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January 22, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-22

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, January 22, 1996

Continuedfrom Page:1.
arm out there to deflect it," Fisher said.
Baston, whose right hand doubles as a
fly-swatter, tallied four blocks, including
one "catch" of an Earl layup attempt.
"Maceo was big (down low,) as he
has been all season," Penn State coach
Jerry Dunn said. "He comes to play and
doesn't talk a lot."
Baston and Louis Bullock paced
Michigan~(4-1, 14-4) with 13 points
each. Glenn Sekunda led the Nittany
Lions with 16 points and 12 boards.
The freshman Bullock hit 3 of4 from
long range but committed a blunder
that almost cost the Wolverines the
With 3:10 left and the score knotted
at 60, Bullock nabbed an errant Earl
pass and had a wide-open breakaway to
put Michigan up two.
Instead of taking the easy layup,
though, Bullock got flashy and missed
a two-handed dunk. The Nittany Lions'
Phil Williams then cashed in on the
other end to put his team up by a deuce
with 2:45 left.
"I was thinking layup the whole way
down the court," said Bullock of his
breakaway miss. "And then I don't know
what made me go (for the dunk). Maybe
it was the excitement or the crowd. I
don't know what,"
Baston was whistled for going over
the back on the Wolverines' next pos-
session and Penn State had the ball,
leading by two with just a couple of
minutes remaining.
All of Happy Valley breathed 14-0.
Not so fast.
In an almost exact replica of the play
before, Bullock swiped another pass
and was once again alone in the open
floor. The freshman went up for a layup
this time - but the results were the
same. Except this time, Baston was
there to follow Bullock's miss.
It was 62-62 with 1:42 left.
The Nittany Lions' Glenn Sekunda
then hit acouple of free throws, but Fife
answered from behind the arc and the
Wolverines led, 65-64, with 55 seconds
Crisler went nuts. Dunn called time.
Out of the huddle, Donovan Will-
iams' 14-footer gave Penn State a one-
point lead with just 24 seconds to play.
Then came back-to-back Michigan
timeouts to set up "Denver."
"We'll have to learn from this pain-
fully and move on," Dunn said. "We
didn't do what we needed to do come
crunch time. They executed and got the
The Wolverines enjoyed a 38-32 lead
at intermission thanks to a 16-0 run and
a Nittany Lion scoring drought that
lasted 6:30. Albert White's 3-pointer
gave the Wolverines a 27-16 lead mid-
way through the first half and a rout
seemed possible.
It didn't happen. The Nittany Lions
weren't 13-0 coming in because they
had been lucky. Methodical and poised,
Penn State closed to within six at the
,half and came out of the lockerroom
with a 13-2 run to grab a 45-40 lead.
Michigan then answered with a 15-2
;spurt before I I straight Nittany Lion
points put Dunn's bunch back up 58-
:55. A Bullock trey knotted matters at 58
sand neither team led by more than a
bucket over the final 5:14.

Despite loss, Penn


State is the real tbing

By Michael Rosenberg
Daily Editor in Chief
That pesky Penn State men's basketball team
kept threatening to beat Michigan yesterday, but
the Wolverines finally put the Nittany Lions away
for good.
For good'?
For now.
"Any time you have a battle like this, you look
forward to another one," said Penn State forward
Matt Gaudio. "It was like a heavyweight fight out
there, punch for punch."
The Wolverines visit Penn State's new Bryce
Jordan Center Feb. 22. And unlike in heavyweight
boxing, don't look for this one to be postponed.
"We can get them at our place next time," said
Nittany Lion center Calvin Booth.
The nation's basketball fans may look at Penn
State's performance at Crisler Arena yesterday as
a great effort. The Nittany Lions say it was a
missed opportunity.
"I don't care what the country thinks," Booth
said. "We still lost. We've gotta come in and win
games like this."
Forgive the Nittany Lions if they reacted hard to
the loss. They're not used to it. Penn State came
into yesterday's game with a 13-0 record. That
only impressed, oh, most of State College.
Part of the reason is the schedule. The Nittany
Lions hadn't beaten a team ranked in the top 25 all
season. Of their 13 victims, only Santa Clara is
likely to make the NCAA Tournament. Last Thurs-
day Michigan forward Maceo Baston had joked
that Penn State's wins were against "Huckabuck
State or whatever."
Michigan almost joined the likes of Huckabuck
State yesterday.
The Nittany Lions were ranked 14th in the

