Big Ten

Terps make frantic comeback, but Purdue pulls out big win

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Terps make frantic comeback, but Purdue pulls out big win

Thanks to a massive rebounding edge, Purdue held a decent scoring advantage throughout much of Saturday's game against Maryland.

But then the Terps turned on the press.

A late introduction of the full-court press tied the Boilermakers in knots, as the Terps — who had just gone down 10 when A.J. Hammons hit a 3 with about four minutes to play — forced five turnovers in a minute and a half to turn that 10-point deficit into a 76-all tie in a blink. It was a 12-2 run that in an instant switched what looked like a secure Purdue win into a complete tossup with two minutes to play.

But from there, Hammons hit a free throw, and then Dakota Mathias took the ball away from Diamond Stone, leading to a Johnny Hill layup, making it a three-point game. After Melo Trimble split a pair of free throws, Maryland forced the missed shot it needed, but Johnny Hill came up with a massive offensive rebound — perhaps the most important of a whopping 19 offensive boards for Purdue — and a fouled Rapheal Davis hit two free throws. Trimble hit two more free throws, but once Vince Edwards hit two of his own to make it a four-point game with a handful of seconds left, it was a done deal, the Boilers pulling out an 83-79 win in West Lafayette.

The Terps ended up scoring 22 points off 15 Boiler turnovers, but it was one of the few stat categories where Maryland had an advantage. Purdue destroyed on the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 41-22, with those 19 offensive rebounds turning into 24 second-chance points. After shooting a terrific 57.6 percent from the field in the first half, the Boilers still finished above 50 percent, shooting 51.7 percent on the game.

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Hammons led the way for the Boilers with 19 points. Mathias was huge off the bench, scoring 17 points, 12 of those coming in the first half. That scoring output matched a season high for Mathias. Edwards and Davis each finished with 11 points, and Caleb Swanigan had 10 points.

Trimble scored a team-high 19 points for the Terps. Stone added 18 points, Jake Layman scored 15 points and Jared Nickens had 10, hitting a trio of 3-pointers.

It was a huge win for No. 20 Purdue, which knocked off its second top-10 opponent since its last meeting with Maryland, a 72-61 win for the Terps in College Park. The Boilers improved to 22-7 overall and 10-6 in the Big Ten with Saturday's win. There are two regular-season games remaining: against Nebraska on Tuesday and against Wisconsin next weekend.

Maryland, with its fifth conference loss, saw its Big Ten regular-season title hopes fade out of view, as those honors will now come down to Indiana and Iowa. The Terps have now lost three of their last four and fell to 23-6 overall and 11-5 in the conference with Saturday's loss. Maryland's two final regular-season games come Thursday against Illinois and next weekend against Indiana.

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.