19 to lead the Illini, with Jalen Coleman-Lands, Michael Finke and Kendrick Nunn also scoring in double figures.

Duke 94, Indiana 74

It was Duke domination for the vast majority, with a mid-first-half run of 17-5 turning a six-point Indiana lead into a six-point Duke lead. That grew as big as 13 in the first half, and a 13-2 Devils run to open the second half had the lead at an even 20. The Hoosiers didn’t get closer than 18 the rest of the way. Both teams shot well, better than 50 percent, but Duke had a rebounding advantage of 13, including 19 offensive boards and 26 second-chance points. Troy Williams had 17 points to lead Indiana, with Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. also in double figures.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini's housewarming party crashed in loss to Notre Dame]

Iowa 78, Florida State 75

Mike Gesell split a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation that could have forced Florida State to hoist a 3 to tie. Instead, the Seminoles tied the game at 63 with two free throws, and the Hawkeyes blew their chance at a game-winning shot, turning the ball over in the final seconds. The teams traded leads throughout overtime until Peter Jok’s 3 with 26 seconds left made it 74-72. Jarrod Uthoff hit four free throws from there to hold off the Noles. Jok had 24 points to lead Iowa, which scored 19 points from the free-throw line.

Michigan State 71, Louisville 67

Sparty looked ugly early, missing all but three of its first 14 shots and turning the ball over 11 times in the first half. Louisville couldn’t capitalize, though, ahead by just three at the half. Michigan State charged in the second half, finally getting a lead with under seven minutes to go. The Spartans took command from there, getting 11 points from Denzel Valentine in the final five-ish minutes. Valentine finished with 25, and Bryn Forbes had 20, hitting five 3-pointers. Deyonta Davis was big with nine points and six rebounds, and Goins had five points and 13 rebounds.

[MORE BIG TEN: Poor defense in loss to Notre Dame an unfortunate trend for Illini]

Penn State 67, Boston College 58

Shep Garner was astounding, scoring 30 points and knocking down eight 3-pointers in the Nittany Lions’ win. Penn State allowed just 28 second-half points, outscoring Boston College by 10 over the final 20 minutes, during which the Eagles shot just 36 percent. Penn State also changed their own shooting fortunes, shooting just 32 percent in the first half before shooting 57 percent in the second. Garner came one 3 away from tying the Penn State single-game record.

Wisconsin 66, Syracuse 58

The Badgers outscored the Orange, 13-5, in overtime to grab an impressive and unexpected road victory over the No. 14 team in the country. Continuing to confound, Wisconsin turned the ball over 20 times but out-rebounded Syracuse, 51-25, as the Orange shot just 35.7 percent on the night. Forwards Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes had huge games for the Badgers, Happ scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, also blocking three shots and grabbing a pair of steals, and Hayes scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

After all 14 games, the Big Ten won the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, 8-6.

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.