most recent poll - highest among Big '
teams but well below Cincinnati and Mass-
chusetts, the nation's only other undefeated
Part of the reason is history. Penn State's bas-
ketball past is about as storied as its new arena. in
State College, basketball has been that little game
you play between football and spring football.
The Nittany Lions have made the NCAA Tourna-
ment once in the last 30 years.
But Penn State made a decision early in the
year to shun history and win some games, and it'
worked pretty well so far. First-year coach Je
Dunn's team may not be ready to win the national
championship, but the Big Ten title is a legitimate
"I've always thought we were a good team ,"
Dunn said. "I still think we're a good team."
Was the loss to Michigan a learning experi-
"I like to learn things by winning," Dunn said.
The Nittany Lions have taken a unique ap-
proach to the criticism.
"Most of the time we just laugh," Gaudio sa.
"We knew we were going to get that at the
beginning of the year. This team believes in itself
and has for a while."
The number of believers is growing quickly.
A dd Steve Fisher to the list of coaches who have
nothing but praise for Penn State.
"We beat a very good team," Fisher said. "We
found a way to win down the stretch and I'm
proud of that."
The Wolverines have won the first bout. The
rematch is set for Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Bryn
Jordan Center. The winner may be the front-
runner for the conference title.
Penn State is training already.

Maceo Baston (left) and Maurice Taylor celebrate the Wolverines' 67-66 victory over previously
undefeated Penn State. Taylor dunked to win the game with nine seconds left; Baston had 13 points,
seven rebounds and four blocks, including one to preserve the win as time ran out.

Tight wms
By Paul Barger
Daily Sports Writer
The most noticeable difference in
this year's Michigan men's basketball
team is its ability to win close contests.
Yesterday's 67-66 victory over No. 14
Penn State gave the Wolverines their
fourth victory of the season by four

are a new M' trend

points or less.
Other last-minute
against Washing-
ton, LSU, and Duke.
Coincidentally, the
winsover Washing-
ton and Duke ended
with blocked shots
by center Maceo
Baston, as did.
yesterday's contest.
Baston sealed a
victory over Iowa
last season with a
blocked shot in the

victories came

s etb I

final moments of double overtime.
For the most part, however, Michi-
gan lost most of its close games last
During the 1994-95 campaign the
Wolverines dropped heartbreakers to
Pennsylvania, Washington, St. John's,
and two to Michigan State. All of those

games came down to the last possession.
"We're a little bit more focused now,"
sophomore Willie Mitchell said, "We
think about team more this year."
That team concept was exemplified
in Michigan's final basket ofyesterday's
win. Senior captain Dugan Fife called
the play that led to Maurice Taylor's
decisive dunk, giving up his body with
a screen on Penn State's 6-1 I center
Calvin Booth.
"He called a play out for somebody
else," Mitchell said. "That just shows
our team's unselfishness because
(Dugan) had just hit a big shot."
ines take on Indiana at 7:30 p.m. tomor-
row in Bloomington. The Hoosiers lost
guard Sherron Wilkerson this week
when he was arrested on a misdemeanor
charge of domestic battery.
Indiana coach Bob Knight an-
nounced Friday that Wilkerson had been
kicked off the team and may lose his
scholarship. If convicted, Wilkerson
could face up to a year in prison and a
$5,000 fine.
PSU INTilE P0oL.1s: The No.l14 ranking
that the Nittany Lions brought into Ann
Arbor is the highest that they have been
ranked since the 1953-54 season. In fact,
this is the first time in 30 years that Penn
State has even been in the top 25.
The Lions also boasted a No.7 rating
by the Sagarin computer poll and a No.
11 rating by the Ratings Percentage
Index before suffering their first defeat
of the season.
CHARITY STRIPE: It appears that
Michigan is finally taking advantage of
its opportunities from the free throw
line. The Wolverines were 10-of-l I
yesterday, missing only one free throw
for the second consecutive contest.
Last Saturday against Michigan State,
Michigan was 16-of-17 from the stripe.
Against Illinois the Wolverines hit 21 of
Write the [

