TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 1969
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 1968 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
i1Aa ii JAL, " A-
By BILL LEVIS
Fred Huiet and Don Wedge
could have been the deciding fac-
tor in the Michigan-Ohio State
basketball game last Saturday in
the Events Building.
Neither of them was a player.
Rather, they were the two of-
ficials who called 69 infractions
in the Wolverines' heartbreaking
95-92 loss. Messrs. Huiet and
Wedge whistled only four fewer
fouls than the conference record
73 , called against Purdue and
A! Illinois in 1952.
The 38 violations called against
Michigan, which included three
technical fouls, fell just three
short of the Big Ten record of 41
whistled against Michigan State
in the same year.
According to one of the officials
who didn't reveal his name, the
contest was one of the roughest
in years. Pausing for a breather
with about one minute left in the
contest, the referee stated, 'If we
were calling the game close there
would be about 20 more fouls in
the game. We should be playing by
the kitchen cynic
Snatching Defeat From1
The Jaws ie Victory
Somebody once said that nice guys finish last. Sometimes they do.!
Sometimes they also finish first. David H. Strack is a nice guy
who does both, handily. In seven years as head basketball coach at
Michigan he has finished first three times and last twice. Few coaches,;
in any-sport, in any league have ever had such splendid successes-
and such devastating failures in so short a span of -time.
When the Big Ten was the toughest, ruggedest conference in
the nation, every team laden with its own supply of supergreats
like the Van Arsdales, Lou Hudson, and Dave Schellhase, Strack
calmly guided his Wolverines to three straight conference cham-
The very next year, 1966-67 with Big Ten talent as scarce as
Peace Corps volunteers in Vietnam, Strack who probably had more
th1an his share of talent in uniform, finished dead last, three games
out of ninth and riding the convex crest of an eight game losing
streak that hasn't, ended yet.1
During the' winning Cazzie years Strack contributed to the1
Michigan psyche a new definition of basketball based on excite-
ment, glory, awesome power, and a little bit of glamerous luck.
He defined basketball as a sport of the majestic winner, the dunk
shot boys who could do no wrong.
Last Saturday in the events building Strack and his cagers created;
a new portrait of Michigan basketball, a portrait commingly heroism,
bitterness, stamina and a touch of genuine tragedy; a portrait based
on defeat and filled with irony because of its humanizing effects on
the generally spoiled fickle Michigan fans.
In the rare moments when Strack's last placers were victorious
last year, the fans were never behind them so much as last Saturday
during the holocaust with Ohio State. It may be ironic also that fans
who would barely be interested in a more consistently mediocre team
may have fally genuinely in love with a team that can lose to a rival
by 33 points one week, and come back and make them look sick the
Michigan lost to Ohio State last Saturday 95-92. It was their
12th consecutive Big Ten loss, most likely a school record..
But in no less than six of those 12 games, Michigan has lost by
three or less points and in four of those six games the Wolverines have
led for at least five minutes of 'the second half. This year they have
already done it three times-against Michigan State, Wisconsin, and
Ohio State. Last year they did it twice in the last three weeks of the
conference race against eventual champion Indiana. In two games
Indiana outscored Michigan by just eight points. Yet Indiana had a
10-4 record and Michigan was 2-12.
Saturday they again fell just short, but in a sense they trans-
cended their own failure. They might have lost the game, but
there wasn't an inch of doubt that they were the best team on the
court. The shrill tone of the officials' whistles combined with all
of the rotten'luck possible in a forty minute span left them semi-I
helpless in spite of their fine play.
But as semi-helpless victims of fate, Dennis Stewart, Jim Pitts,
Ken Maxey, Rudy Tomianovich, Bob Sullivan, Dave McClellan and
their fellows attained a dignity
rarely achieved in a team that has
a 12 game losing streak.;
There was blood on Pitt's jersey'
at the end of the game. He was
angry at himself for his failure at
the foul line and angrily frustrated
by the horrendous buffoons in the
striped shirts. He didn't give up
though and he was as impressive ,,
in defeat as-I have ever seen any- i
one in victory. Pitts has started
4 in losing efforts before,' but his u
stardom took on an aura of mai
tyrdom Saturday. AV'T.
