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March 30, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-30

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

Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday- March 30, 1992

by Albert Lin
Daily Basketball Writ

outshoots Cowboys,


LEXINGTON, Ky. - It looked
like the end of the road.
Chris Webber was on the end of
the bench with four fouls. Juwan
Howard followed him less than two
minutes later. The game clock still
read over 16 minutes, and it ap-
peared the Wolverines season would
end right here.
Michigan's two big men on the
bench? Who would man the post?
And, more inportantly, who would
contain Cowboy All-American,
Byron Houston? There would be no
dream ride for Steve Fisher in this
NCAA tournament. The road to
Minneapolis would end here.
But it didn't. Michigan (23-8)
could not lose on this night, despite
what the basketball gods threw its'
way. The Wolverines held off a late
Oklahoma State (27-9) three-point
barrage to advance to the round of
eight, 75-72..
First-year guard Jalen Rose once
again led Michigan, playing all 40
minutes and stepping up his produc-
tion when the Wolverines needed it.
But the hero Friday night was junior
center Eric Riley, who was sum-
moned to play the post in place of
Webber and Howard. Riley finished
with a season best in points, re-
bounds and minutes, scoring 15 and
pulling down 10 in 26 minutes.
"I just showed Coach (Fisher)
and the world what I can do," said
Riley, whose 10 boards included

eight off the offensive glass, none
more crucial than a tip-in of a
Howard jumper with just more than
two minutes left.
"Riley's a good ballplayer," said
OSU coach Eddie Sutton. "He'd be
the starting center on most teams in
the country."
When it wasn't Riley inside for
Michigan, it was Rose from the out-
side. The pair combined for 29 of the

Everyone talks about
the Fab Five, but this
team is the University
of Michigan. None of
us could be here
without each other.'
- Ray Jackson
Michigan forward
Wolverines' 42 second half points.
"Michigan is not a one- or two-
man team," said Rose, who finished
the evening with 25 points and 11
rebounds, both team highs.
"Everyone stepped up their level of
play, and we won the game."
Rose did his best to make the end
of the game interesting. Three times
in the last minute, Rose went to the

line for a two-shot foul and missed
the first. Oklahoma State made three
three-pointers, the last a questionable
shot by Sean Sutton following two
Howard free throws, to pull within
one with 14 seconds remaining.
Rose put Michigan back up by
two, but on the ensuing play, first-
year guard Jimmy King stepped in
front of a Sutton pass intended for
teammate Corey Williams, ending
the Cowboys hopes of prolonging
their season.
"When I looked, I thought he was
open," Sutton said, holding back
tears, following the game. "But they
made a great defensive play."
One of the keys for Michigan
was its defense of Houston. The
Wolverines held the 6-foot-7, 250-
pound Houston to four points on 2-
for-14 shooting. They also forced
him to turn the ball over eight times.
Although the Wolverines only
trailed three times during the game
- the last at 41-40 early in the sec-
ond half - they had their doubters.
On Friday, they showed they could
win without Chris Webber and that
the rest of the team can still play.
"That's what we talked about all
year," rookie forward Ray Jackson
said. "Everyone talks about the Fab
Five, but this team is the University
of Michigan. None of us could be
here without each other. We all
showed ourselves how much we
could contribute. You can't ask for
too much more."



Bench stars bail1 out Blue
Riley's play keys effort for unheralded reservess

Wolverine guard Jalen Rose launches a jumper over the outstretched arms
of Oklahoma State's Sean Sutton during Friday night action.
I twice %as
nice for
by John Niyo
Daily Basketball Writer


by John Niyo
Daily Basketball Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Michigan
coach Steve Fisher's greatest fear
was realized Friday night. But so
was his greatest hope.
Fisher watched in agony from the
sideline as three of his starters -
Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, and
Ray Jackson - racked up foul after
foul against Oklahoma State.
Webber picked up his fourth foul
just 2:12 into the second half,
Howard's fourth came less than two
minutes later, and Jackson picked up
his fourth with 11:32 still left to
So Fisher's hand was forced -
go to the bench players and stick
with them. He did, and the oft-over-
looked Wolverine reserves, namely,
Eric Riley, Freddie Hunter, and Rob
Pelinka, responded.
"My biggest fear coming in was
foul trouble," Fisher said. "We got in
-heavy-duty foul trouble. But when
'Chris and Juwan were in foul
trouble,awe told the lineup to keep it
close. They did more than that."
What they did was catapult
Michigan into the lead, and then
hang on down the stretch to escape
with a 75-72 victory.
Riley stood tallest among them,
logging 16 minutes in the second
half (26 for the game), and finishing
with 15 points and 10 rebounds -
"Eric did what we needed people
to do," Fisher said. "Sometimes it's
'hard to play second fiddle to the
'Fab Five' and all the attention they
get, but when he's called on, he's
ready, both intelligently and with

great effort. Without him tonight,
we're dead in the water."
Instead, the Wolverines were able
to weather the OSU storm and ad-
vance to the round of eight.

in the Big Ten in rebounding and
blocked shots last year," said Jalen
Rose, who led the Wolverines, along
with Riley and Jimmy King. "Eric
Riley is a good player. It's just a