28. i
This is a remarkable turn of events
considering that Steve Fisher's squad is
shooting barely over 60 percent from
the line for the season.
CRISL ER ADVANT A(A.: M ichigan's
home-court advantage is undeniable.
The Wolverines have not dropped a
game at Crisler Arena since they lost to
St. John's last Super Bowl Sunday.
That amounts to a 15-game home win-
ning streak and a 9-0 record in Ann
Arbor this year.
Michigan has had two undefeated
seasons at Crisler, 1973-74 and 1976-
77. The Wolverines had only one home
Big Ten loss last year (Michigan State)
and have only six home losses since the
beginning of the 1992-93 campaign.
Tli\ IONiM: Michigan is get-
ting a great deal of exposure on national
television. Includingyesterday's game,
the Wolverines will be on either CBS or
ESPN for four straight contests. To-
morrow night's game at Indiana and
next Wednesday'sgameat homeagainst
Big Ten co-leader Purdue will be tele-
vised by FSPN.
Michigan clash with lowa next Sun-
day at Carver-H-awkeye Arena will be
on CBS.

Michigan students celebrate after the Wolverines' win. 'Huckabuck State' is a
reference to the quality of teams Maceo Baston claimed Penn State had beaten.

Continued from Page 1B
has possession, fans interpret him pass-
ing up shots as a reluctance to wear the
mantle of team leader.
"It's not really a reluctance," Fife
said. "I take my shots in the flow of the
game -- if it's open, I'll take it."
It was open yesterday, and Fife took
it - to the amazement of many in the
crowd. He took it with aconfidencethat
has really bloomed during the past few

Since his starting streak ended at 65
games against Arizona Nov. 22, Fife
has developed into a solid role player.
He comes off the bench to provide quiet
assists, tenacious defense and solid ball-
handling. He hesitates less over open
shots now, but his real contributions
come when the ball is in someone else's
"The media and the fans don't realize
what he does, deflecting loose balls and
stuff," Conlan said. "He's less verbal
-Maurice and idothat--but Dugan's
the action guy."

-- -----

)aily. daiy.leffers@umiz. edu


That's a claim you probably wouldn't
have heard at the start of the season:
Dugan's the action guy. Fife is mu@
more valuable now, coming off the
bench, than he ever was as a starter.
He plays smart and tough, rarely
makes mental mistakes, and consistently
takes the court with a businesslike atti-
tude: Come into the game, do my job,
and don't worry too much if my contri-
bution doesn't draw much acclaim.
Fife won't point out that, hey, I had
five assists and two steals and didn't
turn the ball over once against Pec
State. He won't dispute you when you
assert that Baston, or Bullock or
Conlan or Taylor, was the crucial cl-
ement in the Wolverines' nix yester-
day. He won't trump up his own im-
But make no mistake: Fife is impor-
tant to Michigan. He's the heady guard
who makes up in work ethic what he
lacks in talent. He's the senior captain;
lie's the tough defender, the stab iliz.*
He's the action guy.
- Brent McIntosh can be / cached
over e-mail at mctosh 4,umich.edui.
Write for the Daily
Mass Meetin'
Wednesday, Jan. 24
at 7 pm.
Student Publications Bldg
420 Maynard

"*"@ " " # " # # " #o " "# "" #" ""e"i "# #".#" "" # # " # "e # # ". ".


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Wednesday, January 31, 1996




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