Big Ten

Northwestern uses big second half to win season-opener

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Northwestern uses big second half to win season-opener

Northwestern trailed at halftime but outscored UMass Lowell by 24 in the second half for a 79-57 season-opening win Friday night in Evanston.

Both senior big man Alex Olah and freshman guard Aaron Falzon scored 20-plus points in the victory. Olah had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Falzon scored 20 points, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range in the first game of his collegiate career.

Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps also scored in double figures for the Cats, McIntosh scoring 12 points and handing out eight assists and Demps scoring 10 points.

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Northwestern shot 45.3 percent from the field while holding UMass Lowell to 32.1-percent shooting.

The Cats made just one of their 13 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, shooting 34.3 percent from the field in the first half. But they found their touch after halftime, shooting 58.6 percent in the second half including 8-for-16 from 3-point range.

Northwestern only turned the ball over six times, while UMass Lowell had 12 turnovers. The Cats held a 38-14 scoring advantage in the paint.

The Cats next face Fairfield on Wednesday.

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.