Big Ten

Nigel Hayes, Badgers put an end to Hoosiers' winning streak


Nigel Hayes, Badgers put an end to Hoosiers' winning streak

And then there was one.

Only Iowa remains with an undefeated record in Big Ten play after Indiana fell at Wisconsin, 82-79, in overtime on Tuesday night. The Hoosiers' 12-game winning streak came to an end as the Badgers continued their decades-old dominance over the Hoosiers in Madison. Indiana's last win at Wisconsin came in 1998.

The Badgers hot 52.1 percent from the field on the night, with Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ teaming for a monstrous chunk of the scoring. Hayes had 31 points, going a stunning 17-for-22 from the free-throw line, while Happ was 10-for-15 from the field for 25 points.

The combined efforts of the two Wisconsin big men overshadowed a sensational performance by Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell, who poured in 30 points, grabbing seven rebounds and going 5-for-6 from 3-point range.

Indiana led for the majority of the first half until a 16-5 Wisconsin run turned a three-point deficit into an eight-point lead, the Badgers capitalizing on a nearly five-minute stretch during which the Hoosiers scored just five points. But Indiana scored seven points in the first half's final minute to turn that eight-point gap into just a one-point deficit at the break.

Wisconsin's lead remained for the opening six-plus minutes of the second half, but six straight points from Troy Williams earned Indiana a small lead, one that was soon erased. Things went back and forth between modest Badger leads and a tie game, Wisconsin creating a distance no greater than six through the middle of the second half. A Happ layup right around the four-minute mark gave the Badgers their last six-point edge before a Robert Johnson layup and a Collin Hartman 3 brought the Hoosiers within a point. Jordan Hill's layup was followed by a Max Bielfeldt layup and a Ferrell triple that put Indiana ahead, 69-67, with a little more than a minute remaining in regulation. Hayes answered with a pair of free throws, and Ferrell responded again with a go-ahead bucket with 23 seconds left. But Hayes hit two more free throws to tie the game at 71 and force overtime.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Badgers gear right here]

The Badgers never trailed in the extra period, scoring three quick points to build a lead the Hoosiers never completely erased despite coming within a point on multiple occasions. Hayes made six more free throws in OT to hold off Indiana.

Wisconsin made just four 3-pointers, was beat on the boards and turned the ball over 16 times, but thanks to a steady never-ending march to the free-throw line, the Badgers came out on top. Wisconsin went 28-for-37 from the charity stripe, compared to a 16-for-18 night from the line for Indiana. The Hoosiers also had turnover problems, turning it over 19 times. The teams scored a combined 40 points off turnovers.

Hayes' 31 points were one off his season- and career-high 32 points scored earlier this season in a loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Happ's 25 points were a new season and career high. He's scored at least 20 points in each of his last two games. Hill added 13 points, the most in his career.

Ferrell hit the 30-point plateau for the second time this season, hitting 12 of the 20 shots he took. Thomas Bryant and Williams were also in double figures with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The loss brought an end to a 12-game Indiana winning streak that dated back to early December as well as the Hoosiers' undefeated start to conference play. Indiana sits at 17-4 overall and 7-1 in the league. The loss to Wisconsin ought to add ammo to the argument of those criticizing the Hoosiers' strong Big Ten start for a weak schedule. Next up is a game against Minnesota on Saturday.

The win sent Wisconsin to 12-9 overall and 4-4 in conference play. It was the Badgers' third straight win. Next up is a Sunday trip to take on Illinois.

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.