A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015:
Providence 60, Illinois 59
A second-half comeback was for naught as the Illini blew two straight point-blank chances with time running out to fall at Providence. Down by just a point, Malcolm Hill missed a layup, and Michael Finke missed a put-back dunk as time ran out. Hill, Finke and Jalen Coleman-Lands figured big in the second half, and all three finished in double figures. But foul trouble buried the Illini, with starting big men Mike Thorne Jr. and Leron Black playing a combined 17 minutes and picking up a combined nine fouls.
[MORE BIG TEN: Illini miss point-blank chances in final seconds, fall at Providence]
Northwestern 79, Fairfield 72
The Cats let a 16-point second-half lead get all the way down to three, but late work by Bryant McIntosh allowed for a survival of a win. McIntosh scored five straight points to turn a three-point edge into an eight-point one in the final minutes, and the sophomore finished with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, while three other Northwestern players scored in double figures.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Northwestern gear right here]
Purdue 96, Incarnate Word 61
The Boilers shot a sizzling 59.6 percent from the field and held the Cardinals to just 28.4-percent shooting on the night in this runaway. Five Purdue players scored in double figures, with Isaac Haas recording a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and Kendall Stephens a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range off the bench. The Boilers have averaged 94.7 points in their three season-opening wins, and Caleb Swanigan is averaging 11.7 points and 10 rebounds three games into his college career.
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 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.