The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 11, 1996 - 9B
Seniors play last
game in Crisler
By Ml1 bel Rosenberg
Daily Sports Writer
For once, he knew the crowd was
y"iling "Dooog," not "Booo."
Dugan Fife hasn't been the most
popular Michigan men's basketball
player in his four years with the team.
The Crisler Arena crowd has often de-
ridedthe guard's hesitancy to shoot and1
his lack of accuracy at times.
His coaches and teammates have been
forced to defend Fife, praise his work
ethic, talk about how smart he plays. The
crowd has not always been convinced.
e3ut Saturday night, Fife received
louer sheers than any other Wolver-
was Senior Day, and Fife and fel-
loisenior Neal Morton were honored i
before4he game. When Fife walked outi
orto th 1oor before the game with his
parnts by his side, Fife received a
w4 Mltnding ovation from the crowd.
g -t nore enthusiatically than just
an frst-half 3-pointer.
"i tried to take it all in, but it hap-1
peNiefast," Fife said. "I hope there'sl
a lo it basketball left to be played."
loiiacally, the senior captain's big-
ges iitribution in his final regular-l
seasongame went as unnoticed as most
of his contributions to the club. Fife
talked to the team before tipoff about
what this game meant, about why the
Wolverines should be motivated.
"He said, 'I want this to be my last
home game,"' Michigan coach Steve
Fisher said. "He didn't want the NIT
calling Monday asking, 'Do you want to
play a first-round game in Ann Arbor?"'
That won't happen - the Wolver-
ines' win averted any possibility of
them heading to the NIT.
After the game, Fisher did what he
has done so many times before - de-
fended Fife in a postgame press confer-
ence. On this day, though, Fisher's com-
ments seemed even more heartfelt.
"All he wants to do is walk in (to the
lockerroom) exhausted and victorious,"
Fisher said. "The Dugan Fifes win.
Every program in America needs a
Dugan to get what you want."
What Michigan wants now is success
in the NCAA Tournament, something
the Wolverines did not achieve last
year. Fife, for one, thinks the team can
win in the tourney.
"We're a lot different team (from last
year)," Fife said. "We should be able to
get a winning streak going."
Fife is the only Michigan player who
knows what-such a winning streak feels
like. When he was a freshman, the
Wolverines nearly won the national
championship, falling to North Caro-
lina, 77-71, in the NCAA final. Fife
was a little-used backup to Jalen Rose
then. The next year, Fife started for a
team that made the Elite Eight before
losing to eventual champion Arkansas,
"He's been terrific," Fisher said.
"He's done everything a young player
dreams of. He this moment is playing
the best, most confident, proudest bas-
ketball of his career. I'm glad he's go-
ing out knowing that."
While Fife was playing alongside
Rose and Juwan Howard, Neal Morton
was at Aquinas. Two seasons ago, he
transferred to Michigan and walked on
to the team, and this season, as a senior,
he received a scholarship.
He, too, walked out onto the court
with his parents before the game.
"I went from being bottom of the,
pack all the way to the University of
Michigan," Morton said. "I couldn't
end it any better. I couldn't dream it any
Morton has not played a lot this sea-
son. Fisher doesn't usually put Morton
into games unless the other players are
in foul trouble or lack effort, or if the
outcome is already decided.
Morton entered Saturday's game late
in the second half after it was clear
Michigan would win. The crowd yelled
for him to shoot every time he touched
the ball, but his attempts to put the ball
up or take it to the basket were unsuc-
Somehow, one gets the feeling he
doesn't really care.
contest features top
By Brent McIntosh
Daily Sports Editor
If you can give a season-long award based on one game,
this one is a no-brainer: Give the Big Ten Freshman of the,.
Year award to Louis Bullock.
Bullock had a game-high 14 points to lead Michigan to,
a 65-51 triumph over Wisconsin. The 6-foot-2 guard also
snagged five rebounds.
On the other hand, 6-foot-7 Badger forward Sam Okey;
Bullock's major competition for the award, had only
seven points and six rebounds before fouling out with 4:07
P. 999999999 n". ..,
left on the clock.
