10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 19, 1996
Wolvenbes' defense is nothng short of ofnsive
Michigan men's basketball
coach Steve Fisher said
some things last night like,
"We got work to do" and "It was as
much them as it was us in the first
And Maurice Taylor said some
things like, "We're not in a state of
panic" and "There's just some minor
things we have to get better in ..."
And as hard as Fisher and the
Wolverines try to sugarcoat last
night's loss to Athletes in Action,.
last night's exhibition game means a
lot more than
they may be
willing to admit.
It does matter,
should be con-
You see, one
thing came into DANIELLE
focus a week RUMORE
Australia Ru re
Adelaide and Has It
clear last night: The Wolverines can-
not play defense, and that tends to
be a problem during basketball
And if it continues, it will be
another long, mediocre season for
The athletes that comprise AIA
are more concerned about spreading
the word of God than spreading the
floor, zone defense and layups. But
AIA was more of like a personal
Hell for Michigan last night, as the
Wolverines found themselves asking
for some divine intervention.
Athletes in Action shot the lights
out from behind the arc, hitting a
total 12 of 21 3-pointers, nine of 14
in the first half, and 41 of 60 from
the field. They held a 15-point lead
at the half, 63-48, and were up by
18 early in the second.
If it weren't for Taylor, who fin-
ished with a blistering 40 points, the
game would have been long over at
And the funny thing is, AIA can-
not shine Michigan's shoes offen-
sively. Not many people will ques-
tion Michigan's offensive capabili-
ties this season, but Athletes in
Action are not exactly the epitome
of offensive prowess. They do not
have a great inside game; their
strength lies on the perimeter.
And they shot from the perimeter
all night, they got too many good
looks at the basket, and the
Wolverines could not do much to
Then again, when you don't con-
test shots and step out and put a
hand in a shooter's face, not much
stops them from sinking a few treys.
Before the Wolverines could
remember a lyric or two from Sister
Act, AIA burned the Wolverines in
the rear, draining 3-pointer after 3-
pointer and pull-up jumper after
They were on fire - it must have
been their little red jerseys.
And when Athletes in Action were
not embarrassing the Wolverines'
outside defense, AIA managed to
turn their mediocre inside game into
AIA managed to beat the
Wolverines down the floor on
almost every fast-break opportunity
and score easy baskets. And they
managed to find easy backdoor cuts,
scoring more than their fair share of
layups. If you leave the door open,
someone will come in. Plain and
"We were looking for backdoor
cuts," AIA coach Chuck Badger
said. "I didn't think we would get
Continued from Page 9
shoot as if the baskets were magnets
for the ball. They built on their lead
immediately following the break and
after a 3-pointer from Scott
Campbell less than a minute in, AIA
had built their biggest lead - an 18-
point margin at 68-50.
Then Maurice Taylor draped him-
self in a cape, put a big 'S' on his
chest and took Michigan on his back
for the remainder of the game.
Taylor scored a career-high 40
points with 22 of them coming after
He was consistently able to beat
whoever was guarding him to the
baseline for easy dunks and layups.
He also grabbed a game-high eight
Jerod Ward also helped chop the
Michigan deficit, converting a pair
of second-half layups, running the
court well and playing stingy
With Taylor getting the ball virtu-
ally every time Michigan came down
the floor, the Wolverines were able to
cut into the AIA lead, trimming the
margin to five points, 75-70, with 12
minutes to go.
After AIA's Clayton Ritter and
Taylor traded baskets, making it 77-
72, the Athletes turned even more
Action-packed, blowing the game
open for good..
Ritter hit another layup and then
following a Michigan miss on a third
chance, Campbell hit his fourth 3-
pointer of the evening, running the
lead to 10 points with 10:37 left to
For the next four minutes, the
teams traded baskets and the lead
wavered between eight and 10
points. Then with just over six min-
utes remaining, AIA's top gun,
Erwin Claggett buried a 3-pointer to
make it 91-78 and sent many of the
Crisler Arena fans to the parking lot.
Ritter and Claggett led a corps of
six Athletes in double figures with
19 and 18 points, respectively.
A major concern for Fisher after
the game was the Wolverines'
defense, or lack thereof. In previous
years, Michigan has been among the
Big Ten's elite defensive teams. But
last night was the Wolverines' worst
defensive effort since they allowed
Arizona to pour in 119 points early
in the 1993-94 season.
"Our defense is a liability to us
right now," Fisher said. "They had
eight or nine easy lay-ups. You c.an't
give good teams that."
