Big Ten

Second-half run sends Huskers past Rutgers

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Second-half run sends Huskers past Rutgers

INDIANAPOLIS — It wasn't one of the more anticipated games of the Big Ten Tournament — that'll happen on Day 1 of a 14-team tournament — but Nebraska provided some second-half fireworks in its matchup with Rutgers.

The Huskers used a 17-2 run in the second half to blow past the Scarlet Knights, 89-72, on Wednesday night. The win sent Nebraska to a Day 2 showdown with No. 6-seed Wisconsin.

Nebraska was ahead by just four at halftime against a Rutgers team that won just once during the 18-game Big Ten regular season. The Huskers forced 11 first-half turnovers, but the Knights cancelled that damage out with 48.1-percent shooting over the first 20 minutes.

Rutgers actually tied the game not long into the second half, a Corey Sanders 3-pointer knotting the score at 43. But from there, Nebraska ran away and hid, using a 17-2 run to turn a tie game into a 15-point advantage. The Knights went almost six minutes without a made basket as the Huskers built their big lead, one that never again reached single digits and grew as big as 19 before game's end.

Nebraska shot 52.9 percent from the field over the game's final 20 minutes, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the second half. Shavon Shields scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, coming close to a second-half double-double with nine rebounds after halftime. Ed Morrow Jr. scored 10 second-half points in just seven minutes.

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The Huskers scored 27 points off 17 Knights turnovers on the game, also holding a massive 48-32 edge in points in the paint. Nebraska finished with a 47.1-percent shooting effort and scored 18 of their points via the fastbreak.

Shields' 20-point performance was his third such game in his last four since returning from a four-game injury absence. He was one of five Nebraska players in double figures. Tai Webster scored 18 points, Andrew White III scored 16 points, Michael Jacobson scored 14 points and Morrow had 10 points.

Mike Williams led Rutgers with his 14 points. Bishop Daniels scored 13 points, Omari Grier scored 12 points and Sanders added 10.

The Huskers' win snapped a five-game losing streak that ended the regular season. Their record sits at 15-17 overall and 7-12 against Big Ten opponents. Nebraska gets Wisconsin, which won 11 of its final 13 regular-season games, on Day 2 of the tournament Thursday.

The Knights' season came to an end with the loss, bottoming out with a 7-25 overall record and a 1-18 mark against Big Ten foes.

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.