Big Ten

Michigan keeps marching on Washington with upset of top-seeded Purdue in Big Ten Tournament

Michigan keeps marching on Washington with upset of top-seeded Purdue in Big Ten Tournament

WASHINGTON — Michigan pushed its next flight back at least another day.

The Wolverines, the Big Ten Tournament's sentimental favorites after the flight nightmare they endured Wednesday afternoon, made it two wins in two days Friday, upsetting the top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers in a mighty entertaining 74-70 overtime decision at the Verizon Center.

Despite shooting just 33.3 percent after halftime, Michigan scored eight of overtime's 12 points and pulled off a big upset on the tournament's third day. The Wolverines clobbered Illinois the day before, and Friday's win made it eight wins in the team's last 10 games.

Purdue, meanwhile, entered the tournament as the favorite, the outright regular-season conference champion boasting the Big Ten Player of the Year in Caleb Swanigan. But the Boilers turned the ball over 15 times, surrendered 18 second-chance points and went just 6-for-13 from the free-throw line.

Both teams had their moments in a mighty entertaining first half. Unsurprisingly, Purdue flexed its size with Swanigan and Isaac Haas having big first halves. The duo combined for 21 points on 10-for-14 shooting. Michigan had its own big man do work, D.J. Wilson dropping 18 points in the opening 20 minutes on 8-for-11 shooting with a couple 3-pointers.

The Boilers shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the first half and used a 12-3 run to build a lead as big as nine with under five minutes till halftime. The Wolverines charged from there, though, going on a 15-2 run to storm back in front. That stretch featured 10 straight from Wilson. But it was Purdue that had the last laugh of the thrilling half with P.J. Thompson draining a buzzer-beating half-court heave to make it a one-point game at the break.

Both teams shot extremely well in the first 20 minutes. Purdue shot 59.3 percent from the field and got 17 points from its bench, while Michigan shot 53.8 percent with five made 3s and 10 second-chance points.

After that red-hot first half, the second half started chillily, with both teams struggling shooting the ball while the score stayed close.

Haas broke a 59-all tie with a dunk near the four-minute mark, but Wilson answered with just his second make of the second half to tie it the score at 61. Dakota Mathias, who was scoreless through the game's first 18 minutes, knocked down a massive tie-breaking triple with two minutes to go. Wilson answered with a bucket to cut it to a one-point game, and Michigan got a stop at the other end. But Zak Irvin's jumper was off the mark, and Carsen Edwards went coast to coast to give Purdue a three-point lead. Wilson split a pair of free throws before Thompson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the free-throw line, allowing Irvin to tie the game at 66 with a layup at the other end.

Purdue got a huge break immediately following that Irvin bucket, as Swanigan inbounded the ball right into the hands of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman right under the hoop. But clock issues forced a whistle, and the Boilers kept the ball. Edwards was blocked on a 3-point try, and the game spun into overtime.

Irvin made two layups in the extra period, with just one Swanigan free throw to counter for Purdue, giving Michigan a three-point lead in the final minute. Swanigan was hit with his fifth foul with 20 seconds to play, and Walton knocked down two free throws to give the Wolverines a five-point lead, enough to clinch a victory.

Wilson finished with a game-high 26 points, and Irvin, Walton and Abdur-Rahkman all joined him in double figures. Haas and Edwards led Purdue with 17 points apiece, and Swanigan had his 26th double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Michigan advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals with the win, where it'll face off against the winner of Friday's game between Minnesota and Michigan State. This was the second straight year the Wolverines knocked off the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.

Purdue, meanwhile, made a much earlier exit than anticipated and heads home to await its NCAA tournament fate.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


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


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.