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December 05, 1996 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-05

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 5, 1996 - A

Blue cagers prepare for

clash with Watson's

Titans

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Editor
It's tough to get up-for a game where
your opponent considers it a rivalry but
you see it as another cupcake-type,
early-season game.
That's what the Michigan men's bas-
ketball team will be facing tonight
when Detroit comes to Crisler Arena.
And undoubtedly, the Wolverines are
thinking ahead to a little get-together
on Sunday in Durham, N.C., against
10th-ranked Duke.
But Michigan has to focus on the
business at hand before psyching itself
up for its biggest non-conference game
of the season.
The seventh-ranked Wolverines (3-
0) and Titans (2-2) will be squaring
off for the sixth straight year and 23rd
time overall. Michigan has won the
last eight meetings between the two
teams by an average of almost 16
points and holds an 18-4 advantage in
the all-time series.
But as the cliche goes, records are
put aside when revenge is brought into
the equation. And that has been a recent,
factor in this intrastate matchup.
Detroit coach Perry Watson served as
an assistant to Fisher for two seasons -
from 1991 to 1993 - before taking his

current position. He undoubtedly wants
to show up his former mentor.
Leon Derricks, the Titans' starting
power forward and third-leading scorer,
played his first two seasons at Michigan
before transferring to Detroit. While at
"We had a tough
game with them
last year at their
place. It's going to.
bre a tough game
this year They' re
a good team."
-- Steve Fisher
Michigan basketball coach on
the Detroit basketball team
Michigan, Watson recruited the 6-foot-9
Derricks out of Flint Northwestern High
School. In 1994,. after a year of being
apart from Watson, and two years of
playing limited minutes behind Juwan

Howard and Chris Webber, Derricks
headed about 30 miles east to Detroit.
But the Wolverines have some
Detroit ties of their own. Assistant
coach Scott Perry served in a similar
position for the Titans from 1988 to
1993 under then-Detroit head coach,
Ricky Byrdsong. Perry went on to take
an assistant's post at California before
finding his way to Ann Arbor.
Detroit's squad is composed entirely
of state-bred talent, mostly coming
from the city's metropolitan area.
Leading that group are a pair of presea-
son first-team all-Midwestern
Collegiate Conference selections,
Derrick Hayes and Carl Pickett.
Hayes is a junior transfer from Iowa
State who played at Detroit
Southwestern High School. Pickett, an
Ann Arbor product, was the Titans'
leading scorer last year at 14.3 points
per game. Although Hayes paces
Detroit in scoring with a 15.5 average,
Pickett has slumped miserably in his
last two games, scoring only seven total
points against not-so-powerful power-
houses Austin Peay and Hawaii.
But Fisher is counting on Detroit
playing up to the level of its opposition
instead of the way it did in losses to
Bowling Green and Hawaii.
"I'm like every coach," Fisher said.
"I always worry. (Detroit) has kids that
we didn't recruit and that's added incen-
tive. They've got Perry Watson who
coached here for two years. That's
added incentive.
"We had a tough game with them last
year at their place. It's going to be a
tough game this year. They're a good
team."
That might going a bit too far with
the let's-be-nice-to-the-underdog
approach. Michigan's 68-48 victory last
year at Cobo Arena in Detroit can hard-
ly be considered close, although the
Wolverines led by only four points at
the half.
If they're not careful, the Wolverines
could be in for more than they bar-
gained for. Hardly playing basketball at
the caliber of a top-10 team, Michigan's
recent nailbiters against unranked foes,
Cleveland State and Bradley, make it a
prime candidate for an early-season
upset.
However, the Wolverines have been
getting solid scoring numbers from
Louis Bullock and Maurice Taylor -
but they sometimes haven't been show-
ing up until the second half of games.
Michigan's top two scorers are averaging

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
The Michigan men's basketball team will take on the Detroit Titans, who are coached by ex-Michigan assistant Perry Watson,
tonight at 7:30 at Crisler Arena. The seventh-ranked Wolverines beat Bradley, 66-64, in overtime Monday night.

a combined 49 points per game. In addi-
tion, Bullock is connecting on over 56
percent of his shots from behind the arc.
Taylor has stepped up his defense --his
block on Bradley's Cameron Rigby as
time expired, secured the Wolverines'
66-64 victory Monday night.

Center Robert Traylor is pacing
Michigan with his 69.6 field-goal per-
centage and 8.7 rebounds per game.
He will certainly get a couple of big
Detroit bodies to knock around in the
post in Derricks and 6-foot-9 center
Brian Alexander.

HELPING OUT: The Michigan
Athletic Department is asking fans
coming to tonight's game to donat
non-perishable canned goods or dr
boxed goods. All food will be collected
at the door and will be donated to the
Salvation Army-Arbor Haven.

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