Big Ten

Malcolm Hill scores 34 points in Illini win over South Dakota

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Malcolm Hill scores 34 points in Illini win over South Dakota

If the Illini are going to overcome its rash of injuries and make a run at an NCAA tournament bid, they'll need Malcolm Hill to have more games like he did Saturday.

The junior scored a career-high 34 points to lead Illinois past South Dakota, 91-79. It was the highest-scoring game of the season for the team, the second straight game in which the Illini have set a new season high in points.

Illinois scored 55 points in the first half, holding a 19-point lead at the break after shooting 59.4 percent from the field. South Dakota cut into that lead a bit with a 43-point second half, but the Illini still led by double digits for most of the final 20 minutes, though what was a 20-point lead briefly shrunk as small as six in the final minutes.

The Illini shot 48.4 percent from the field on the day and made 14 3-pointers, also a new season high.

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Hill's big scoring output was just part of his big day. He recorded a double-double by adding 11 rebounds to his 34 points, also handing out five assists, blocking three shots and coming away with a pair of steals. He made four 3-pointers on the game and scored 10 of his points from the free-throw line.

Three other Illini scored in double figures: Jalen Coleman-Lands had 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers; Michael Finke had 13 points, adding seven rebounds; and Kendrick Nunn scored 10 points, though he had a rough shooting day, going 4-for-12 from the floor and 2-for-7 from 3.

Illinois improved to 7-5 with the win. There's just one game remaining on the non-conference schedule, the annual Braggin' Rights game against Missouri, which comes Wednesday.

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.