Big Ten

Illini need second-half comeback, but rebound for win over NDSU


Illini need second-half comeback, but rebound for win over NDSU

It could have been the Illini's first 0-2 start since the 1920s.

But despite trailing by as many as 14 after halftime, Illinois used a second-half comeback to get its first win of the season, an 80-74 victory over North Dakota State on Sunday night in Springfield.

Mike Thorne Jr. was sensational for the second straight game, scoring 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds to lead the Illini. This after he scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the season-opening upset loss to North Florida.

Malcolm Hill scored 13 points, while Jalen Coleman-Lands had 15 and Maverick Morgan had 10 off the bench.

Down 11 at halftime, the Bison got a 3-pointer to open the second half to make it a 14-point advantage. Illinois responded, cutting the lead to five over the next few minutes before another NDSU spurt again made it a double-digit lead.

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But the Illini went on a 20-5 run over the next five and a half minutes, with Thorne scoring eight points during that stretch and walk-on Alex Austin adding five points. Thorne's layup with five and a half minutes to go gave Illinois its first lead since the game's opening basket.

After going down, 54-44, with 10 and a half minutes to play in the game, the Illini outscored the Bison, 36-20. Thirteen of Thorne's 21 points and nine of Hill's 13 points came during that span.

The Illini shot 49.1 percent from the field, aided by hot shooting in the second half of the second half. Illinois outscored NDSU, 52-35, in the final 20 minutes. The Illini were just 17-for-27 from the free-throw line, an ugly 63-percent mark.

The Bison started hot shooting the ball and finished with a 44.3-percent mark from the field. For the second straight game, the Illini allowed an opponent to hit double digit 3-pointers, as the Bison splashed in 11 shots from behind the 3-point line Sunday.

Illinois sits at 1-1 after two games in three days. Next up is a road trip to play Providence on Wednesday night.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.