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December 11, 1979 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

full court
Hard working cagers...
.. ewell rewarded
OGETHERNESS. Enthusiastic, Assiduous. Motivated. Well-coached.
Organized. Receptive, Knowledgeable. In short, Michigan's early suc-
cess can be spelled out in one word.
It was never more apparent than in the Wolverines' 63-60 come-from-
behind upset victory over Marquette Saturday night in Milwaukee. Michigan
should never have won that game = but it certainly deserved it.
Beat Marquette? On the road? This year? Absurd. Unthinkable.
The Warriors in 29 years at the Milwaukee Arena, had lost only 73
games. They'd won 303. And since the 1965-66 season when former coach Al
McGuire really got things cooking, Marquette's home record had been 197-19
including six undefeated seasons.
For anyone to beat Marquette in Milwaukee Arena is a major accom-
plishment. Even more so by a team picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten.
Surely the Warriors have more talented individuals on their club, right?
That's why they were ranked 16th in the nation last week.
But individuals don't win ballgames - teams do. And Saturday night at
least, Michigan was the superior team.
That's what it took to beat Marquette and that's what it'll take to com-
pete in the Big Ten.
Everyone contributed - verbally if not physically. From Thad Garner's
game high 19 points and eight rebounds to a bit of encouragement from the
twelfth man on the bench.
Added satisfaction
As a senior sportswriter, I've seen a good share of Michigan basketball
teams. And though I've thoroughly enjoyed watching previous Wolverine
teams roll up impressive victories against lesser opponents, I get greater
satisfaction watching this year's team.
Maybe it's because this year's team wasn't supposed to win consistently,
while previous teams were. In recent years, it was a major letdown if
Michigan didn't cruise to victory, for they were supposed to. They were
more talented'. They were ranked nationally.
So when a 'lowly' Michigan team upsets a nationally ranked Marquette
squad on the Warriors own court, victory tastes that much sweeter.
Particularly in the manner they win. Not on pure talent, but by scrap-
ping. Diving for loose balls. Hitting the open man.
There's a sense of togetherness on this year's team, more so than in
recent years. Everyone's pulling together. Nobody is out for himself - so
important for a relatively young Big Ten team.
Many fans still say Mike McGee is a "one-man-team" - that he's a ball
hog. Nothing is further from the truth. Granted, the 6-5 junior forward takes
lis share of shots, 71 in four games (Garner is next with 32) but that's his job.
de's one of the nation's premier offensive forwards. Furthermore, the
lebraska native has hit on 43 of his field goal attempts for an impressive 61
per cent clip.
And he plays both ends of the court. Aside from his 26-point average,
McGee rebounds, steals, and passes off with great consistency,,as do his
inspired leadership
But the greatest surprise thus far must be the assiduous and enthusiastic
efforts of sophomores Keith Smith and Garner. Each provides leadership
lacking in Michigan's basketball program since the days of Ricky Green,
;teve Groge and Wayman Britt.
x, Each offeys encouragement to 'get it going'. When the chips are down,
.Sjnith and darner are there for some skin slapping and an encouraging
And didn't Michigan need it against Marquette in the second half.
Everything was going the Warriors' way, as it usually does in the Milwaukee
;Michigan trailed, 52-39, with 10 minutes and 57 seconds left.
McGee, averaging 29 points before the game had missed eight minutes
of the first half with three fouls and much of the second half with four.
Marquette had an emotional sellout crowd (remember them?)
screaming the Warriors on to what surely looked to be their third-straight
The Wolverines were, eh, gluttons for punishment.
But then it happened. Coach Johnny Orr made the bold move which tur-
ned everything around. He switched Michigan from a zone defense to man-
Traditionally, suicide against the usual fleet-footed Marquette Warriors.
As it turned out, a good coaching maneuver.
For years, the tout sheet on beating Marquette has been to play a zone
and hope for the best. The Warriors are just too quick for most teams to han-
dle man-to-man.
But not for Michigan. Not Saturday night. For the last 10 minutes, the
Wolverines played nearly flawless basketball. For seven straight minutes,
Michigan held Marquette to a single point.

Eight times Marquette brought the ball up the court. Eight times they
retreated without a basket.
Michigan, meanwhile; dropped in 13 unanswered points, four each by
Marty Bodnar and Smith and five by Garner - two on a slam dunk following
a steal.
Leading 58-54 with 3:47 to play, Michigan toyed with Marquette the rest
of the way. A convincing victory over a national power.
Marquette fans were stunned. Speechless. How can an unranked
Michigan team beat our Warriors? At home? After trailing by 13 points with
only eleven minutes to play?

