Big Ten

Big Ten says ref — not Michigan State's timekeeper — to blame for wild Spartans finish Sunday

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USA TODAY

Big Ten says ref — not Michigan State's timekeeper — to blame for wild Spartans finish Sunday

The wild finish and postgame controversy in Sunday's game between Michigan State and Florida Gulf Coast was the fault of an official, not a timekeeper, the Big Ten announced Monday.

With three seconds remaining and the Spartans ahead by just a point, 78-77, Eron Harris missed back-to-back free throws, giving the visiting Eagles a chance to win the game with a made basket. An initial attempt at a length-of-the-court pass was batted down by Michigan State's Miles Bridges, leaving just a little over a second remaining on the clock. The Eagles completed the next court-length pass, and a player got a shot off, though it missed badly.

But Florida Gulf Coast was furious at game's end because the clock, as replay showed, started before the ball was touched. The Eagles argued the shooter only let go of his way-off shot because he heard the buzzer go off and that he should've had more time to take a better shot. They wanted another crack at winning the game, one the officials didn't give them. A video review using a stopwatch determined that had the clock started at the correct time, because the shot missed, time would've run out anyway. No do-over.

The inappropriate start of the clock was believed to be the doing of Michigan State's clock operator, but Monday's statement said it was one of the officials who was responsible.

"While the on-court officials and Michigan State timekeeper have the ability to start and stop the clock, after a complete review of the timing error on the game’s final play with 1.6 seconds remaining, it was confirmed that a game official improperly set the clock in motion via his Precision Timing belt pack. The subsequent adjudication of rules, allowing for use of the courtside video monitor and a hand-held digital stopwatch to determine whether the shot was released prior to expiration, and if there was any time remaining in the game, were properly administered."

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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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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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.