'I try to play hard when I'm out there. I don't
know when I'm coming out, so I just have to
play as hard as I can'
- Michigan center Eric Riley

When Webber sat down with his
fourth foul, Michigan trailed, 37-36.
But Riley made his presence felt
immediately, putting the Wolverines
back on top, 38-37, with an offen-
sive rebound and a quick lay-up.
"He was the key," Jackson said.
"He came out and played strong. We
needed a strong man in the middle
because Chris was out."
Riley, sporting a big smile in the
lockerroom after the game, said he
was just happy to get the chance.
"I try to play hard when I'm out
there," Riley said. "I don't know
when I'm coming out, so I just have
to play as hard as I can."
With all the hype directed toward
the five frosh this season - as well
as most of the playing time - Riley
was one of the verteran Michigan
players seemingly lost in the shuffle.
"People forget that he was second

matter of getting out there and
showing it."
Friday was his chance to do ex-
actly that. The game was on the line,
and, for a change, Riley was on the
The 7-foot center stepped up to
the free throw line with 1:39 left on
the clock and Michigan clinging to a
65-61 lead. Riley had missed five of
his six free throws that night, and
despite his soft touch, he entered the
game shooting just 57 percent from
the line.
"I was just thinking I can't miss
another free throw," Riley said. "I'm
too good a free throw shooter to
miss again."
He didn't. This time, Riley hit all
net, stretching the lead to 67-61 and
capping off a very rewarding night.
"I just showed Coach and the
world what I can do," Riley said.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The third
time was definitely the charm for
Michigan against a team that sup-
posedly had its number.
All of the pregame talk centered
around the two regular season losses.
How hard would it be for the
Buckeyes to beat the Wolverines
three times? Could Michigan break
the season-long jinx?
It took an extra five-minute over-
time, but when all was said and
done, the Rupp Arena scoreboard
and the Maize and Blue celebration
on the court told the story.
"Today wass45minutes of hard
battle," Jalen Rose said. "It was
about which team wanted it the most
and which team was willing to give
up the most to win the game.
"Ohio State made some great
plays, but Michigan made better
Plays that the Wolverines didn't
make in the first two meetings with
Ohio State -- especially in
Columbus where three straight
turnovers late in the game cost them
a victory.
'It was about which
team wanted it the
most and which team
was willing to give up
the most to win the
- Jalen Rose
"It kind of took our heart," Ray
Jackson said. "It hurt real bad be-
cause we let them in. We gave the
game away."
So yesterday, when some costly
turnovers let Ohio State take a 61-57
lead, Michigan remembered.
"We just didn't want to do the
same thing we did in Columbus,"
Jimmy King said. "It's just poise
under pressure. We handled it like
we were used to handling it."
From the other vantage point,
OSU star Jim Jackson - someone
who is no stranger to "poise under
pressure" - agreed with King,
adding that "We were like the team
that had never been here before."
King felt the Wolverines were
more experienced this time.
"We knew we had to take our
time," King said. "We've been in
those situations a lot of times now.
That was part of our growing up. We*
learned how to deal with those

Michigan center Eric Riley attempts a shot Friday night over Oklahoma
State's Randy Davis and Corey Williams.

Laettner 's jumper kills 'Cats
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - 10 of 10 from the foul line, and Blue Devils took a 79-69 lead'
Christian Laettner hit a miracle scored 31 points. 7:40 left on -- what else? -1
turnaround jumper from near the "I can't believe it happened to free throws by Laettner.
foul line as the buzzer sounded to me twice in a career," Laettner Laettner had been assesse
give Duke a 104-103 overtime yelled as he was pounded by technical foul just 26 seconds ea
victory Saturday over Kentucky and teammates and fans. for stepping on the head of Am

ed a

a fifth consecutive trip to the Final
The Blue Devils (32-2), who
blew a 10-point lead with 7:40 to
play, missed a chance to win in
regulation and then beat Kentucky
on Laettner's shot. Grant Hill made
a length-of-the court pass to Laettner
with 2.1 seconds to play, and the
basket marked the fifth - and last
- lead change in the final 30
Duke will play Indiana, which
beat UCLA 106-79 Saturday, and it
gets there despite a rare loss of poise
in the closing minutes of regulation.
It was the second time Laettner

"We beat a very determined and
great basketball team," Duke coach
Mike Krzyzewski said. "It was an
unbelieveable game where kids
made great plays."
Top-ranked Duke kept alive its
bid to become the first repeat
champion since UCLA in 1973, and
ended Kentucky's dream return from
two years' probation and a three-
year absence from the tournament it
has appeared in more than any other
The sixth-ranked Wildcats (29-7)
had taken a 103-102 lead with 2.5
seconds left when Sean Woods hit a

Timberlake when the Kentucky
freshman had submarined the All-
American on a drive to the basket.
Kentucky turned on its vaunted
press, which it had avoided most of
the night in favor of a 2-3 zone, and
it created turnovers just as it had all
The Wildcats went on a 12-2 run
over the next 2:01 and suddenly
thoughts of great upsets filled the
heads of everyone in the Spectrum.
Woods hit a 3-pointer with 5:28
left to tie the game 81-81 and neither
team led by more than three points
the rest of the way.
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