Big Ten

Hawkeyes blow 20-point lead, lose to Iowa State in final seconds


Hawkeyes blow 20-point lead, lose to Iowa State in final seconds

For a good, long while during Thursday night's game, Iowa was dominating the No. 4 team in the country.

The first half was all Hawkeyes, with Jarrod Uthoff scoring 30 points in the opening 20 minutes, and they held a 20-point lead on Iowa State in both the first and second half. But the Cyclones whittled that lead down to practically nothing over the course of the second half, and with three straight turnovers in the final minute, Iowa saw its lead collapse completely, as Iowa State got a game-winning bucket with nine seconds left in an 83-82 decision.

The Hawkeyes were sensational in the first 20 minutes, shooting 59.4 percent from the field and getting an out-of-this-world performance from Uthoff. The senior scored 30 points on 11-for-13 shooting, hitting five 3-pointers in a half for the ages as Iowa led by as many as 20 and went to the break with a 14-point lead.

Peter Jok took a turn lighting up the scoreboard to open the second half, scoring 14 of the team's first 16 points in the first five minutes and change of the second half. The last of those, Jok's fourth 3-pointer of the half at the 14:55 mark, gave the Hawkeyes a 19-point lead. But Iowa scored just one basket over the next seven minutes, and Iowa State took advantage of the offensive rut, going on an 18-5 run to bring the deficit to just five. After a Jok jumper, six more consecutive Cyclones points made it a one-point game with about six minutes to play.

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It stayed close from there, but Uthoff's first bucket of the second half (at the 3:48 mark) and a 3-pointer by Anthony Clemmons gave the Hawkeyes some breathing room, boosting the lead to six, and it reached eight with two and a half minutes to play. But after two Iowa State free throws, Iowa turned the ball over on back-to-back inbounds plays, leading to five Iowa State points to bring the margin again to just a point with just 51 seconds to play. Then, the Hawkeyes committed a shot-clock violation on their next possession, turning the ball over a third straight time. The Cyclones got a go-ahead bucket from Monte Morris with nine second to play, and Fran McCaffery chose not to use his last remaining timeout as Uthoff's 3-pointer missed as time expired.

Iowa State led for just 39 seconds on Thursday night, its first lead since a 4-3 advantage in the game's opening minutes coming on the game-winning basket with nine seconds to play.

After shooting 59.4 percent in the first half, Iowa shot just 36.4 percent in the second half. Uthoff followed up a 30-point first half with a 1-for-7 shooting effort in the second half, accounting for just two points.

The Cyclones actually out-shot the Hawkeyes on the game, 48.6 percent to 47.7 percent. Iowa State shot 50 percent in the second half and turned 13 Iowa turnovers into 32 points, holding sizable advantages in second-chance points (20-11) and points in the paint (42-28).

Uthoff's 32 points led all scorers, while Jok added 18 and Adam Woodbury scored 12. Iowa State had two players score 20 points in Morris and Jameel McKay and got a 19-point night from Matt Thomas, who hit six 3-pointers.

For Iowa, it was a huge missed opportunity at a signature non-conference win and the team's sixth loss to its in-state rival in the last seven meetings.

The Hawkeyes fell to 7-3 on the season with the loss and next play Drake on Dec. 19.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


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


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.