Big Ten

Northwestern up to 9-1 after downing Mississippi Valley State

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Northwestern up to 9-1 after downing Mississippi Valley State

Ten games, nine wins. Not too shabby.

Alex Olah's double-double led Northwestern, which improved to 9-1 with a 78-48 win over Mississippi Valley State at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The Cats never trailed in this one, not creating much separation until an 11-2 run in the middle of the first half. That stretched the lead out to a half-high 14, and the lead was 10 at the break. The lead stayed about there for the first few minutes of the second half, but the Cats outscored the visiting Delta Devils 27-13 over an approximately 13-minute stretch, stretching a 10-point lead out to a 30-point lead, and that was the final margin. Eight different Cats scored during that 27-13 stretch, with three — Bryant McIntosh, Tre Demps and Nathan Taphorn — contributing at least five points in that span.

Northwestern held MVSU to just 29-percent shooting, the Devils making only two 3-pointers on the night. The Cats shot 43.3 percent from the field and grabbed 53 rebounds while winning that battle, also outscoring the Devils in the paint, 36-22.

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Olah led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds, notching his second double-double of the season. Olah also blocked three shots.

McIntosh, Demps and Aaron Falzon all also finished in double figures: McIntosh had 14 points, also handing out eight assists; Demps scored 13 points; and Falzon had 12, all coming off four made 3-pointers.

The Cats improved to 9-1 with the victory and remain one of just four Big Ten teams with one or fewer losses. The other three — Michigan State (11-0), Maryland (9-1) and Purdue (11-0) — were all ranked in the top 10 of this week's AP poll.

Northwestern has three non-conference games remaining before the start of Big Ten play. Next up is a "road trip" to play DePaul on Saturday in Rosemont.

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.