Big Ten

Bryn Forbes sets new Big Ten record with 11 3s as Spartans blast Rutgers


Bryn Forbes sets new Big Ten record with 11 3s as Spartans blast Rutgers

For a little while, it was time to panic, seeing Rutgers hanging tight with Michigan State. The halftime score was just 43-41 in favor of the Spartans.

But then Bryn Forbes went off. So did the rest of the Spartans, exploding in the second half to cruise to a monstrous 97-66 victory on Wednesday night in New Jersey.

But Michigan State's win — so expected that Tom Izzo all but predicted his team would beat Rutgers, which is still winless in conference play — was not the biggest news item of the evening. No, that would be Forbes, who scored a career-high 33 points and splashed home 11 triples, good for a brand-new Big Ten record.

The struggle was real for the Spartans over the first 20 minutes. After taking a nine-point lead just five minutes in, Michigan State watched Rutgers surge, the Knights using a 13-2 run to turn that deficit into a three-point lead. That run extended to 20-7 as Rutgers led by as many as four. Scarlet Knights freshman Corey Sanders had it working early, scoring 15 first-half points as Rutgers shot a scorching 66.7 percent from the field in the first half.

But after halftime, it was all Spartans. Michigan State shot 52.6 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes, pouring in 54 points to Rutgers' mere 25. Forbes, who did plenty of damage in the first half with five of his 3s, scored 18 in the second half, going 6-for-8 from distance after the break. As a team, the Spartans were 8-for-13 from 3 in the second half and 16-for-31 on the game. Michigan State finished with gigantic edges in rebounding (50-24), points off turnovers (26-13) and second-chance points (19-9).

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Forbes' 33 points were a career high, and his 11 made 3-pointers set a new Big Ten record, one previously held by former Spartan Chris Hill and former Ohio State Buckeye Jon Diebler, who both hit 10 in a single game.

He was joined in double figures by four of his teammates. Eron Harris scored 15 points, and Denzel Valentine finished with 14 points plus eight rebounds and eight assists. Matt Costello tallied a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, and Marvin Clark scored 10 points.

The Knights shot just 28.6 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes. Sanders finished with a team-high 19 points, joined in double figures by Jonathan Laurent (14) and D.J. Foreman (11).

The second-ranked Spartans improved to 25-5 overall and 12-5 in the Big Ten with their fifth straight win and their ninth win in the last 10 games. Just one regular-season game remains — against Ohio State on Saturday — before next week's Big Ten Tournament, where Michigan State will look to earn not only a league title but perhaps a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Rutgers, meanwhile, fell to 6-24 overall and 0-17 in the conference with its 17th consecutive loss. It is one defeat away from finishing the season with zero Big Ten wins. The Knights last chance to avoid a winless league schedule comes Saturday against Minnesota.

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.