Okey's case for the award isn't as
weak as his game against Michigan was, ,
though: Okey is only the third player n11
Big Ten history to lead his team in
points, rebounds and assists - and hC
did it in his first year. -
Neal Morton didn't score in his final game at Crisler Arena,
but the former walk-on has been a contributor this season.
Fe FT R.
'r MIN M-A U-A 0.1 A FPFTt
06 ". 26 2.8 36 46 45 7
D ery 20 4-5 0-0 1-4 4 3 8
8'kwa: 24 1.5 1-2 2-3 0 1 3
sterson 34 5-16 2-2 3-7 2 4 12
Aurlantal 35 5-8 1-1 2-2 3 3 11
Carlin 21 1.4 0.0 01 0 3 2
Hall 18 04 0-0 0240 3
coleman 16 2-5 01 1-3 0 4 4
Kosreini 3 00 00 000 0
MaF~k 1 0-0 0-0 0 00 0
Vrany 1 2-3 0-0 1-1 00 4
Bu kier 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals. x200 22-55 7-12 1736 1326 51
F. *400. FT%:.583. Threelmlt goals: 049,
"000 (Peterson 0-4, Carin'0.-2, Okey 01,
Daughtery 0-1, Hall 0-1). Blocks: 2 (Okey,
Coleman). Turnovers: 15 (Peterson 5. Hall 4,
Nwachukwa 2, Auriantal 2, Daughtery,
Kosolcharoen). Steas: 1 (Peterson). Technical
F8 FT RM
MIN MA MA 04 A F PTS
Conian 31 0-1 5-6 01 3 1 5
Taylor.-.... 27 6-11 0-0 02 04 12
Baston 24 44 5-8 3-6 1 3 13
Bullock, 30 4-10 34 15 2 1 14
Fife 33 1-3 2-4 1-2 1 1 5
White 24 1-5 7-9 0-4 1 2 9
MitChello,.. 22 3-6 1-2 1-2 0 1 7
-Morton 5 0.1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0
Oliver 2 01 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
DeKuiper 1 0-0 40 0-0 0 0 0
Szyndlar 1 0-0 0-0 'O0-000 0
Totals 200 19.42 23-33 10.30 813 65
G%: .452. FT%: .697. ThreeApont goals: 4-14,
86 (Bullock 3-7, Fife 1-3. Canan 0-1, Mitchell
0-1, Morton 0-1, Oliver 0-1). Blocks: 6 (Baston
2, White2, Taylor, Mitchell). Turnovers: 9
(Baston . White 3, Conlan, Bullock, Fife).
Steals: 5 (Baston 2, ConianWhite, Morton).
Technical Fouls: none.
.Wisconsin.....23 28 - 51
Michigan.......36 29 - 65
At: Crisler Arena; A: 13,562
But Spartan bid
comes up short
The A$ciated Press *
took a,,60 percent free-throw shooting
percentage, but not a shred of self-doubt,
when he stepped to the line with the game
in the balance.
#His final two points with 15 seconds
left sealed a 57-53 Indiana victory over
Michigan State Sunday.
"I knew how much time was left and
what ,the score was," he said. "I just
walked up to the line confident I'm
going,,, make these free throws, and
they went in."
Lindeman's accuracy ended Michi-
gan State's slim hopes for an NCAA
,ournament bid and may have played a
e"inhidiana's No.6 seed selection to
face Boston College at Orlando, Fla.,
MISsiSSIPPI STATE 84, KENTUCKY 73
Dontae' Jones scored 28 points as
No. 25 Mississippi State ended top-
ranked Kentucky's impressive run
through the Southeastern Conference
with a.84-73 victory yesterday in the
championship game ofthe league's tour-
Kentucky (28-2), which had won four
straight SEC tournament champion-
ships, had the nation's longest winning
streak at 27 games.
The Wildcats had also won 26 straight
games.1ans con ference opponents,
dating to a home loss to the same Bull-
dogs ". 14,"1995.
