Big Ten

Big Ten basketball roundup: Spartans win OT thriller to stay undefeated

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Big Ten basketball roundup: Spartans win OT thriller to stay undefeated

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Monday, Dec. 21, 2015:

Northwestern 103, Sacred Heart 67

The Cats hit the century mark for the first time this season and shot the lights out to the tune of 61 percent in this runaway, nailing 15 3-pointers and assisting on 30 of 36 made shots. Alex Olah matched a season high with 21 points, his fourth 21-point game of the season, while Tre Demps had 17 points and Bryant McIntosh came a point away from a double-double.

A roundup of Big Ten basketball action from Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015:

Indiana 99, Kennesaw State 72

The Hoosiers led by as little as eight midway through the second half but used a 19-4 run to sprint away. Kennesaw State shot 50.8 percent from the field, but Indiana shot 64.7 percent, hitting 11 of 19 3-point attempts. Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams each had 20 points. James Blackmon Jr. hit four 3s and finished with 19 points, and Yogi Ferrell scored 16 points.

[MORE BIG TEN: Spartans stay on top, Terps up to No. 4, Purdue drops in latest AP poll]

Iowa 85, Tennessee Tech 63

The Hawkeyes allowed just 21 first-half points while cruising to the win. Iowa didn’t exactly shoot the lights out but took advantage of 18 Tennessee Tech turnovers, while the Golden Eagles shot just 32 percent in the first half. Peter Jok scored 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Nicholas Baer had his second straight great game, scoring 19 points off the bench.

Michigan State 99, Oakland 93

The No. 1 team had to climb out of a huge hole, trailing by as many as 15 in the first half and down 13 at halftime. Michigan State used a 21-8 run to get the margin to just a point midway through the second half and took a lead on a Bryn Forbes 3, though that lead didn’t get bigger than six down the stretch in regulation, with a pair of Oakland free throws with five seconds left forcing overtime. The teams traded free throws early in OT, Matt Costello giving the Spartans a lead with a three-point play and Deyonta Davis doing the same with a dunk shortly thereafter. A Davis free throw tied the game at 91 with a minute and a half left. Davis’ layup put the Spartans ahead in the final minute, and Bryn Forbes’ 3-pointer made that lead five points and sealed the deal as Michigan State hung on to stay undefeated. Playing without Denzel Valentine, Forbes and Eron Harris were huge, combining for 59 points. Forbes made seven 3-pointers, while Harris scored 11 from the free-throw line. Davis scored 11, including five straight in OT.

[MORE BIG TEN: Spartans' Denzel Valentine out two to three weeks following knee surgery]

Nebraska 81, Prairie View A&M 50

The Huskers had just a three-point edge at halftime but outscored the visiting Panthers, 50-22, in the second half to win big. Nebraska shot 50 percent from the field and scored 21 points from the free-throw line. Shavon Shields and Andrew White each scored 19 points, with Tai Webster scoring 10 off the bench.

Ohio State 64, Mercer 44

The Buckeyes struggled early and led by just a point at the break as the team’s combined for just 49 first-half points. But Ohio State opened the second half on a 13-4 run to build a double-digit lead, and Mercer scored just 20 points over the final 20 minutes. JaQuan Lyle scored a team-high 18 points, while Jae’Sean Tate had 13 and Keita Bates-Diop scored 12.

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

Colorado 71, Penn State 70

After combining for just 50 first-half points, the teams combined for 91 in the second half. The Lions trailed by 11 with four minutes to play and by 10 with two and a half minutes left, but six straight points over a minute had it at a three-point game with 26 seconds to go. Penn State, though, couldn’t catch all the way up. Shep Garner had 26 points in the defeat.

Purdue 68, Vanderbilt 55

The Boilers were down at the half after scoring just 23 points, but A.J. Hammons was big in the second half, scoring 15 of his 21 points and grabbing five of his 10 rebounds over the final 20 minutes. He factored big in the 18-4 run that turned a five-point deficit into a nine-point lead. Hammons added seven blocks in the game. Rapheal Davis scored 14 points, and Caleb Swanigan had 13.

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.