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January 24, 1994 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, January 24, 1994

'M' favorite of networks
Continual down-to-wire endings provide excitement

By RACHEL BACHMAN
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
CHAMPAIGN - The networks must love Michigan.
Every week, the Wolverines provide them with a nail-biting,
barn burning conclusion to a game, no matter how lopsided
the previous 38 minutes were.
The team overcame a double-digit deficit against Iowa
when Jimmy King nailed a three-pointer with under 10
seconds remaining.
The feat was almost repeated at Minnesota, but the
absence of Jimmy King and Juwan Howard was too much,
and the team fell to the Golden Gophers, 63-58.
Yesterday was what coach Steve Fisher called, "the flip
of what we had at Minnesota." After being up by 20 in the
first half, Michigan let Illinois creep back. The Wolverines
won by just four points.
Before yesterday, Michigan had the smallest scoring
margin of any winning team, just 1.6 points per game.
Does his team's acrobatic finishes upset Wolverine
scoring leader Jalen Rose?
"It doesn't really bother me," Rose said. "Just like we
may blow a lead, a team may blow a lead against us. That's
the game. Basketball is a game of runs. The key is (to not)
turn a 10-point run into a 20-point run."
Fisher shared Rose's philosophy, pointing to
Michigan's ability to draw the line when Illinois came
from behind.
"I think the important thing for us was that when they
took a lead, they never were able to get a two-possession
lead," Fisher said. "From a psychological standpoint, that
was really significant to us."
Dugan Fife went along with his coach's and teammates'
cool hand approach to Michigan's escape from Illinois in a
squeaker.
"In this case, (blowing a lead) doesn't worry me,"
Fife said. "We're at Illinois and they're a good team.

You knew they were going to make a run. We just held
on to it."
Still, Fife said, "We definitely got worried."
Michigan wouldn't have to come back, critics say, if the
team maintained its leads in the first place. In such a talent-
packed Big Ten conference, though, that may be nearly
impossible to do.
On Michigan's first-half run, Rose said, "I was
hoping it would last. But I knew sooner or later, espe-
cially at home, that they were going to get off nine
points. I didn't think we were going to beat 'em 50 to
nine."
Although the circumstances against the Illini were
opposite those in the game against Minnesota - Michi-
gan trailed almost the entire game - the driving force
was the same.
"It's easier when you don't have to play catch-up," Fife
said. "But also, you get a lot of emotion when you catch up
to a team and that carries over."
While emotion has propelled Michigan to late-game
victories, it is experience that has taught the Wolverines just
how far is too far to come back.
"When Indiana was coming back, we didn't get the
basket we needed," Fife said. "Today we did."
None of the players could explain their tendency to
produce down-to-the-wire games. Nor did they seem con-
cerned about it.
Perhaps at worst, the comebacks produce high ratings for
Michigan's televised games.
Regardless of the game's bumps, Rose was pleased with
his team's performance at Illinois, for the same reason
anyone would be.
"We just found ways to win, and that made me happy,"
Rose said.
And as long as Rose is happy, you can bet the executives
at CBS are, too.

S
0

EVAN PETRIE/Daily

Junior Jalen Rose controls the tempo of yesterday's 74-70 Michigan victory at Illinois.

BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK
Fife excellent 'fo the
neck up,' says Fisher
By RACHEL BACHMAN
and CHAD A. SAFRAN
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITERS
CHAMPAIGN -He was originally not expected to do much after playing so
little his first season with Michigan. Yet, Dugan Fife has become an integral part
of the success of the Wolverines this season.
The sophomore guard scored 10 points (4 for 7), including two three-
pointers, while' dishing out two assists and swiping two steals. Entering
yesterday's contest with Illinois, Fife was tied for second (with Wisconsin's
Michael Finley) in the Big Ten in steals, averaging 2.4 in each of the
Wolverine's five conference games before the Illini
"Fife stepped up big," Michigan's Juwan Howard said. "If I had to give
out a most improved player award, I would give it to Dugan Fife."
And with freshman sensation Kiwane Garris guarding him, Fife turned
the ball over only twice. He shutdown Garris, who had scorched Illinois'
previous two opponents for 31 (Ohio State) and 33 (Iowa), respectively, to 2-
of-9 from the field and 11 points overall.
Fife's efforts have not been lost on Michigan coach Steve Fisher.
"I thought Dugan Fife, from the neck up, did a terrific job" Fisher said.
"He's played extremely well all season, especially the Big Ten season."
BACK IN FRONT: When Michigan opened the game with Howard's 14-foot
jumper, the Wolverines were in the lead, 2-0. While that might not seem like
much, it was the first time since early in the second half of its game against
Indiana that the Maize and Blue was out in front. In its previous contest, with
Minnesota, Michigan never led and tied the game only once.
IT'S GOOD: Jalen Rose was able to break out of his two-game shooting
slump with a solid, 9-for-14 performance against the Illini. He hit a trio of
three-point bombs, including one from NBA range at the 7:10 mark of the first
half. Rose, who had hit only 12 of his last 41 field goal attempts, nailed all
seven of his free throws as well, for a game-high 28 points.
Rose knew it was time to pick up his game once again.
"I wasn't playing in my same flowing groove like I usually play in," said
Rose, who was named CBS' Michigan player of the game for his efforts. "I was
kind of rushing my shot and trying to draw the foul instead of just looking to
put the ball in the basket, just trying to focus on the rim and put it in."
GLass CLEArs: For the fifth time in six conference games, the Wolver-
ines lost the rebounding battle, 30-29, against the Illini, who lead the Big Ten
in rebounding margin (11.8) and are second in rebounds (44.5 rpg).
Unlike past seasons, Michigan is looking up at the leaders in those two
categories. As of Jan. 21, the Wolverines were ninth in rebounding, averaging
32.4 and tenth in rebound margin (-6.4), just ahead of Northwestern.
The aggressive play on the boards helped Michigan hold Illinois, the
highest scoring team in the conference, to its second lowest output of the
season. The 70 points trail only the 65 the Illini scored in their loss to
Marquette. This was the second time in as many games that the Maize and Blue
has held its opponents to 70 points or less (63 vs. Minnesota)

SAFRAN
Continued from page 1.
demanding position on the court? No
more than a handful at best - and
those are the superstar players.
"He's a warrior," Michigan coach
Steve Fisher said. "We are hopelessly
beaten if we didn't have Juwan for
this game."
Yet, for some unknown reason,
Howard is never mentioned in the
same breath as the players deemed
the best middlemen in college
basketball - North Carolina's Eric
Montross and Bryant Reeves of
Oklahoma State.
While these two centers are
traditional, 7-foot, back-to-the-basket
players, Howard provides the
Wolverines with something more.
"He's as strong as I am, plus he's
got good fundamental skills," said the
Illini's behemoth center Shelly Clark
who stands 6 feet 9, 262 pounds. On
one particular play yesterday,
Howard was able to back Clark in
before hitting a turnaround swish
from 10 feet.
The only time Montross and
Reeves play more than seven or eight
feet away from the goal is when they
are on defense. Hook shots are easy
when you are seven feet tall, but
when you are Howard, who is small
by comparison to these two at 6 feet
9, you must do something different.
"He has a very high elevation on
his shot," said Illinois' Deon Thomas,
who is incidentally a close friend of
Howard's. "When you attempt to
block it, it's already gone."
While he may possess the best
short jumper in college basketball,
Howard has a heart that makes him
spectacular.
Imagine how immensely
frustrating it must be to watch your
team lose when you can do nothing
about it, as Howard and fellow.
chicken-pox-stricken teammate
Jimmy King were forced to do
Thursday.
There the game was. Right in
front of them. And all they could do
was sit and stare.
"I felt terrible. I was sweating
bullets," Howard said. "I've never
been so excited to be back playing
college basketball (against Illinois)."
His excitement showed
throughout the contest, as Michigan
surged to a 20-point lead in the
game's early going. Howard hit his
first three field goals, and despite not
garnering a rebound the entire first
half, gave the Wolverines the inside

