Big Ten

Dererk Pardon breaks out as Northwestern defeats Huskers

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Dererk Pardon breaks out as Northwestern defeats Huskers

Northwestern looked to be in major trouble following the announcement of an indefinite injury to center Alex Olah.

Well, there might not be reason to worry after a breakout performance from freshman big man Dererk Pardon in Wednesday's win over Nebraska.

Pardon, playing in just his second college game, was magnificent in the Wildcats' Big Ten opener, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as Northwestern grabbed a road win in Lincoln, 81-72.

Both teams shot well on the game, with Northwestern shooting 50 percent from the field on the day and shooting 55.2 percent in the second half. The first-half was a 3-point bonanza, with the Huskers hitting seven 3s and the Cats hitting five. Aaron Falzon had three triples in the first half as the Cats went to the break trailing, 38-35.

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Nebraska raced out to a 12-point lead at the start of the second half, coming out of halftime on a 13-4 run. But the Cats punched back. After Scottie Lindsey and Tre Demps sandwiched 3-pointers around an Andrew White triple, Northwestern used a 13-4 run to tie the game at 60, getting seven points from Pardon during the stretch and 3-pointers from Falzon and Lindsey, the latter tying the game. Demps hit a game-tying triple shortly thereafter, and a Pardon putback dunk gave the Cats their first lead of the second half with four minutes to play. Pardon scored six of the next eight points for Northwestern, and free throws put the game away.

The Cats not only shot extremely well but were dominant on the boards, out-rebounding the Huskers, 40-25.

Pardon wowed with his 28 points, and Northwestern got 17 points from Demps, 12 from Falzon and 11 from Bryant McIntosh.

White was terrific for Nebraska, scoring 22 points. Benny Parker scored 17, and Tai Webster had 11.

The win to open conference play boosted the Cats' record to 13-1 on the season. Next up is a home game against Maryland on Saturday night.

The loss sent the Huskers to 8-6. They get Indiana on Saturday.

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.