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January 13, 1989 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-13

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Page 12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 13, 1989

'M' set t
in Cha
Everybody is talking about it.
During the weekly Big Ten basketball
teleconference, coaches spent as much time
talking about Saturday's Michigan-Illinois
game as they spent talking about their own
"You're going to see so many great
athletes on the floor at one time that it's
going to boggle your mind," Michigan State
coach Jud Heathcote said. "It's a shame that
it's not a Final Four game because of the
intensity and performances by the athletes
that you will see."
Sixth-ranked Michigan (14-1 overall, 2-0
Big Ten) tips off against second-ranked
Illinois (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) in Champaign at
1 p.m. The game will be televised by ABC.
"We've been looking forward to this game
all year," Michigan guard Rumeal Robinson
said. "This will be the game that will pick us
up and lead us on our way through the Big
IF MICHIGAN WINS, that is. Frieder
is 0-8 at Champaign. But Illinois coach Lou
Henson said Michigan has a great chance.
"We just don't stack up with them -
they're too big," Henson said. "We're not just
talking about big people. We're talking about
big people who are very talented."
Six of Michigan's top eight players are at
least 6-foot-7. Usual starters include Mike
Griffin (6-7), Glen Rice (6-7), Sean Higgins
(6-9), and Terry Mills (6-10). Mark Hughes is
6-8. Loy Vaught, who scored 24 points and
grabbed nine rebounds in a game last year
against Illinois, is 6-9.
Marcus Liberty, at 6-8, is the tallest of
Illinois' top seven players. The Fighting
Illini start Kenny Battle (6-6), Nick Anderson




(6-6), and Lowell Hamilton (6-7) up front.
"You need big people," Henson said. "I
don't know how good you can be when you
have to go 110 percent every time out
because you don't have a big person.
"Big people can go through and beat a lot
of other teams because they're big and
talented," he said. "Smaller teams have to be
sharp every night, quick, and on their toes."
HENSON also believes that his team
suffers defensively due to its lack of height.
"We always have to put two or three men on
the other team's big guy, and that's
weakening us."
Michigan coach Bill Frieder, however,
refused to accept Henson's assessment of the
game. "Tell Henson I'll bet him on the damn
game," he said. "Tell him to put up or shut
up. I'll bet him 500 dollars Illinois wins.
Henson said, "If we had a big guy to go
with our team, then we might deserve a top
ten ranking."
Frieder disagreed. "It's not how tall you
are, but how tall you play. His players play
very tall. They're great, great athletes and it's
the quickest team I've ever seen in the Big
Wisconsin coach Steve Yoder agrees that
Illinois doesn't need a tall player to be
successful. "When you've got great speed like
Illinois has at every position, then you don't
need a guy 6-11 because he'll just slow you
down," he said. "You could take their team
and probably finish at the top of a Big Ten
track meet."
Both teams like to run. Michigan is
averaging 97 points a game, Illinois, 95.
Anderson (16.9 points per game) and
Battle (16.4) lead five Illinois players
averaging double figures. The others are
Hamilton, guard Kendall Gill and Liberty.