presence they lacked against the
Gophers.
"He would have pounded knots
on my head had I not started him,"
Fisher said.
The only thing Howard pounded
was his opponents into submission, as
both Thomas and Clark ended the
game with four fouls, ultimately
affecting the aggressiveness of the
Illini inside game.
He gave Michigan inside strength,
intimidation, solid defense. The list is
as long as the Wolverines' shorts. He
also gave them an offense.
No longer could Illinois key
solely on Jalen Rose for the
Wolverines' scoring threat. Illini
coach Lou Henson knew that Howard
would be a force in the paint scoring-
wise, thus opening up the floor for
Rose, Dugan Fife and the rest of the
Maize and Blue.
The Chicago native knew he had
to play.
"I have to fight through it and do
what ever's best for the team,"
Howard said. "Coach knows the
toughness, physically and mentally,
that I have."
Former Notre Dame coach-
turned-broadcaster Digger Phelps has
deemed Howard, "the silent force."
For such silent force, Howard
sure makes alot of noise. But he still
needs to make more commotion,
especially in the late going. While he
was physically drained as the contest
reached its back-and-forth last
minutes, Howard made no field goals
down the stretch.
He needed the ball more. His last
points of the game came at 13:27 of
the second half. When both Clark and
Thomas left the game at the 6:31
mark for a brief rest, Howard never
touched the ball near the basket on
those two Michigan possessions.
The Wolverines need to put
Howard at the foul line if they are to
win more close games, like the one
against Illinois.
The only reason the Illini came
back was because they connected on
22 of 26 free throws. How many
chances did Howard have from the
line?
He made both.
Two opportunities from the line?
He should be getting 10.
Steve Fisher should not worry if
his co-captain Howard is sent to the
line in a pressure-packed situation
(i.e. every Big Ten game) to make a
pair of free throws.
Good teams and players get to the
line often. Great ones make free
throws. Howard would swish them.

EVAN PETRIE/Daily
Freshman Makhtar Ndiaye drives for a layup against Illinois yesterday.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cuonzo Martin scored a season-
high 25 points and Glenn Robinson
had 24 as No. 12 Purdue routed Ohio
State 101-63 Saturday.
The Boilermakers (16-1, 4-1 Big
Ten) broke the game open with an 18-
1 run in the first half.
Ohio State (9-8, 2-4) held a 29-28
lead before rebound baskets by

ROUNDUP
A"E "PLAYED
JAN. 22,1994
Iowa 81, Penn State 70
Kenyon Murray scored 17 points
Saturday and Iowa frustrated Penn State
with its press as the Hawkeyes posted
an 81-70 victory and averted their worst
Big Ten start in 76 years.
Iowa (7-7 overall, 1-4 Big Ten),
which hadn't opened conference play
with five straight losses since the 1917-
18 season, also got 16 points from

Robinson, Martin lead
Purdue over Ohio State

Indiana 81, Northwestern 76
Damon Bailey scored seven straight
points in the closing minutes and Alan
Henderson had a season-high 26 Satur-
day night to lead No. 8 Indiana over
Northwestern 81-76.
The nation's longest homecourt
winning streak of 38 games appeared
to be in jeopardy before Bailey's run,

which began with a 3-pointer that gave
Indiana a 73-71 lead with 2:24 to go.
Indiana (1-3, 4-1 Big Ten) had to
come from behind one more time to
defeat Northwestern for the 22nd con-
secutive time in Assembly Hall and the
12th consecutive time overall. The
Hoosiers remained tied for the Big Ten
lead.

ILLINOIS
Continued from page 1
managed to hold Deon Thomas, the
Illini's leading scorer on the season
(20.4 ppg), to just six first-half points.
However, Michigan's fairy tale
game ended as the Iini woke up in the
second half.
"You don't play teams as good as

MICHIGAN (74)
MIN M4A A 0. A FPTS
Howard 36 9.17 2-2 0-2 4 3 20'
Jackson 34 2-6 2.3 2-5 4 1 6
Ndaiye 17 2-4 2-2 0-1 2 5 6
Rose 40 9-14 7-7 0-5 3 2 ,*281
Fife 37 4-7 0-0 -1-4 2 2 10j
Derricks 17 1.4 0-0 2-5 1 3 2
Crawford 4 0-0 0.0 0-0.0 0 0
Saint-Jean 13 1-3 0-0 3-4 0 5 2
Bossard 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0
Totas 200 29.55 13.14 10.29 14 21 741
Q%. .509 Fr- .929 Thf..pelnt goals: 5-9
.556 (Rose 3-3, We 2-5, Ndaiye 0-1). Bloks: 4
(Ndaiye 2. Derricks, Fife). Turnovots 13 (Rose 5,

d .-r-_r..N. -r . h

0

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