Big Ten

Big Ten hoops roundup: Michigan wins 2K Classic, Spartans survive FGCU scare


Big Ten hoops roundup: Michigan wins 2K Classic, Spartans survive FGCU scare

A roundup of Big Ten basketball games from this past weekend:

Friday, Nov. 18

Michigan 76, Southern Methodist 54

The Wolverines won the 2K Classic with two mighty impressive wins in New York. Thursday, Michigan bested Marquette by 18, and this one was a 22-point win over SMU. The Wolverines shot 52.9 percent from the field and splashed home 13 3-pointers. Derrick Walton Jr. had a monster game, hitting seven of those 13 triples. He finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with his six assists. Zak Irvin and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman also scored in double figures with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Purdue 64, Georgia State 56

The Boilermakers were in unexpected trouble in this one, but they closed the game on a 20-point run to come back and beat the Panthers. Georgia State extended its lead to 12 with a little more than seven minutes to play, but Purdue scored the last 20 points, connecting on five of its last six shots and hitting seven of 11 free-throw tries. The Boilers shot an ugly 37.8 percent from the field and made only five of 22 shots from 3-point range. But Purdue had a massive edge at the free-throw line, despite missing 12 from the stripe, going 25-for-37 compared to Georgia State’s 7-for-11 mark. Caleb Swanigan made nine of those free throws and led the way with 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the young season.

Minnesota 92, St. John’s 86

Amir Coffey scored 30 points in leading the Gophers to their fourth win in four games this season, this one coming against a major-conference foe. Coffey was 9-for-14 from the field and 11-for-12 at the free-throw line, also grabbing four rebounds and coming away with a pair of steals. Three other Minnesota players scored in double figures: Dupree McBrayer had 18, Nate Mason had 13 and Jordan Murphy had 12. The Gophers limited the Johnnies to just 36.7-percent shooting and only turned the ball over six times.

Michigan State 100, Mississippi Valley State 53

Bouncing back from their defeat in the Champions Classic, the Spartans beat up on the Delta Devils, hitting the century mark with monstrous scoring advantages in each half. Michigan State was automatic, shooting 66.1 percent from the field and connecting on 16 of 28 3-point shots. The Spartans grabbed 46 rebounds and dished out 33 assists, making insignificant the fact that they turned the ball over 14 times. After shouldering the blame for the blowout loss to Kentucky, Miles Bridges was terrific in this one, posting a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, also handing out six assists. Eron Harris and Matt McQuaid each had five makes from 3-point range and finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Nick Ward scored 18 points off the bench.

Illinois 89, Detroit Mercy 69

The Illini had little trouble with the visiting Titans, shooting 51.9 percent from the field and running away with things during a 50-point second half. Malcolm Hill was the high man with 25 points, hitting four 3-pointers, going 9-for-11 from the free-throw line and grabbing six rebounds. Tracy Abrams (15), Jaylon Tate (12) and Mike Thorne Jr. (11) also scored in double figures.

Saturday, Nov. 19

Duke 78, Penn State 68

The Nittany Lions led the No. 1 team in the country by a point three minutes in, but that’s the last lead they’d have. Predictably, Duke didn’t take long to build a sizable lead on Penn State, up by double digits midway through the first half, ahead by 12 at halftime and holding a lead as big as 17 in the early stages of the second half. Give the Lions credit for battling back, whittling that 17-point deficit down to nine with a 15-7 run at one point. But they never got closer than eight before time ran out. Both teams shot better than 50 percent after halftime, but Penn State was buried by a 30-percent first half. Four Lions scored in double figures: Tony Carr had 20 points, Shep Garner had 15, Payton Banks had 13 and Lamar Stevens had 11.

Indiana 87, Liberty 48

The Hoosiers shot 60.9 percent from the field on the game and cruised past Liberty, holding the visitors to just 19 first-half points. Though Indiana turned the ball over an eye-popping 26 times, it did destroy on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 55-20. James Blackmon Jr. led the way for the Hoosiers with 20 points, hitting five 3s and nearly recording a double-double with nine rebounds. OG Anunoby did have a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Robert Johnson scored in double figures with 13 points.