full court
Higgins spells
trouble for foes
Sean Higgins will have to earn his starting spot
back from Kirk Taylor and will not start against
Minnesota. That's what Bill Frieder said on Tuesday.
But Thursday night, No. 24 found himself not only
playing alongside Rumeal Robinson, but starting his
first Big Ten game. He started off the game with a
bang, hitting a three-pointer after only 6 seconds.
Simply put, Michigan needs Sean Higgins in the
lineup. With his deadly outside shot, defenders are not
able to sag off and double team the Wolverines' other
offensive weapons.
Playing less than one full season, Higgins has
connected on 26 of 54 three-point shots, for 48
percent. This year Higgins has shot 54 percent from
the field and is averaging almost 14 points per game.
Overall, Michigan is 23-1 in games Higgins has
played. While that record includes only one Big Ten
game, it does include games against teams such as
Arizona, Oklahoma, and Memphis State.
But over the two-year stretch since enrolling at
Michigan, Higgins has been ineligible for 25 games,
one more than he has played in. Off-court problems
involving academics and drinking have kept Wolverine
fans from seeing the high school All-American with
any regularity.
H I G G I N S went through a lot to come to
Michigan in the first place. His stepfather allegedly
held a baseball bat to Sean's head and decreed he enroll
at UCLA. Kentucky reportedly offered Higgins money
and benefits for his mother if Higgins would play for
the Wildcats. But in the end, Higgins came to Ann
Arbor to be nearer to his father, Earle, who played for
Eastern Michigan and currently resides in Southfield.
Since coming to Ann Arbor, controversy has
enveloped the troubled sophomore. But last night,
Higgins being on the court spelled trouble for
Minnesota. For the game, Higgins connected on eight
of 11 shots, including four of six three-point shots.
But more importantly, Higgins felt comfortable in
his new role - team cheerleader.
"Every team needs a cheerleader to get them going.
On this team, that's me. No one else took the
initiative and it's like a habit for me to get excited,"
Higgins said.
WHEN ASKED if serving as team cheerleader
would feed his appetite for the game, Higgins
responded with a bright smile.
"No way do I want to just be like those people in
skirts carrying pompons. I want to do it from on the
Should Higgins follow the right path, he should
have plenty of opportunity to light up the Crisler
Arena scoreboard. And he has no bigger booster than
his coach.
"I really wanted Sean to shoot that first one. He's
been practicing really well, and I wanted him to get off
on the right foot in his first Big Ten game. He's a
very important part of this team," Frieder said.
Frieder has said all year that the guard play will
determine his team's fortune. He laments at every
opportunity at his team's lack of guards after
Higgins started off on the right foot last night in an
effort to make a believer out of his coach. His goal for
the season? To get Frieder to praise the play of his
first two guards.
For that to happen, the only trouble Higgins can
afford to find himself in is on the court. If not, he may
not have another chance.


Glen Rice scored 21 points in the second half for a total



What they're saying
about the game
-Michigan coach Bill Frieder: "Tell
Henson I'll bet him on the damn game.
Tell him to put up or shut up. I'll bet him
500 dollars Illinois wins."
-Illinois coach Lou Henson: "If we had
a big guy to go with our team, then we
might deserve a top ten ranking.".
-Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote:
"You're going to see so many great
athletes on the floor at one time that it's
going to boggle your mind. It's a shame
that it's not a Final Four game because of
the intensity and performances by the
athletes that you will see."
-Wisconsin coach Steve Yoder:
"When you've got great speed like Illinois
has at every position, then you don't
need a guy 6-11 because he'll just slow
you down. You could take their team and
probably finish at the top of a Big Ten
track meet."


of 31 in Michigan's victory
Continued from Page 1
including three three-pointers, and
Sean Higgins added 20, 12 of which
came as the result of shooting the
triple. Robinson scored 24 for the
Michigan led by as many as 13 in
the first half, but sloppy play
enabled the Gophers to get back into
the game. Minnesota outscored
Michigan, 27-16, to end the first
Minnesota's surge came after
Robinson went out for a rest, and
the 6-foot-9 Higgins was forced to
take over at the point. "We made
some careless, stupid mistakes under
pressure," Michigan coach Bill
Frieder said. "We just don't have true
guards after Rumeal. When he's not
in there, we're going to have some
serious problems. We've got to learn
to play when Rumeal's out of the
Rice also was frustrated by the
giveaways. "If the rest of the players
moved to the ball like Rumeal does,

over Minnesota.
we wouldn't have so many
turnovers," he said.
The three-pointers in the second
half opened it up inside for
Michigan's frontcourt.
For much of the game, however,
Michigan's front line was a
nonentity. Terry Mills was held to
just nine points after scoring 20
against Northwestern on Saturday.
Loy Vaught had an equally
frustrating night, scoring just seven.
"Their rebounding killed us,"
Frieder said. "They're strong and
they just took the ball away from us
like we were junior high school
players. We were outplayed inside."
Willie Burton and Melvin
Newbern each scored 19 for
Minnesota, and Kevin Lynch added
15 to keep the Gophers close.
"We're getting there," Minnesota
coach Clem Haskins said. "This ball
club will upset some people in the
"It was a victory for us as well
because we played as hard as we can
and we think that next time (in
Minnesota) we can beat them."







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A commemorative symposium
Sunday, January 15
Keynote address:
The Honorable Willie Brown, Speaker
California House of Representatives
4:30 p.m., Hill Auditorium

January 15 and 16, 1989
Monday, January 16
Plenary session:
8:30 a.m., Mendelssohn Theatre
Speaker: Sharon Robinson,
Executive Director, PUSH-Excel

at The University of Michigan
Closing Address:
The Honorable Mayor,
Andrew Young
Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
7:30 p.m., Hill Auditorium

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