Big Ten

Tre Demps' hot streak pushes Northwestern past Illini


Tre Demps' hot streak pushes Northwestern past Illini

EVANSTON — A lightning-quick streak of instant offense made all the difference in the world for Northwestern on Saturday night.

Tre Demps rose to the occasion with four consecutive made 3-pointers in a crucial second-half stretch, sending the Wildcats to a lead they didn't relinquish in a 58-56 win over the visiting Illinois Fighting Illini at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

With eight minutes remaining in the game, Illinois led by four. But Demps absolutely caught fire, splashing home triples on four consecutive possessions to turn that 46-42 Illini lead into a 54-49 lead for the Cats with five and a half minutes to play. There wasn't much more offense from there, with a Maverick Morgan layup cutting the deficit to three and Scottie Lindsey and Malcolm Hill swapping pairs of made free throws.

Illinois fumbled away a few late chances, missing free throws, missing shots and turning the ball over on multiple occasions. One of those turnovers turned into a fastbreak layup for Demps to put the Cats ahead by five with a minute left, but Kendrick Nunn immediately answered with a 3 to make it a two-point game. The Illini had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds, with Hill first getting fouled, then not even getting a shot off when Illinois inbounded the ball with two seconds left.

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Prior to Demps' heroics, it was Lindsey doing damage for the Cats. He had a big game, scoring 18 points and hitting four 3-pointers. With the two teams trading buckets and leads in the early stages of the second half, Lindsey tied the game and then gave Northwestern a lead when he hit back-to-back 3s. That lead disappeared pretty quickly, though, with Demps earning it back later in the period.

Demps also finished with 18, the majority of that coming during that all-important stretch. He was just 6-for-15 from the field and 4-for-10 from 3-point range.

The Illini struggled mightily shooting the ball, shooting just 28.6 percent from the field in the first half. Despite that, they led at the break. In the end, Illinois posted a 36.8-percent shooting mark on the game. The Illini had 14 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds, winning the overall rebounding battle, 40-31.

Northwestern turned its fortunes around by taking better care of the ball in the second half. After turning it over 10 times in the first 20 minutes, the Cats coughed it up just twice in the final 20 minutes.

Nunn finished with a team-high 13 points for Illinois, Morgan and Jalen Coleman-Lands each adding 12. Coleman-Lands was the Illini's driving force early, and he finished with four made 3s. Hill had only seven points.

The win sent the Cats to 17-9 overall and 5-8 in the Big Ten. Next up is a Tuesday-night trip to Purdue.

The Illini dropped to 11-14 overall and 3-9 in the league with the loss, their fourth in the last five games and ninth in the last 12. Next up is a Tuesday-night game against Rutgers.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


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.