Big Ten

Hoosiers roar back in second half to beat Notre Dame

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Hoosiers roar back in second half to beat Notre Dame

Indiana looked all kinds of awful in the first half Saturday afternoon, but a huge second half powered a comeback win over Notre Dame.

The Hoosiers shot 51.7 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes, and a defensive change by Tom Crean cooled off the Irish. Indiana erased a 16-point second-half deficit to earn a huge non-conference win by a final score of 80-73.

The Hoosiers looked dreadful on defense in the first half, a theme of the season for a team that doesn't have trouble scoring but has consistent trouble keeping opponents at bay. The Irish shot 53.1 percent in the first half, while the Hoosiers were cold, shooting just 35.3 percent from the field. Notre Dame used a 14-5 run to build an eight-point lead by the half's midway point, and only the Irish missing opportunities and a late spark by Thomas Bryant kept the halftime deficit at just 10. It certainly could've been much worse for Indiana.

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It was more of the same at the start of the second half, as the Irish ballooned the lead out to 16 in the half's opening minutes. But Crean switched the Hoosiers over to a 1-3-1 zone defense, significantly impacting the Irish's offensive capabilities. Indiana chipped away, and a big 13-4 run was capped by Yogi Ferrell's game-tying 3-pointer, knotting the score at 71 with a little more than four minutes to play.

Ferrell's 3 was actually the Hoosiers' final made basket of the game, but they did damage at the free-throw line in the game's final minutes, as the Irish missed free throws and turned the ball over. Indiana went 9-for-10 from the stripe over the final two minutes, 44 seconds. Notre Dame missed its last seven field-goal tries and a pair of free throws, going scoreless over the final two minutes, 55 seconds. The Hoosiers finished the game on a 17-2 run.

Troy Williams had a terrific game with 18 points, 16 of them coming in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Williams played the biggest role in Indiana's comeback, as the Hoosiers outscored the Irish by 17 over the final 20 minutes. Robert Johnson finished with 17 points, James Blackmon Jr. scored 11 and Bryant had 10.

Indiana improved to 9-3 with the win and wraps up non-conference play against Kennesaw State next week.

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.