Nebraska 65, Louisiana Tech 54

The Huskers didn’t win in pretty fashion, getting out-rebounded and shooting just 37.3 percent from the field. But a win’s a win, as they say, and Nebraska won this one thanks in part to knocking down 21 of its 24 attempts from the free-throw line. Tai Webster and Jack McVeigh combined for 44 points, scoring career highs with 23 and 21, respectively. Webster was 11-for-12 from the free-throw line, while McVeigh went 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

Sunday, Nov. 20

Michigan State 78, Florida Gulf Coast 77

Controversy surrounded the ending of this one, clouding what was a ridiculously close game down the stretch. Michigan State had a one-point lead with three seconds left, only for Eron Harris, who was otherwise terrific, to miss two straight free-throw attempts, giving FGCU a shot at the win. After Miles Bridges batted down one baseball-pass attempt, the Eagles got one off with one second remaining, and a game-winning try was missed. But hold everything, apparently the clock operator started the clock before the ball was touched, and FGCU was livid, screaming for another try. But, as the FGCU head coach reported after the game, the rules allow the refs to review the clock only if the shot had gone in. Crazy finish. The Spartans had a modest lead throughout much of the second half before an 11-2 charge by the Eagles turned a five-point Michigan State lead into a four-point FGCU lead with under four minutes to go. From there, Harris hit two huge 3s to twice tie the game. A couple free throws put the Spartans in front briefly, but an Eagles layup tied the game at 73 with under a minute to play. Two more baskets were traded before Cassius Winston split a pair of free throws to put Sparty in front, and that lead grew to three with a pair of Miles Bridges free throws. FGCU got a layup with eight seconds left before Harris’ missed free throws and the nutty ending. Michigan State shot 55 percent from the field on the game but got beat up in the rebounding battle and missed 14 of its 33 free-throw tries. Harris did yeoman’s work with 31 points, going 6-for-6 from 3-point range. Bridges, with 13 points, was the only other Spartan in double figures.

Maryland 71, Towson 66

The Terps struggled mightily with Towson and trailed by as many as 13 in the early stages of the second half. Thankfully for Mark Turgeon’s crew, that 13-point deficit got bumped down to two with a 12-1 run. Anthony Cowan and Justin Jackson each had game-tying baskets with under eight-minutes to play, and a go-ahead 3 by Melo Trimble with six and a half minutes left gave the Terps their first lead in more than 17 minutes of play. The game was tied a couple more times in the final minutes, but Maryland never trailed again, Trimble hitting a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left to break the final tie. Trimble and Jackson did most of the heavy lifting, production-wise, with both guys scoring in double figures in each half. Trimble finished with 27 points, going just 3-for-10 from deep but making 16 of his 17 free-throw attempts. Jackson was 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 21 points.

Cincinnati 71, Penn State 50

The Nittany Lions were trounced by the Bearcats, scoring just 19 points in the first half. Cincy shot 50 percent on the game, while Penn State shot just 34.7 percent, also getting beat in the rebounding battle, turning the ball over 19 times and making just five of 20 3-point attempts. Shep Garner had a team-high 20 points but was 7-for-16 from the field and 4-for-11 from deep. Tony Carr scored in double figures, too, with 10 points.

Iowa 95, Texas Rio Grande Valley 67

The Hawkeyes trounced the visiting Vaqueros, shooting better than 50 percent on the game. Peter Jok hit five 3-pointers and finished with 27 points. Tyler Cook had 15 points, with Isaiah Moss and Brady Ellingson coming off the bench to score 14 and 11, respectively.

Rutgers 78, Niagara 65

Nigel Johnson scored 20 points to lead the Scarlet Knights, also stuffing the stat sheet with five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Mike Williams was the only other Rutgers player in double figures with 12 points. The Knights held the visiting Purple Eagles to just 30.5-percent shooting.

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.