Big Ten

Purdue grabs 63 rebounds in win; will Rutgers go winless in B1G?

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Purdue grabs 63 rebounds in win; will Rutgers go winless in B1G?

Winning the game by 50 and winning the rebounding battle by 40. Those weren't necessarily unexpected outcomes when Purdue traveled to play Rutgers. But they're still darn impressive.

The Boilermakers are one of the Big Ten's best teams, and the Scarlet Knights are almost without a doubt the conference's worst. So this was setting up for this kind of beatdown.

Purdue set numerous school records with the 107-57 win. It was the biggest margin of victory in a Big Ten game in program history, breaking the previous high of 48 points, set against the University of Chicago in 1929. It was also the biggest margin of victory in a road game in program history, breaking the previous mark of 43, also coming against the University of Chicago in 1943.

Though the most impressive number of all might be the 63 rebounds the Boilermakers hauled in, the most in a single game since Matt Painter took over as head coach.

Five different players had at least eight rebounds. Caleb Swanigan led the way with 13, backup Jacquil Taylor — a reserve playing for the first time since Dec. 12 — had 10, A.J. Hammons and Johnny Hill each grabbed nine and Vince Edwards had eight.

And certainly scoring was easy, too, with the Boilers scoring 59 first-half points and shooting 54.8 percent over the first 20 minutes. When rebounds came on the offensive end — and 27 of them did — they often turned into more points, Purdue scoring 30 second-chance points.

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The Boilermakers made 11 3-pointers and went 18-for-24 from the free-throw line.

All around, a pretty good game.

So thanks to matchups with lesser competition, the Boilers are back on track with wins over Penn State and Rutgers since that upset loss at Illinois. Purdue is 16-3 overall and 4-2 in league play with a Thursday game against Ohio State next.

Rutgers, meanwhile, seems to be heading for a winless conference season. Of course, there's plenty of basketball left to be played, and one of the two Big Ten wins the Knights got last season was against eventual national runner-up Wisconsin. So nothing can be fully predicted. But Rutgers looks bad, losing six straight to open conference play, and after falling to Indiana by just seven in the league opener, the Knights haven't come closer than 22. Since winning three of its first four non-conference games, Rutgers is 3-12 in 15 games.

The last time a team went winless in Big Ten play? Northwestern did it in the 1999-2000 season, going 0-16 as part of a 5-25 overall finish. If Rutgers were to go winless this season, it'd be in an 18-game conference schedule.

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.