Big Ten

Denzel Valentine gets another triple-double in Tom Izzo's 500th Spartans win

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Denzel Valentine gets another triple-double in Tom Izzo's 500th Spartans win

Win No. 500 for Tom Izzo. Triple-double No. 2 for Denzel Valentine. Not a bad night for the Spartans.

Michigan State had plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving night, beating Boston College, 99-68, out in California as part of the Wooden Classic.

Valentine — who became the fourth Spartan to ever record a triple-double in last week's big win over Kansas — matched a career high with 29 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out 10 assists to join Magic Johnson and Draymond Green as the only Michigan State players with multiple triple-doubles. Valentine hit six 3-pointers and scored 14 of his points during an especially electrifying stretch in the second half, part of a 25-8 run that allowed Michigan State to turn this one into a real blowout.

Valentine has scored in double figures in four of the team's five games this season, all wins, and he's grabbed double-digit rebounds in three of those games.

The Spartans shot a sizzling 62.7 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from 3-point range, also holding a 38-20 rebounding advantage and assisting on 28 of 37 made field goals.

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Tum Tum Nairn and Deyonta Davis joined Valentine in double figures. Nairn scored all of his career-high 13 points in the first half, also handing out eight assists on the night. Davis scored 10 points, the freshman forward with his third double-digit scoring performance of this five-game season.

Izzo's 500th win came in his 21st season, and he's the eighth Division-I coach ever to reach 500 wins in his first 21 seasons.

Green was in attendance for his former coach's big accomplishment and gifted Izzo a watch following the win.

Michigan State next faces Louisville as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Thursday.

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.