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March 25, 1996 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-25

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 25, 1996

Ohio State derails'M'spikers in 1st round of Big

'By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
Climbing a hill may require perseverance,
but for every step forward there is sometimes
a slip backward. Those slips are what ruin a
'season.
At this weekend's Big Ten Championships in
Columbus, Michigan beat the teams it faced in
pool play but faltered when the tournament
competition began.
In the first round of pool play, Michigan beat
Michigan State for the first time this season. The
two teams played two close games with the
Wolverines winning both.
.a The 15-13, 16-14 triumph over the Spartans
gave Michigan the confidence it needed to roll
over Northwestern and Indiana. The Wildcats

Men upset by last-seeded Buckeyes despite 6-2 run in pool play

succumbed 15-5, 15-6, and the Hoosiers fell just
as easily. Even after a brief setback at the hands
of Wisconsin, the Wolverines were more fo-
cused than they had been in weeks.
After those matches, Michigan was ener-
gized, ready to take on the mightiest of foes.
Riding a tidal wave of emotion, the Wolver-
ines were the strongest they had been all
season long.
Power spiker Andy Spitser's return from a
broken thumb put the best team on the floor. The
inconsistency that had plagued the Wolverines

before was gone and they were fulfilling their
potential.
"(Along with Spitser), having Ernesto
Rodriguez helped us out a with his experience,"
Michigan coach Kent Booker said.
But then it all came crashing down. Michigan
had won its pool with a 6-2 record, gaining the
first seed going into the tournament round. The
Wolverines' first opponent was the hometown
Buckeyes, who were seeded last. This obvious
mismatch had the Wolverines excited at the
prospects of advancing.

'Not inKansas nymore

ot in Kansas an ore:
Orangemen prevail

The Associated Press
DENVER - All along, it figured a
Big East team would be in the Final
Four. Of the conference's five tourna-
ment teams, though, Syracuse didn't
figure to be the one.
The Orangemen succeeded where
-Connecticut and Georgetown failed,
, upsetting Kansas 60-57 yesterday to
win the West Regional and earn a berth
in the Final Four for the first time since
.1987. Syracuse will face Mississippi
State, a 73-63 winner over Cincinnati,
in the semifinals Saturday at the Mead-
owlands in New Jersey.
The victory wasn't pretty, but it didn't
need to be. The Jayhawks were frus-
.trated by miserable shooting and a tight
2-3 zone that Syracuse packed inside to
shut down the Kansas big men.
When Jacque Vaughn's last 3-point
attempt clanged off the rim as time ran
.out, Syracuse players mobbed each other
on the floor in celebration of their im-
probable run into the Final Four.
{ "Meadowlands, baby!" screamed Ja-
son Cipolla, who made a free throw
with 12.5 seconds to give fourth-seeded
Syracuse its final margin.
The Orangemen, who came into the
tournament off a 85-67 loss to Con-
necticut in the Big East tournament,
,,,romped against Montana State and
,rexel before winning an overtime
game against Georgia.
'"No one picked us to even get to a
regional final," Syracuse coach Jim
Boeheim said. "The kids didn't worry
about that. They just came out to play."
Kansas managed to hold Syracuse
star John Wallace in check, but in a
game in which the Jayhawks desper-
ately needed the outside shot, they could
hit only 4-of-25 3-point attempts.

Cincinnati gets 'dogged out

The Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. - An incred-
ibletwo-week run has Mississippi State
in its first Final Four. Now all the
Bulldogs have to do is keep it going.
They added to their impressi ve close
of the season yesterday with a 73-63
victory over Cincinnati in the champi-
onship game of the Southeast Regional.
The Bearcats were only the latest
high-profile team to fall to a school
that suddenly has grabbed everybody's
attention.
Mississippi State beat then-No. I
Kentucky in the Southeastern Confer-
ence tournament championship game
14 days ago and knocked out top-
seeded Connecticut on Friday night in
the regional semifinals. In the week-
end wins over the region's top two
seeds, the Bulldogs never trailed.
Next up for fifth-seeded Mississippi
State (26-7), which has won seven
straight, will be Syracuse, which beat
Kansas 60-57 in the West Regional
final, in Saturday's semifinals at the
The final attempt by Vaughn was
symbolic of Kansas' utter inability to
hit the long shot. The Jayhawks had
plenty of time to set up the last shot, but
Vaughn was forced to take it at the last
second as the Syracuse defense stretched
out to deny the final points.
"I had a pretty good look, but it just
didn't go," Vaughn said. "Our thoughts
were to get that shot off a little faster
and maybe get a rebound if we missed."

Meadowlands in New Jersey.
"Dreams are coming true for us,"
said Dontae' Jones, who led the Bull-
dogs with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Top-ranked Massachusetts will
play No. 2 Kentucky in the other
national semifinal, and the winners
meet next Monday night.
The SEC had two teams in the
Final Four for the second time in
three years.In 1994, Floridaand even-
tual champion Arkansas made it to
the national semifinals.
Mississippi State played its usual
tight defense against Cincinnati (28-
5), which was looking for its second
Final Four appearance in the '90s,
and was able to hold off the one big
run the Bearcats made at them.
Jones, the unanimous selection as
regional MVP, had 28 points in the
84-73 victory over Kentucky, only
the Wildcats' second loss of the sea-
son. Yesterday, he had 15 points in
the game's opening 7:19, making six
of his first seven shots.

Cleaves to announce today

From Staff Reports
Mateen Cleaves, Flint Northern
high school senior and athlete
extraordinaire, has called a press con-
ference for noon today to announce
his choice of college.
Cleaves has been highly recruited
for his basketball skills, but wants to

play football as well.
The Ann Arbor News reported yes-
terday that friends of Cleaves said he
was headed to Michigan State, con-
firming months of rumors that he
would join high school friend Anto-
nio Smith on coach Tom Izzo's bas-
ketball team.

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