Big Ten

Zak Showalter drops 21 as Badgers pull away from Rutgers


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.

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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.

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.