Big Ten

Spartans halt Badgers' winning streak with convincing win

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Spartans halt Badgers' winning streak with convincing win

It could've been guessed that with road games at Maryland, Michigan State and Iowa, Wisconsin's winning streak was fragile, to say the least.

It came to a crashing halt Thursday night in East Lansing, as the Spartans showed why, despite their not sitting atop the conference standings, they're a national-title contender, beating the Badgers, 69-57.

Michigan State had this one locked up from the start, as Wisconsin had a miserable first half offensively, scoring just 23 points and shooting 25 percent from the field over the game's opening 20 minutes. The Badgers were just 7-for-28 from the field and 2-for-9 from 3-point range. Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig combined to shoot just 2-for-12 from the field in the first half. Meanwhile, the Spartans shot well, 46.4 percent from the field the final number at halftime after they shot 50 percent or better for much of the first half. Michigan State opened the game on a 14-3 run, and the first-half edge grew as big as 16 as the shots just weren't falling for Wisconsin.

The Badgers shot better after halftime, 41.9 percent, and actually outscored the Spartans, 37-34, over the final 20 minutes. But the damage was well done by then. Michigan State's lead grew as big as 22 in the second half.

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The Spartans finished with a 46.4-percent shooting mark, much better than the Badgers' final 33.9-percent mark. Michigan State also held edges in rebounding (38-31) and fastbreak points (13-2).

Denzel Valentine had another big game as he continues to boost his candidacy for national player of the year honors. He finished with a game-high 24 points and recorded a double-double — his eight of the season — with 10 assists, coming three rebounds shy of another triple-double. Bryn Forbes scored 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Eron Harris finished with 10 points.

Ethan Happ had a team-high 18 points for Wisconsin, and Koenig finished with 12, making a trio of 3s. Hayes finished with just five points, going 1-for-13 from the field.

The win vaulted Michigan State into a four-way tie for fourth place in the ever-changing Big Ten standings, sharing a 9-5 conference mark with Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue. Sitting at 22-5 overall, the Spartans next travel to take on Ohio State next week.

The streak-snapping loss sent the Badgers to 16-10 overall and 8-5 in the league. Next up is a Sunday game against Illinois.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.