The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 10, 1988- Page 9
'M', Illini head opposite ways
CHAMPAIGN - You can bet
your college tuition that Bill Frieder
will not be drinking any Orange
Crush in the near future. Or, it
seems, champaign either.
That combination has caused a lot
of heartburn for Michigan's eighth-
year coach. Illinois' Assembly Hall
in Champaign remains the only Big
Ten arena that Frieder has never won
in during his tenure with the
The Fighting Illini added to that
streak of futility last night by
crushing the Wolverines, 85-74.
THE STUDENTS surrounding
the court in their bright "Orange
Crush" t-shirts had plenty to cheer
about as the Illini's suffocating
defensive pressure squeezed the juice
right out of the Wolverines.
"You have to credit their pressure
defense. They really caused us prob-
lems," Frieder said.
Illinois' defense accounted for 12
steals and caused 23 Michigan
Their fanatic fans also deserved
some credit for helping in the win.
"I think the fans worked as hard as
the team did," Illinois head coach
Lou Henson said.
In a new type of defensive
scheme, the students booed loudly
every time Michigan's Gary Grant
touched the ball.
IT SOUNDS like a strange
strategy, but it worked better than
any other team's defensive plan this
year. The All-American guard scored
BY GREG MOLZON
only eight points in the game and
just two in the first half.
As the NCAA tournament draws
near, these two teams appear to be
going in different directions. Michi-
gan has been struggling, losing two
of its last three, while the Illini have
been on a tear.
They have won seven of their last
eight, and appear to be peaking just
in time to make a serious run in the
The number of wins isn't the
only impressive number in the
streak. It's the way they've been
"THEY'RE really a great
basketball team right now," Frieder
said. "They've been beating the hell
out of everybody."
That's right. Illinois has been de-
stroying teams. Including last
night's win, their average victory
margin in those seven games has
been 20 points. That includes the
last three against Michigan, Iowa,
Their only loss was by 14 points
on the road to Big Ten champion
In fact, the way the conference
teams are playing right now, fourth
place Illinois probably enters the
tournament as the Big Ten's second
"WE FINALLY started
peaking about the right time,"
Illinois forward Kenny Battle said.
"We're doing the things to keep us
Battle scored 25 points against
Michigan's front line. His teammate
at forward, Nick Anderson, also
burned the Wolverine defense for 25
"The confidence is there," Ander-
son said of his streaking team. "I
expected it would happen and its
happening at the right time."
In the tournament, Henson's
squad will have the additional moti-
vation of trying to make up for last
year's embarrassing first-round loss
to Austin Peay. The Illini won't be
a favorite, but they could be a sur-
prise visitor in Kansas City's Final
As for the Wolverines, their
chances don't appear to be as bright.
They have been fading and the only
solace they have is that Indiana also
lost two of their final three games
last year to the same teams.
"INDIANA lost to Purdue and
Illinois on the road before beating
Ohio State at home and they went
on to win the national
championship," said Frieder trying
to find a positive note. "So we have
some things to tell the players."
By the way, Michigan hosts Ohio
State in the season finale on Satur-
day at Crisler Arena.
Whether that coincidence and the
coach's words will be enough to
motivate the Wolverines in the
tournament is a difficult question.
Can Michigan rebound to do the
same thing as the Hoosiers did?
You can make up your own mind
on the probability of that happening.
I don't want to admit the most likely
answer to that question.
Illinois' Ken Battle goes up high to pass the ball during the Fighting
Illini's 85-74 victory over Michigan last night in Champaign.
... 25 points
Continued from Page 1
fense, scoring 25 points apiece. The
two forwards helped open up a 32-18
first half lead by dropping in 22 of
the team's first 28 points.
"I think it's really important to
get off to a good start," said Illinois
coach Lou Henson. "We told our
players that before the game. If you
get off to a good start, the fans get
invol-ved. It really helps."
Battle and Anderson cooled off the
rest of the half with their only
points coming on two Battle free
throws. Michigan was able to close
the gap to 41-37 at the half behind
Loy Vaught's 14 points.
But Battle and Anderson reloaded
at half time and sank 14 of the
Illini's first 18 second-half points.
By' that time, Illinois extended its
lead back to double digits, 59-49.
"The first game (between the two
teams earlier this season) I was never
into the game," said Battle, who
played the game just days after he
suffered a death in the family. "I
cme out tonight and asserted myself
The Illini held their biggest lead
of the contest, 81-65, after Vaught
missed a dunk, and Blackwell
jammed at the other end of the court.
Vaught finished with a career-
high 24 points on nine-of-14 shoot-
ing. He also tallied nine rebounds
and three steals. Rumeal Robinson
and Glen Rice added 17 and 15
The loss, the Wolverines' third in
-heir last four games, dropped them
to 23-7 overall, 12-4 in the confer-
Illinois, winners of seven of its
fast eight, upped its record to 21-9,
As a small consolation, on a
night where very little went right,
Grant became Michigan's second all-
time leading scorer with 2,172
;points. He only trails Cazzie Rus-