Big Ten

Hoosiers' defense struggles in upset loss to Wake Forest in Maui

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Hoosiers' defense struggles in upset loss to Wake Forest in Maui

The Hoosiers said before this season began that defense was going to be the most important thing. The Indiana defense is still obviously a work in progress.

Tom Crean's team — fresh off a No. 13 ranking in Monday's AP top 25 — kicked off its trip to Maui by allowing Wake Forest to shoot 51 percent from the field, falling to the Demon Deacons, 82-78, on Monday.

Wake had a monster first half, shooting 57.9 percent, going 5-for-9 from 3-point range and scoring 28 points in the paint to hold a five-point advantage at halftime.

But after the Deacons got the first bucket of the second half, the Hoosiers scored the next nine points to take a one-point lead. A few minutes later, with the game tied at 63, Indiana went off on another 9-0 run. Wake chipped that down to three points with three minutes to play, and a minute later, a Wake basket brought it to just a 77-76 edge for Indiana. Neither team scored for the next minute and a half, with the Hoosiers casting up some abysmal shots before the Deacons got a bucket and took a 78-77 lead.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Hoosiers gear right here]

Troy Williams was fouled on the ensuing possession, splitting a pair of free throws to just tie the game at 78 before a beautiful — and not well contested — drive and layup by Wake's Bryant Crawford gave the Deacs an 80-78 advantage with three seconds to play. Indiana couldn't erase that, and two more Wake free throws sent the Hoosiers to their first loss of the season.

Indiana shot just 40 percent in the second half, not able to put Wake away despite the Deacons putting up two scoreless stretches lasting four and a half minutes apiece in the final 20 minutes and finishing the game with eight missed free throws.

The Hoosiers missed 19 3-point attempts, were out-rebounded, 43-30, and were outscored in the paint, 52-32.

Williams was the high man for Indiana with 16 points, while Robert Johnson scored 14. Yogi Ferrell and Max Bielfeldt each had 11 points.

It's not a good loss for Crean, who, as always, is facing questions about his job security. Indiana is just a little more than a week away from a Big Ten/ACC Challenge showdown against No. 6 Duke.

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.