Big Ten

Butler's buzzer-beater buries Northwestern at Hinkle Fieldhouse

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USA TODAY

Butler's buzzer-beater buries Northwestern at Hinkle Fieldhouse

The Gavitt Tipoff Games have really been something so far.

A night after Maryland pulled off an unbelievable comeback against Georgetown in the final seconds, Northwestern went down to the wire with Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. But it was Bulldogs freshman Kamar Baldwin who first made a crucial steal and then knocked down a game-winning jumper with just 0.4 seconds remaining to send the Wildcats back to Evanston with a 70-68 loss.

Despite holding a ridiculous shooting advantage over the first 20 minutes — Northwestern shot 45.8 percent from the field, while Butler shot a brutal 31.4 percent — the Cats had just a three-point lead at halftime, 32-29.

Things were tight the entire second half. Butler held a five-point lead around the midway point of the period, only for Northwestern to erase it with a 12-1 run over a roughly five-minute span that featured five points from Vic Law and 3-pointers from Law and Gavin Skelly and put the Cats ahead by six. The Bulldogs, though, had an answer for that, charging out on their own 11-3 burst to tie the game at 63 with about three minutes left and then take a two-point lead a half minute later.

Bryant McIntosh and Tyler Wideman traded pairs of free throws, and Sanjay Lumpkin made a game-tying layup with under two minutes to play. Skelly split a pair of free throws to put the Cats ahead by one with a minute to play, and Andrew Chrabascz splitting two free-throw tries tied the game at 68 with 53 seconds left. With a chance to take the lead, McIntosh had the ball stolen away by Baldwin, and after a Butler timeout, Baldwin nailed the game-winning jumper from just inside the 3-point line.

Northwestern shot even better after halftime than it did during the game's first 20 minutes, going 13-for-26 from the field and 5-for-10 from behind the 3-point line. But Butler had a big advantage from the free-throw line in the second half, making 12 of 15 from the stripe, while Northwestern was just 5-for-6. The Cats also turned the ball over 16 times on the evening — including 10 times in the second half — leading to 18 points for the Bulldogs. Butler was better in the paint, with a 26-18 scoring edge, and had an 8-0 advantage in fast-break points.

Four Northwestern players scored in double figures. Law led the way with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 5-for-6 3-point shooting, also grabbing six rebounds. McIntosh had 12 points to go along with five assists. Lumpkin and Scottie Lindsey each scored 10 points and combined for 12 rebounds.

The Cats dropped to 2-1 with the loss and next head to Brooklyn for the Legends Classic, with games against Texas and either Notre Dame or Colorado awaiting next week.

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.