Malcolm Hill is primed for a big senior season at Illinois.
And he's off to one heck of a start, following up a 21-point output in the season-opening win over Southeast Missouri State with a 40-point explosion in Sunday night's 79-64 Illini win over Northern Kentucky.
Hill established a new career high with his 40-point night, besting by one the 39-point game he turned in last season against Penn State. It was the seventh 40-point game for an individual player in Illinois history, and only four times in program history has a player scored more in a single game.
Hill's efforts obviously led the way in this one, the senior accounting for more than half of his team's total points. Hill was 13-for-23 from the field, went 5-for-8 from 3-point range and shot 9-for-12 from the free-throw line. And just to add a little bit, he also registered a double-double with 12 rebounds.
The Illini hardly dominated the visiting Norse, losing the rebounding battle, 43-32, and making two fewer 3-point field goals. But Illinois capitalized on 18 Northern Kentucky turnovers, scoring 21 points off the giveaways. The Illini were also 20-for-30 from the free-throw line and shot 44 percent from the field compared to 37 percent for the Norse.
Hill was joined in double figures only by Michael Finke, who scored 10 points and also recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds. Hill and Finke accounted for more than 63 percent of Illinois' points and more than 71 percent of the team's rebounds.
Jaylon Tate had nine points, and Maverick Morgan scored eight points. Jalen Coleman-Lands continued his cold shooting in the season's early going, making just one of his six field-goal attempts and one of his five 3-point attempts.
The Illini got just seven points from their bench.
Illinois is 2-0 after its first two games of the season. Next up is a Tuesday game against McKendree.
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 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.