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December 06, 1996 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-06

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18 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 1996

Outsiders crash family reunion

Conlan-'s little

F.
. a.

By DanIelle Rumore
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan-Detroit men's bas-
ketball rivalry is one of the oldest in
Wolverines' history, dating back to
1919.
The rivalry continues today, with
the talk of ties between the two pro-
grams, a sort-of broken family syn-
drome. It continued last night at
Crisler -Arena. Detroit coach Perry
Watson, previously an assistant at
Michigan, left the Wolverines for the
Titans in 1993. And Detroit senior
Leon Derricks transferred from
Michigan in 1994.
Detroit forward Carl Pickett, an
Ann Arbor native, dumped down 19
points and four rebounds for the
Titans last night. Amid the family
batie, a little like two brothers
geing at it, it was two outsiders, the
adopted' members, who made the
most noise for the Wolverines.
Texas native Maceo Baston and
Maryland native Louis Bullock made
their presence felt last night in
Michigan's 75-59 victory over Detroit.
And it wasn't easy being noticed last

night among the jawing and physical
play. Just ask Michigan's Robert
Traylor and Maurice Taylor, who each
donned bandages on their arms and
face, respectively. And ask Derricks,
who fouled out, with just 2:19 remain-
ing in the contest.
But the 'B' brothers played a big
part in the reason the Wolverines
were able to stretch their lead out
toward the end. A game that was rel-
atively close for 30 minutes was
blown open with Baston's rebounds
and put-backs and Bullock's down-
town shooting touch.
Baston suffered an Achilles ten-
don injury before the start of the
season which sidelined him until the
Cleveland State game Nov. 30. Last
night, he looked like he never left,
scoring 15 points and dragging
down six boards.
After a slow start by the
Wolverines, which resulted in a 36-
34 Detroit lead at the half, the
Wolverines came on strong in the
second, especially Baston.
Rebounding, which has been a
rather sore subject with the

Wolverines, was not a problem come
the second half. The rebounding war
in the first was relatively close; the
Wolverines had a 22-19 margin. But
come the second, Detroit disap-
peared. The Wolverines had 27
boards in the second compared to
Detroit's nine.
"We haven't been going to the
glass aggressively the whole season
so far," Baston said. "They had the
lead for most of the first half, so we
had to come in (in the second) and
turn it around."
And Baston turned around, all
over the floor racing for loose balls,
going to the glass and playing
aggressively when it mattered.
Forget the ankle; he certainly did.
Baston leaped over the bench going
for a loose ball late in the second,
taking down a student-manager in
the process.
"My condition is coming along
good, and I feel pretty good," Baston
said with a giggle.
Bullock, the sharp-shooting guard
and a true perimeter threat, finished
See FAMILY, Page 19

Maceo Baston scored 15 points against Detroit last night.

I

WANT THE
MOST
COMPLETE
COVERAGE
OF THE
MICHIGAN
-DUKE
BASKET-
BALL
GAME?
LOOK NO
FURTHER
THAN-
SPORTS
MONDAY.
ONLY IN
THE
MICHIGAN
DAILY,

play looms large.
th just under two minutes remaining in the first
half of last night's game against Detroit. Michigan
guard Travis Conlan made a great play.1It wasn't
one of those flashy plays that's ,oing to get him on all the
late-night highlight reels. Those things are better left to the.
likes of Maurice Taylor and Maceo Baston.
No, what Conlan did was much simpler. and yet it mu1ay
the best single play by a Wolverine this season.
Taylor got the ball in the post, on the right side, backed his
man in a little, turned and put up the shot. It hit the front of
the rim and bounced down and to the right.
And there was Conlan, having snuck in along the baseline
and found an open spot under the basket. The ball fell right
into his waiting hands, and he put it right back into the buck-
et. After trailing by as many as eight points, the Wolverines
were now only behind by one.
That play, and the man who made it, epitomize some of
the stuff that's been getting lost in Michigan's season so farI
When you think of a typical offensive series of
Michigan's, what often comes to mind is some huge, rim-rat-
tling, maybe even backboard-shattering dunk by one of the
big men. That's the kind of thing that gets the hype and the
highlights, and it was the big men who made the covers of a
lot of pre-season publications.
As far as the guards go, the focus
during the preseason was on the shoot-
ing prowess of Louis Bullock or on the
highly touted newcomer to the guard
spot, Brandun Hughes. Conlan, when
mentioned at all, was often little more
than an afterthought.
WILL But Conlan's little play along the
MCCAHILL baseline, when he braved the forest of,
big men to come away with the ball, is
Wath tlk in undeniably what Michigan needs to do
more of. It's the kind of play you see on
a Bobby Knight team, a Dean Smith
team, a Mike Krzyzewski team. And those are teams men-
tioned in the same breath as Michigan, by virtue of the
Wolverines' lofty No. 7 ranking.
Those other teams make a bunch of plays like Conlan's
every time they hit the floor. So far this season, the
Wolverines have made but a handful, if that.
Plays like Conlan's are a good measure of the character of
a team. To be sure, it's early in the season for a team's char-
acter to be set in stone, but by the fourth game, one ought to
be seeing signs.
They say good teams win close games. That is something
Michigan has done so far. And the Wolverines have dons it
when they've played badly, which is another sign of a good
team, supposedly. So maybe we are seeing some signs, the
first sprouts of character in this young basketball season.
"We needed a little spark," Conlan said of his little play.
"That got us a' little fired up, and I got a little emotional"
"That's a side of me you don't usually see - I get fired up
inside, but I don't really show it. When I showed it, I think
the team got a little excited."
And that excitement was evident in the second half,as,
Michigan went from being down by two at the half to blow-
ing the Titans out, 75-59.
Plays like Conlan's little jaunt along the baseline are easily
overlooked, especially when the Wolverines pull out a hug
second-half performance like last night's. Plays like that ar
just as easy not to make, too. But as Travis Conlan showed
last night, sparks fly when they are made, and the Wolverines
are an easily-ignited team.
Is the fire under the Wolverines lit? And if it is, will it con-
tinue to burn? Or will Duke be able to snuff it out?
We'll see Sunday.
Will McCahill can be reached over c-mail at
wmcc@umich..edu.

__-- ' ' -''ml

10

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