A key factor in Michigan's lack-
luster defensive effort was the
absence of Maceo Baston for the
second straight game with a strained
Without Baston, as well as backup
guard Ron Oliver, Fisher was forced
to go with a seven-man rotation. And
that definitely caught up with his
team in the second half.
"We need to get Maceo back and
maintain a relative degree of health,"
But the post-game atmosphere in
the Michigan lockerroom wasn't at
all hysterical, but rather wary -
wary of the adjustments the
Wolverines will need to make before
next Tuesday's season-opener against
"Right now, we're not in a state of
panic," Taylor said. "There's just
some minor things we have to get
better in defensively."
ATHLETES IN ACTION
if Robert Traylor's defense was as intimidating as his low-post presence, Michigan
may have been able to hang with Athletes in Action last night.
FG FT REB
PIN P-A M-A 0-T A F' PTS
Timberlake 13 3-4 0-0 2-3 1 4 6
Farkas 13 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 1 2
Pearson 28 7-8 2-2 2-4 3 3 16
Good 20 5-7 0-0 0-0 1 0 11
Campbell 37 6-9 1-4 0-2 8.3 17
Ritter 29 7-11 3-4 2-6 2 5 19
Mobley 5 1-1 0-0 0-1 1 1 3
Claggett 28 6-10 2-3 0-4 7 0 18
Kubel 12 4-6 2-2 1-2 0 1 10
Henderson 15 1-2 0-0 2-6 0 1 2
Totals 200 41-6010-158-33 2319104
FG%: .683. FT%:.667. 3-point FG: 12-21,
.571 (Campbell 4-7, Claggget 4-7, Ritter 2-
4, Good'1-1, Mobley 1-1, Pearson 0-1).
Blocks: 6 (Claggett 2, Pearson 2, Ritter 2).
Steals: 4 (Claggett, Farkas, Good, Ritter).
Technical Fouls: none.
that many (backdoor layups)."
Athletes in Action's 5-foot-8 Scott
Campbell should never be able to
score a layup with 6-foot-8, 300-pound
Robert Traylor guarding the lane.
But he did, and so did a lot of the
other red-jerseyed, bible readers.
Yes, exhibition games do not
count in the record, and yes, no one
will remember or care about this
game in two months.
But what will the Wolverines do
against the lowas and Indianas of
the basketball world if they can't
beat Athletes in Action?
"The best thing about playing
teams like this, is it gives you a
chance to evaluate all the things
you're not very good at," Fisher
And the Wolverines are not very
good at defense.
Fisher may be happy that this was
an exhibition game and that his
Wolverines will enter the regular
season 0-0, but the Wolverines have
some problems right now.
They need to develop a reliable
defense, and fast.
That's something to pray for.
- Danielle Rumore can be reached
over e-mail at drumoreurmich.edu.
FG FT REB
M-A M-A O-T A F PTS
5-11 3-4 1-2 5 1 16
16-21 8-11 2-8 1 2 40
6-10 2-4 4-6 2 3 14
3-12 0-0 1-2 1 2 9
0-5 1-2 2-4 5 3 1
2-3 0-0 3-3 1 1 4
5-12 1-2 2-3 4 2 12
0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
FG%: ,500. FT%: .652. 3-point FG: 7-22
.318 (Ward 3-7, Bullock 3-9, Hughes 1-3,
Conlan 0-3). Blocks: 1 (Traylor). Steals: 6
(Conlan 3, Taylor 2, Bullock). Technical
Michigan ............48 48 -96
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9 - CLOSE
Continued from Page 9
"I got at him," Carr said. "I told
him, 'Don't ever accept blame for.
defeat. That's my job.' We're 7-and-3,
that's my fault, not his."
When it comes right down to it,
however, this week is Michigan-Ohio
State, and there are no givens accept
for one: motivation isn't a problem,
even coming off two losses.
"I told our players and coaches that
if I have to pick them up, they're in the
wrong program," Carr said. "This is
Ohio State. This is the biggest game
on our schedule."
WHICH WAR Now?: Earlier in the
season, Payne likened the Michigan-
Michigan State rivalry to the Civil
War. So what about Michigan-Ohio
"It's somewhere around a fight
between the two groups that hate each
other the most," Payne said. "Like the
Capulets and the Montagues."
After a brief applause for his knowl-
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that he had just seen Romeo and#
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"No, it was a date," Payne replied.
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