Northwestern let a nine-point halftime lead slip away over the game's final 20 minutes but got the better of Virginia Tech in overtime to grab an 81-79 road win on Tuesday night.
The Cats shot 56.7 percent from the field in the first half, holding the Hokies to just 36.4-percent shooting and getting 13 points from Tre Demps in the opening 20 minutes.
Virginia Tech erased that deficit in the second half, though, shooting 48 percent from the field. The Hokies chipped away at the Cats' lead throughout the first half of the second half, tying the game at 58 with a little less than nine minutes to go. Northwestern went back out in front but held on to just a modest edge until Virginia Tech tied the game again at 73 with 55 seconds left in regulation. The game went to an extra period after neither side could convert go-ahead chances.
The Hokies got two buckets to build a four-point lead in overtime before Sanjay Lumpkin's 3-pointer sliced it back to a one-point deficit. Bryant McIntosh followed that up with a 3-pointer of his own to give the Cats the lead back before a Virginia Tech layup tied the game at 79. After a pair of missed shots by each team, McIntosh got an acrobatic layup to break the tie, and Northwestern played some stifling defense in the final seconds to keep Virginia Tech off the board and seal the victory.
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The Cats finished with a 47.8-percent shooting performance, holding the Hokies to just 40.9-percent shooting. The Cats made 10 3-pointers, though the Hokies made 18 free throws and held a rebounding advantage.
McIntosh finished as the high man for Northwestern, scoring 19 points, grabbing five rebounds, handing out four assists and coming away with three steals. Demps had 17, though he needed a lot of shots to do it, going just 8-for-21 from the field and just 1-for-9 from 3-point range. Lumpkin had 12 points and seven rebounds, while Nathan Taphorn had 11 points off the bench, hitting a trio of 3-pointers.
The Cats moved to 6-1 with the victory and next host SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday.
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.