Big Ten

Nigel Hayes scores 17 as Wisconsin beats Illinois

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Nigel Hayes scores 17 as Wisconsin beats Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Nigel Hayes scored 17 points, Bronson Koenig added 11 and Wisconsin beat Illinois 63-55 on Sunday night for the Badgers’ fourth straight victory.

Wisconsin (13-9, 5-4 Big Ten) fell behind the Illini (10-12, 2-7) early but took its first lead at 23-22 on a dunk by Khalil Iverson with 4:56 left in the first half and never trailed again. Iverson finished with a career-high 10 points.

The Illini closed to within 55-50 with 1:02 to play on a 3-pointer by Kendrick Nunn. But Hayes hit six free throws in the last minute to ice the game.

Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 22 points.

Starting Illini forward Michael Finke left the game with an apparent knee injury in the second half after a collision with Hayes. Nunn also struggled after a collision, leaving for the locker room during the second half but returning late.

Illinois coach John Groce said in a postgame radio interview that he believed neither injury was serious but that Finke would have an MRI.

Illinois went up 18-10 midway through the first half on a jump shot by Hill. But the Badgers responded with a 15-4 run to go up 25-22.

The Badgers only hit two 3-pointers on the night, going 2 for 14, but they went 17 for 20 at the free throw line — all of them in the second half — and scored 22 points in the paint against an out-manned Illinois. The Illini scored just eight points inside.

Illinois has now lost seven of its last nine.

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.