Mississippi State (22-7) was playing
in the SEC tournament final for the first
time since 1933, the league's first.
Mississippi State was only the sec-
ondteam to lead Kentucky at halftime
But the Bulldogs held on after build-
ingteg 43-3g8 lead.
IOWA-STATE 56, KANSAS 55
Dedric Willoughby, the Big Eight's
Continued from Page 1.6
Saturday's best-player honors for the Wolverines probably
should have been shared by Maceo Baston and Louis Bullock.
Baston had 13 points on perfect shooting and hauled down a
team-high six rebounds.
Bullock, who had 14 points and shot 3-for-7 from 3-point
range, has been thriving recently after being bogged down
temporarily. The freshman guard also had five rebounds; Bul-
lock scorched Northwestern for 21 points Wednesday.
Bullock, Conlan and senior captain Dugan Fife -- who
played his final game at Crisler Arena Saturday - are each
getting more minutes since Robert Traylor broke his arm. The
Wolverines have been starting all three guards since the car
accident that injured Traylor.
"When we have three guards on the court like that, any one
of us can handle it," Bullock said. "That makes us a lot faster
going up the court."
The Wolverines had better be fast going up the court: Their
tournament opponent, the Longhorns, are a speedy squad.
Michigan and Texas met two years ago in the second round
of the tournament; the 'horns were fast even then.
"I thought the tempo of the game was in our favor," Texas
coach Tom Penders said after that contest.
The final outcome, however, was in Michigan's favor. Fife
played 39 minutes and had three points, but it was 34 points and
18 rebounds from Juwan Howard that downed the Longhorns.
Fortunately for Texas, Howard is now an NBA All-Star.
He led his team in blocks, too, mak-
ing him the first player in conference
history to lead his team in all four cat--i
So how can Wolverine backers even think Bullock is at
candidate for the award?
The obvious answer is that Okey led a mediocre team'~
with solid but not flashy statistics. Bullock led a slightly
better team with a slightly better scoring average. He
threw in 13.3 points per game compared to Okey's 12.7,-
"I just think I had a pretty consistent year for my team,"
Bullock has fired 56 percent of his shots from 3-point
land. Of those, he has hit 39 percent for a total of 69 treys,
good for fourth place on Michigan's single-season list:',
Should he hit six in the NCAA Tournament, he would-
move into a tie for second. He is 10th on Michigan's career
list, but a repeat performance next year would put him-
solidly on top of that list.
Does the award weigh on Bullock's thoughts?
"I've been able to put that out of my mind and concen-
trate on playing," Bullock said. "It's a prestigious award,,
- I would love to get it."
LEAVING THE OLD STOMPING GROUNDS: Dugan Fife,'
Neal Morton and Ryan DeKuiper weren't the only Wol-
verines in their final games at Crisler Saturday. Assistant'
coach Jay Smith announced early in the season that he.
would be leaving after this year to take over the head
coaching job at Grand Valley State.
Head coach Steve Fisher said Smith's familiar stomp
will be missed in Ann Arbor.
"Jay's a guy who commands respect because of how
hard he works," Fisher said. "He's tough on them, but they
have to respect him."
Smith has been with Michigan for seven seasons, bu'
has been the restricted-earnings assistant.
THE NAME GAME: The Alumni Band, which played Sat-
urday so members of the regular ensemble could spendta
couple extra days in Key West, Acapulco or Newark, yelled t
its way into the skulls of a couple of Wisconsin players. -
Freshman Jeremy Hall, who insisted on pulling his
socks up to his knees a la Glenn Robinson, earned the-
moniker "Sockboy," while the band deemed Okey's last
name funny enough that no nickname was necessary. They'-
.hounded Okey by chanting his name for practically the
NOPPORN KINCHANANTHA/ Daily
Ballet It was not, but Albert White managed to block this Jeremy Hall offering on
his way to a nine-point, two-block effort. Michigan beat the Badgers, 65-51, to
earn a No. 7 seed In the NCAA Tournament.
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