Big Ten

Even with late scare, Terps ride monster first half to win over Huskers

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Even with late scare, Terps ride monster first half to win over Huskers

INDIANAPOLIS — Maryland has had its ups and downs this season, but boy did the Terps look like the team everyone expected them to be on Friday night. For the most part, anyway.

A monster of a first half carried Maryland to a 97-86 victory over Nebraska, sending the Terps to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, where they’ll meet Michigan State on Saturday. That doesn’t mean the game was without its bad stretches for the Terps, what with the Huskers shrinking a 25-point lead all the way down to six in the game’s final minute before free throws finally put it away.

Maryland was absolutely scorching in the first half, shooting a jaw-dropping 71.4 percent from the field and connecting on nine of its 10 3-point attempts. Jake Layman alone hit four 3s in the first five and a half minutes of the game, the scintillating start to his 17-point period, which featured the senior going 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-point range.

All in all, it was a season-high 54-point first half for the Terps, who looked like the Golden State Warriors at times against a group of Huskers playing for the third time in three days. Melo Trimble dazzled with no-look passes and highlight-reel weaves to the rim. Diamond Stone had three thunderous dunks. And six different Maryland players scored, all netting at least five points.

The second half was more of the same, for the most part. Layman and Trimble kept hitting 3s, and Stone kept dunking. Not even a 17-5 charge by the Huskers in the middle of the period could do much damage. It whittled a 25-point lead down to 13, but the Terps had their edge back over 20 in no time. But then came that late Nebraska surge, the Huskers using a 19-4 run to take a 21-point lead down to six over a six-and-a-half-minute stretch during which Maryland hit just two shots. Three straight 3-pointers by Andrew White III brought the Huskers within six. Only five Maryland free throws in the final minute prevented what would have been a ridiculous collapse.

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The Terps got their win, though, scoring a Big Ten Tournament record 97 points in the process. Maryland shot 60.3 percent from the field on the game, going 13-for-22 from 3-point range and coming one shy of the Big Ten Tournament record set just two days ago by Illinois. Maryland out-rebounded Nebraska, 36-28, and had a 44-34 edge in points in the paint.

Layman led the way for the Terps with 26 points. He was 8-for-13 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. Stone scored 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting, also grabbing eight rebounds. Trimble had 16 points, going 4-for-8 from 3. Robert Carter Jr. added 13 points, and Rasheed Sulaimon had 10.

White led Nebraska with 25 points, hitting five 3s. Shavon Shields had 19 points, with Tai Webster adding 17 points. Glynn Watson Jr. scored 10 points for the Huskers.

The Terps haven’t always looked like the team that was picked as one of the preseason favorites to win the national championship — the late-in-game stretch showed that. But certainly the incredible talent has always been there, and in the first half, we saw what can happen when this team fires on all cylinders. It should be an exciting semifinal with the Spartans, who rolled past Ohio State on Friday night.

Nebraska had a fun run in the Big Ten Tournament, including an upset of Wisconsin on Thursday, but the Huskers’ season is likely over following Friday’s loss.

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.