It took a second-half surge and an extra period, but Northwestern was able to come back and beat Columbia on Friday night in Evanston.
Trailing by as many as 12 in the second half, the Cats were still down eight with three and a half minutes to play and chipped away from there. A Bryant McIntosh bucket and an Aaron Falzon 3-pointer made it a three-point game, but the gap accordioned out to six shortly there after. A Tre Demps layup and a Gavin Skelly dunk cut it to a two-point game, and McIntosh capped that six-point stretch with a game-tying bucket with 40 seconds left. Missed shots scattered the final half minute, forcing overtime.
All but three of the points from both teams in overtime came on free throws, Northwestern hitting four and Columbia hitting six. The difference was a Demps 3-pointer with a minute to play that extended a then-one-point lead to four. A McIntosh basket again made it a four-point lead, and the Cats held on for the comeback win to move to 3-0.
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Northwestern shot a terrific 52.5 percent from the field — including 62.1 percent in the second half — and made 13 3-pointers on the evening. McIntosh hit five of those triples, with Demps hitting four. The guard combo combined for 54 points, with McIntosh accounting for a career-high 32. The two combined for 12 assists and hardly came off the floor, with Demps playing all 45 minutes and McIntosh playing 41.
Alex Olah had eight points and seven rebounds, while Nathan Taphorn had six points, four rebounds, two assists and hit a pair of 3-pointers.
Next up is the Cats' stiffest non-conference challenge of the season, a date with No. 1 North Carolina on Monday night in Kansas City, Mo.
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.