Big Ten

Northwestern cruises to win in obliteration of winless Rutgers

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Northwestern cruises to win in obliteration of winless Rutgers

Rutgers is not a good basketball team. In fact, Rutgers is so not-good a basketball team that even a squad that entered Saturday with losses in eight of its last 10 games managed to score nearly 100 points and set records in a massive blowout win.

Northwestern hit 17 3-pointers, a program record for a Big Ten game, and handed out a program-record 33 assists in a 98-59 crushing of Rutgers on Saturday afternoon in Evanston.

The Scarlet Knights lost for the 31st straight time in Big Ten play, falling to 0-16 in conference play this season with two regular-season games remaining. This after going 2-16 last year, their first as a member of the league.

The Cats dominated in every way imaginable, shooting 53.6 percent from the field on the day and splashing home 17 of the 28 3-point shots they took. Northwestern made more 3s (17) than Rutgers did baskets (16).

The Cats also scored 23 points off 12 Knights turnovers, won the rebounding battle by 20, 45-25, and scored 22 second-chance points. Northwestern got 39 points from its bench and 34 points in the paint compared to Rutgers' 25 and 16 points in those categories, respectively.

The Cats assisted on 33 of their 37 made field goals.

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Tre Demps had a huge day for Northwestern. The senior scored a game-high 24 points, going 8-for-13 from the field and 6-for-8 from 3-point range, also grabbing eight rebounds. He was one of five Cats in double figures. Alex Olah had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nathan Taphorn scored 13 points, hitting a trio of 3s. Aaron Falzon scored 12 points, all of them coming on a quartet of made triples. And Scottie Lindsey had 10 points, hitting a pair of 3s. Bryant McIntosh scored only six points but handed out a whopping 13 assists.

Rutgers shot just 34 percent from the field on the game, six of its 16 made shots coming from 3-point range. The Knights were 10-for-30 on 2-point attempts.

Rutgers was sunk from the start after scoring just 18 points in the first half. After 20 minutes had elapsed, Northwestern had built a massive 30-point edge.

Jonathan Laurent led the Knights with 17 points, scoring 11 of those from the free-throw line while going 3-for-12 from the field, and Omari Grier was also in double figures with 11 points.

After a five-game losing streak in the middle of Big Ten play, Northwestern has split its last six games. Saturday's win sent the Cats to 18-11 overall and 6-10 in the league. Northwestern has two regular-season contests remaining: Thursday against Penn State and next weekend against Nebraska.

Rutgers is a miserable 6-23 overall and 0-16 in the conference. Its final two regular-season games come against Michigan State on Wednesday and against Minnesota next weekend.

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.