Big Ten

Northwestern newcomers impress in exhibition win over Quincy

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Northwestern newcomers impress in exhibition win over Quincy

Preseason exhibition games aren’t worth anything when it comes to a team’s record, but they’re not useless. Far from it, as a matter of fact.

Northwestern played an exhibition contest against Quincy on Thursday night in Evanston, and while the 80-64 score was of little consequence, Chris Collins and his team will take plenty of lessons from the game.

“I thought tonight was an excellent exhibition game for us,” Collins said. “I thought it was really good to play that team because we saw some of the things we do really well, and we were exposed a little bit on the things we’ve got to get better at, which was good on both ends.

“Overall, it’s good to win, it’s good to get out there. We’ll have a great film to watch and see where we need to improve. We’ve got eight days till next Friday when this thing tips off for real.”

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It was the first action in purple and white for the Cats’ newcomers, and it was two of those newcomers — freshman Aaron Falzon and graduate transfer Joey van Zegeren — who perhaps had the most impressive nights. Falzon scored a team-high 15 points and went 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc. And the Virginia Tech import van Zegeren scored eight points, hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.

“Just his size is a difference-maker for us,” Collins said of van Zegeren. “I think you guys see his activity around the basket, being able to alter shots, block some shots. finish at the rim. To be able to bring him off the bench and sub Alex (Olah), it’s just a dimension we haven’t had. I thought he played well, and I think he’ll play a lot better the more he settles in.

“And Aaron, for the first time putting on a uniform to come out and get 15 points in 13 minutes, that’s pretty darn good. He can shoot the leather off the ball. It puts a lot of pressure on defenses when you have a guy like that who can put it in the basket. He’s a big part of what we’re going to do going forward, so it was great to see him go out there and have some success.”

Behind Falzon, veterans Tre Demps and Olah scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Vic Law made it four Cats in double figures with 10 points. Van Zegeren was the lone Northwestern player in double figures in rebounding, but Scottie Lindsey had a solid night across the statistical spectrum with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal and three made 3-pointers. Demps added six assists and five rebounds to his 13 points.

The Cats open the regular season on Nov. 13 against UMass Lowell.

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.