Stewart, the enigma, finally be- DAVE STRACK
came Stewart the entity. At last Michigan fans got to see all of the
grace and unused potential leashed in a constructive effort. And
Stewart himself sort of grew up in the game, I think. Perhaps the
technical foul showed once and for all that he does care, and that he
is human. He still made one silly pass, one of his lackadaisacal passes
and it hurt. But for once I think it hurt Stewart himself, because I
have a hunch he wanted to win that game more than he has wanted
to win one for a long time. I doubt if he'll throw another lackadaisacal
pass this season.
The others too participated in the loss, like they have never
participated in a victory. The team to a man finally stopped work-
ing against themselves because there was finally something that
they oould unite to work against. They hadn't had a decent
break in their last dozen Big Ten games and they were tired of it;
tired to the extent that they decided to fight hard, real hard for
what they deserved, namely a long sought victory.
This all may sound a bit too poetic. There are still people around
who would describe the Michigan team as a bunch of losers-three
coaches and 15 players-all losers from the word go. I think they're
wrong. I think this is a last place team with no where to go but up
and I think they finally realize it.
I've watched the players on this team lose time and again and not
know how to stop it, in some cases not even care. Now they see that
regardless of then individuality whatever is left for them to achieve
for themselves, they must salvage as a team, not as individuals, even
as they were beaten as a team Saturday.
Teams that lose games like Michigan lost Saturday either fall
aart totally or find themselves. There isn't any in-between.
Tired of the slush and crush? Consider New Mexico State
University for graduate work. The NMSU Department of
Upset by Calls
football rules. Then we could call the players to settle them down,"
clipping." assistant : coach John Orr said,
Michigan Coach Dave Strack but instead one of the referees
was appalled by the referee's called a technical against Michi-
comments. "I couldn't agree with gan.
his statements. And I don't think Again no profanity was involved
those are comments an official and no warning was given, ac-
should make." cording to Strack. And Orr added,
When asked if the fact that the "a player is supposed to raise
game was on television precitipat- his hand when he thinks a foul
ed the quick whistles of the refs, is call "The officials should realize how
the official, trying to appear quite hard the kids are playing," be-
innocent, r e p 1 i e d sarcasticly,'hadtrckd
Television? I didn't know this
game was televised. Anyway, tele- 'Kill the Refs'
vision would make no difference." The partisan crowd, which had
But something made a differ- been riding the refs all afternoon,
ence. The officials started the really tore into them at this point.
game off by calling infractions at They began yelling "Kill the Refs"
a rapid rate. The players, notice- and started throwing debris and
ably upset, began to get annoyed pennies onto the playing surface.
and so were the Michigan coaches. While this type of behavior is
Asked if the quick whistles considered rare at Michigan, it
changed the complexion of the happens at other Big Ten schools,
game, Strack, obviously heart- according to Strack.
b r o k e n by Michigan's 12th "We're almost bombarded in
straight Big Ten loss over two some places, yet I have never,
seasons, remarked, "I'm not blam- seen a technical foul called on
ing them for the loss but the of- the crowd before in my 20 years."
ficiating might have changed the "You should see what they do
way the game was played." at Indiana," said Orr.
Not Second Guess I Still, a technical foul was called
Strack, however, said "I wouldn't on the crowd.
second guess any of the personal your tn they a payed
infraction calls because they are ther eam when they have playe d
judgment decisions. The refs have s withtheso laentedhcrok
to try and see the game impart- - Otem did tebestrthe
ially; and, you must remember, could for their teammates athey
it's a tough thing to call fouls. the school.
