Northwestern let a 16-point second-half lead shrink all the way down to just three points, but the Cats still managed to pull out a 79-72 win over Fairfield on Wednesday night in Evanston.
Bryant McIntosh had a big night for the Cats, scoring 20 points — 14 coming in the second half — grabbing five rebounds, handing out five assists and picking up four steals to lead the win. Three other Northwestern players scored in double figures: Tre Demps had 14, Aaron Falzon had 13 and Alex Olah had 11 as the Cats improved to 2-0.
The Cats extended a 10-point halftime advantage to 16 a couple times, as late as 13 minutes to play. But Fairfield went on a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to bring it to just a three-point deficit, and that was the Northwestern lead as late as three and a half minutes to play.
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But McIntosh scored the next five points on a jumper, layup and free throw to push the lead back out to eight with just 52 seconds left. Northwestern hit five of six free-throw attempts from there to hold on for the win.
The Cats were out-rebounded, 41-33, and hit just seven of their 26 3-point attempts. That ugly night from beyond the arc included an 0-for-7 night for Demps.
But Northwestern outshot Fairfield and won the turnover battle, 14-7.
Next up for Northwestern is a date with Columbia at 7 p.m. on Friday.
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.