The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 11, 1979-Page 11

Wilted roses, but potential's there

First in a two-part series
Michigan's long and winding road
will soon be over, when the Wolverines
close out the 1979 football season again-
st the North Carolina Tar Heels in the
Gator Bowl on December 28 (9 p.m.
It was a season of ups and downs,
surprises and disappointments for the
Wolverines. Further, it was the first
time that a Bo Schembechler coached
Michigan team suffered more than two
losses (three in all) and finished worse
than second place in the Big Ten con-
ference (third place).
THE TRIP began with a typical win
over Northwestern for Michigan. But
travel plans altered suddenly when the
Wolverines were handed a stunning
defeat by Notre Dame.
Getting back on track, Michigan
easily 'beat Kansas before getting a
scare from California out on the West
Coast. The Blue hung on however, and
regrouped to soundly defeat'Michigan
State in East Lansing.
During the subsequent four conferen-
ce games, Michigan notched wins over
Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and
Wisconsin respectively. And who will
ever forget Indiana? The Maize and
Blue homecoming crowd was treated to
the ultimate in excitement when the
Wolverines produced a closing minute
miracle against the Hoosiers.
Thus with only one loss, a non-
conference one at that, the Wolverines
entered the last two games of the
regular season. In those games, they
had to contend with the other two con-
ference powerhouses, Purdue and Ohio
PLAYING IN A rather chilly and
bleak West Lafayette environment,
Michigan was slapped off the track
again by the Boilermakers. Then
against the Buckeyes, rookie coach
Earl Bruce directed his team to a big
win over the Wolverines, as his special
teams defense scooped up a blocked
Bryan Virgil punt and ran it in for the
game-clinching, conference-clinching
and rose Bowl-clinching TD.

"I feel that we never quite reached
the potential we had hoped for," reflec-
ted Schembechler in an exclusive in-
Potential is the crucial word here. All
season long, the Wolverines were
plagued by severe faults in their
kicking game. Whatever type of game
they did have, it rapidly deteriorated.
"This team could have been 11-0. But
with four blocked punts," Schem-
bechler remarked, "a center snap
through the legs of the punter, missed
field goals and a punt return for a
touchdown, we had three losses.
"ALL THESE things happened in one
year," the Michigan coach went on.
"It's unbelievable. It wasn't all the
problems of the kickers. I'm not saying
they had outstanding years. But I ex-
pect more naturally."
Schembechler is by no means sour
about the outcome of Michigan's
season. For one thing, the Wolverines
are going to a bowl game. For another,
there were plenty of good moments -
things which brought smiles to Schem-
bechler's face.
Of course, there was Anthony Carter,
who electrified both the Michigan
sideline and fans. His freshman debut
was simply spectacular; he could well
be the most exciting Wolverine since
Tom Harmon.
Carter's heroics included returning a
punt for a TD against Northwestern and
that amazing catch of John Wangler's
pass with seconds left on the clock
against the Hoosiers.
"HE'S A GREAT athlete," declared
Schembechler, "with a lot of natural
talent in his hands. You know, he's only
155 at most," Michigan's mentor con-
tinued, "but he'll mix it up with any
guy. He's a tough kid; I'm pretty con-
fident about him," Schembechler ad-
Running back Butch Woolfolk also,
brought a rather large grin to Schem-
bechler's face. Woolfolk led the team's
rushing statistics with 927 yards and a
5.3 yards per carry average.
"Woolfolk had a tremendous
season," Schembechler said. "But," he

continued, "he can be a lot better. But-
ch will mature."
Without a doubt, the presence of a
Carter or a Woolfolk on any squad
would make any coach beam. But other
positions on the team are still surroun-
ded by question marks.
THE OFFENSIVE line was virtually
rebuilt this year with the exception of
senior John Arbeznik. According to
Schembechler, the line's play improved
game by game.
Regarding the quarterback situation,
Schembechler feels he is in good shape.
Rich Hewlett will - return as a sopho-
more. But more crucial, B. J. Dickey
will be back. Even Wangler has the op-
tion to return since he will be a few
credits shy of graduation next May
and was redshirted his junior year.
"Spring practice will be important
for Hewlett," surmised Schembechler.
"Dickey will be back. As for Wangler,"

he continued, "in my opinion, John will
be back too. Johnny Wangler is a very
dedicated kid."
WHEN ASKED what the loss of Rick
Leach meant for the Wolverines,
Schembechler noted Michigan's
changed style of offense.
"I don't care whether Dickey or
Wangler's running it (the offense),"
Schembechler said while perched in his
Maize and Blue desk chair, "both are
bright kids, great competitors and
fighters." He went on, "When Leach
was in there, he could do almost
anything you wanted done. But we
decided this year that we would not be a
complete option team like we have been,
in the past. We had to throw the ball
more," he concluded.
But perhaps the biggest question
mark of all sits square atop the kicking
unit. Schembechler talks about
Michigan's kicking game, among other
things, tomorrow.
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