Big Ten

With Caris LeVert sidelined, Michigan blasts Penn State

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With Caris LeVert sidelined, Michigan blasts Penn State

Playing without its best player wasn’t much of a problem for Michigan on Saturday.

The Wolverines were without Caris LeVert, who was announced as day-to-day with a lower left leg injury just before the game, but had no trouble blowing out Penn State, 79-56, in Ann Arbor.

Mark Donnal had a second straight big performance, scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds to follow up his 26-point, nine-rebound game against Illinois earlier this week. Zak Irvin also stepped up with LeVert on the bench, scoring 16 points to match a season high and splashing home a season-high four made 3-pointers.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 14 points, and Aubrey Dawkins scored 13 points off the bench.

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The Wolverines shot a spectacular 59.2 percent from the field, hitting 14 3s to blitz past the Nittany Lions, who shot just 35.2 percent from the field. Michigan had a 21-point lead at the half and cruised from there, holding Penn State to 28 points in each half.

Brandon Taylor was the only player in double figures for the Lions, scoring 18 points.

After the game, Michigan head coach John Beilein didn’t elaborate much on LeVert’s injury and classified him as day-to-day.

Michigan improved to 12-3 on the season and 2-0 in conference play with the win. Next up is a trip to Purdue on Thursday.

Penn State dropped to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in league play with the loss. Minnesota visits Happy Valley on Tuesday.

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.