Big Ten

Zak Showalter drops 21 as Badgers pull away from Rutgers

zak-showalter-0102.png

Zak Showalter drops 21 as Badgers pull away from Rutgers

Wisconsin hasn’t found it easy to replace the production of departed stars Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, not to mention starters in Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson.

But it got production Saturday, coming from an unlikely source.

Zak Showalter scored 21 points for the Badgers, who despite leading by as few as four in the second half, pulled away from Rutgers for a 79-57 win in Madison.

Wisconsin had an 11-point lead at halftime, but Rutgers opened the second half on an 8-1 run to cut that lead to four. The lead was that small again with about 13 and a half minutes to play, but Showalter responded with a three-point play and hit a 3-pointer not long after to push the advantage back to double digits. It was part of a 20-7 run that allowed the Badgers to runaway with this one.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Badgers gear right here]

Wisconsin shot a scintillating 53.4 percent from the field, also crushing Rutgers — which shot just 39.7 percent — in the rebounding battle, 37-25.

Showalter’s 21 points were a career high, and he was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

Joining Showalter with big days were Ethan Happ, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Bronson Koenig, who scored 14 points.

Mike Williams scored 20 points to lead the Scarlet Knights, and Bishop Daniels scored 11 points.

Wisconsin got its first conference win of the season, the first Big Ten win for interim head coach Greg Gard. The Badgers are 9-6 on the season and 1-1 in league play. Next up is a Tuesday trip to Indiana.

Rutgers dropped to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Knights visit Maryland on Wednesday.

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.