Big Ten

Spartans blown away in second half in loss to Baylor

tom-izzo-1124.jpg
USA TODAY

Spartans blown away in second half in loss to Baylor

Michigan State was cooking early on Thanksgiving, but by the time the second half rolled around, the effects of all the basketball tryptophan had taken hold.

The Spartans held a double-digit lead in the first half, but that was sliced down to three by halftime. And the Bears ran away with things in a monster second half, Tom Izzo's crew getting outscored, 43-25, after halftime en route to a 73-58 loss at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Michigan State shot 48 percent from the field in the first half but was ice cold after halftime, shooting just 38.5 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes.

Baylor turned the game completely around after Michigan State took a 28-18 lead in the first half, finishing the first half on a 12-5 run and opening the second half on a 20-8 run, altogether a 32-13 scoring edge that turned a 10-point Spartans lead into a 12-point Bears lead. That advantage continued to grow as Baylor dominated the second half, bulging all the way to 20 with under three minutes to play before Michigan State scored the final five points of the game.

The Bears ended up shooting 46.9 percent from the field on the game. They doubled up the Spartans in the paint, outscoring them there 44-22 and owning a 14-4 edge on second-chance points. Michigan State made six 3-pointers in the first half to help build its lead but only made one after halftime.

Only Miles Bridges scored in double figures for the Spartans, finishing with 15 points. Eron Harris was an ugly 1-for-9 from the field and ended with three points.

Johnathan Motley had a game-high 26 points for Baylor, doing incredible damage in the first half with 20 points before the break.

Michigan State now has three losses in six games this season, all coming against ranked competition. The Spartans get another ranked foe next, going up against No. 6 Duke on Tuesday.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.