"My only criticism is with the Gave All
technical fouls. I'd like to know " asked them to do things
what the refs were thinking when "Ikdthemd' do ad ths di
they called them."e old' oad hydd
The Wolverines were called three them. Maxey and Jim Pitts (who
times for unsportsman-like con- lost 10 pounds in the game) ap-
duct. "This was the first time in plied the full court press for 40
my eight years at Michigan we minutes." Yet the technical was
had a technical foul called on our whistled.
bench in a Big Ten game," said "There were 24 seconds left in
the coach. the game, we were down three
And in Saturday's game, Michi- points and a controversial block-
gan was whistled down for three.jing call (Pitts' fifth) had been
The first technical was called called on us. Then they called
against guard Mark Henry for a technical on the crowd. What
slamming a towel on the bench were the refs thinking?" asked
in the first half. Strack protested Sthack.
this infractions and subsequent "WtatwI'm complaningabout
fouls because "with Big Ten of- is that with a technical foul, the
ficials, we're supposed to get a opposing team not only gets a
warning before a technical is foul shot but also the ball. The
called. I don't think we got anystatistics show that possession of
warning Saturday. the ball is worth more than a
By DIANA ROMANCHUK
Three weeks ago at home, the
Wolverine icers took a close two-
game series from a dazzled Min-
Last weekend, the Wolverines
traveled to Minneapolis and sur-
prised the Gophers twice more.
Both games were close, 5-4 and
7-4 respectively. In fact, Min-
nesota took early leads both
nights, at 0:13 of the first period
Friday, and 0:44 and 1:41 on
Saturday. Michigan, however,
came back to tie and finally forge
"Both teams were evenly match-
ed," reflected Wolverine Coach Al
Renfrew. "but we got the breaks."
While comparing the road games
to the first game with the Goph-
ers, he observed: "Minnesota
started out strong each time, but
we picked up as the game went
on, and finally took command.
Actually, it was the defense
which 'took command' last week-
At three different times-twice
on Friday, and once on Saturday
-solid defensive efforts helped
Michigan hold onto a tenuous
one-goal lead as Minnesota had
a two-man advantage and failed
"Having an opportunity like that
and not being able to score can
take the heart out of a team,"
The chief penalty-killer was
sophomore forward Dave Perrin, a
doubtful starter for the series dueE
to an injured back. Perrin played
both games with an ice pack on
his back to relieve the pain. Ren-
frew praised his efforts and add-
ed, "Dave's courage and desire to
to play inspired the rest of the
One interesting feature of the
first game was the hat trick by
a defenseman. Paul Domm. Ren-
frew explained how it was pos-
"In the kind of game we play
we keep our defensemen in there
TWIN ROAD WINS:
Icer Defense Foils Minnesota
close, so they get a lot of shins
at the net. The boys were screen-
ing more shots last weekend, and
some of them were getting by
McLachlan (Minnesota's goalie)."
Renfrew was extremely pleased
with the hard play his boys have
displayed in the last few weeks.
As a result of the past weekend,
the Wolverines now reside in
fourth place in the WCHA -
but there are still 10 league games
State was able to score after tak-
ing the ball out of bounds with
less than 20 seconds left. Ther
Wolverines scored to bring it with-
in two but it was too late as
the clock ran out before the Buck-
eyes had to take the ball out of
While Strack would not un-
equivocally chastise the officia-
ting, he had one last telling com-
ment. "Good officials are ones you
don't observe. The crowd sure saw
i :} ":
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' I could understand an auto-
matic technical being called if
profanity was used but the official
came over and told me that none
was involved," an adamant Strack
The second technical was called
against Dennis Stewart in the
hectic second half after the junior
forward, thinking a personal foul
had been called against him, raised,
his hand and slammed it down in
disgust. The foul was actually
on Ken Maxey but Stewart, emo-,
tionally drained by the tightness,
of the game, lost his composure.
"A good official would kid with1
point on the scoreboard.
While forward Dave Sorenson
missed on the foul shot, Ohio
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New Orleans 115, Houston 105
Minnesota 116, New Jersey 110
Houston 108, Fairfield 76
Cornell.76, Ohio State 64
Purdue 105, Northern Mich. 79
Georgia 95, Alabama 73
Kentucky 85, Mississippi 76
Florida 65, Auburn 60
Tennessee 65, Mississippi St. 57
Oklahoma 73, Kansas St. 62
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