Big Ten

Northwestern needs OT, but tops DePaul for 10th win

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Northwestern needs OT, but tops DePaul for 10th win

Better late than never.

After some ugly shooting through 40 minutes Saturday, Northwestern forced overtime and caught fire in the extra period, outscoring DePaul 17-9 in OT and picking up its 10th win of the season, 78-70.

The Cats shot just 34.4 percent and scored only 29 points in the first half against a group of Blue Demons that came in with a 5-5 record. Thankfully for Northwestern, DePaul was just as unable to get much going offensively, scoring just 30 first-half points on 35.7-percent shooting.

And the second half didn't go much better for either side, with Northwestern shooting 36.7 percent from the field and DePaul shooting 34.5 percent. The Cats trailed most of the way, though never by more than seven. Down six with five minutes to go in regulation, Tre Demps hit a 3 to make it a one-possession game, two Alex Olah free throws brought the Cats within a point, and Sanjay Lumpkin's layup just inside of three minutes to play gave Northwestern its first lead of the second half. After a trio of DePaul free throws put the Demons up three under the two-minute mark, Bryant McIntosh got a layup and Lumpkin split a pair of free throws to tie the game. Both sides missed some go-ahead opportunities, leading to the extra period.

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Northwestern sprinted away in OT, an Aaron Falzon 3 putting the Cats in front, and they held that lead till the final buzzer. Falzon hit a pair of 3-pointers in OT, as the Cats made five of the seven shots they took in the final five minutes.

Northwestern ended up out-shooting DePaul, 39.1 percent to 34.8 percent, with the Cats going 18-for-21 from the free-throw line (compared to the 17-for-25 effort by DePaul) and only turning the ball over five times.

Demps finished with a team-high 18 points, also grabbing seven rebounds. Lumpkin and Olah each had 14 points and seven rebounds, and McIntosh finished with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

The win sent Northwestern to 10-1 on the season, one of just four Big Ten teams to reach double-digit wins at this point in the season. With just two games remaining in the non-conference season against Sacred Heart and Loyola (Md.), it's looking probable that the Cats will head into Big Ten play at 12-1.

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.