The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - January 27, 1997 -- 5B
;AST LANSING - It wasn't a great game,
but it wasn't a bad one either.
Because of some strange thinking over at
the dig Ten offices in Chicago, the game didn't
evern'count toward the conference standings.
But after all, it was Michigan vs. Michigan
State, and even though nei-
team played a terrific
gane, it was fairly close, and.
if nothing else, very hard
The Wolverines didn't play
their best basketball of the
season, but behind a 17-4 run
early in the second half, they JOHN
played well enough to beat a
Michigan State team that just LEROI
isn't very good. Out of
-he game was pretty Bounds
entful. There were no
speitncular plays. The biggest
excitement was either the halftime show or
Robert Traylor's semi-obscene gesture he offered
in t direction of the Michigan State student
'Ihe officials blew their whistles early and
often, calling fouls not usually called in Big Ten
games. Then again, this wasn't a Big Ten game,
and the,calls went both ways.
5 Michigan's players exited the lockerrooms,
/ust well enough to win
you could tell they were happy to get the win,
confident that they played hard for 40 minutes,
but not completely satisfied with their output.
"We didn't play our best basketball, we just
had spurts when we played well," junior guard
Travis Conlan said.
"We've got to work on our transition game,"
he said. "They got a lot of easy baskets. "We've
got to work on getting back."
When the Wolverines didn't get back,
Michigan State guard Ray Weathers made them
pay. He hit three 3-pointers in transition without
a Michigan hand in his face.
But the Wolverines did a decent job of expos-
ing the Spartans' biggest weakness: their lack of
a big man in the middle. Maurice Taylor, Maceo
Baston and Traylor got more post touches than
they have since the Northwestern game on Jan. 4.
Taylor had his best game in a long, long time,
leading the Wolverines with 18 points in just 20
minutes, before fouling out with eight minutes
left in the game.
Traylor had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Baston finished with 12 points and I1 boards.
Chalk one up for Michigan for pounding the ball
But the Wolverines shot an anemic 31 percent
from the floor in the first half and finished at just
43 percent. The Wolverines made only three 3-
pointers, albeit against the conference's best 3-
Even worse, the Wolverines amassed just six
assists in the entire game, just two in the first
half. Michigan's two point guards, Conlan and
Brandun Hughes, had just one assist each - not
the sort of production Michigan coach Steve
Fisher will need against the conference's better
And as bad as the Wolverines shot from the
floor, they were even worse from the free-throw
line. After a respectable 10-of-14 in the first half,
Michigan botched 12 of its 23 attempts in the
second, including four straight and two in a row
from the usually reliable Louis Bullock.
The Wolverines finished shooting 56.8 percent
from the line. Not good enough for any game but
"Free-throw shooting was awful," Conlan said.
"We're lucky it wasn't a real close game, or that
would have hurt us."
The bottom line is Michigan won. The
Wolverines didn't play poorly, but they didn't
play well. They have a lot to improve on. The
Wolverines' next four games aren't especially dif-
ficult ones. But when Feb. 16 rolls around, and
Indiana visits Crisler, the Wolverines will be
kicking off a challenging five-game stretch that
will determine just how good this team is.
- John Leroi can be reached over e-mail at
Jumbled plays like this one were all too common in Saturday's non-conference
game between Michigan and Michigan State. The Wolverines won, 74-61.
'M' cagers in need of
charity from the line
Daily Sports Editors
EAST LANSING - Michigan forward Maceo
Baston has been one of the Wolverines' most pro-
lific free throw shooters recently.
He .has improved this season at the charity
stripe, particularly in his past five games, where he
is 17-for-20. In fact, he's been successful in his
past 41 trips to the foul line.
Putting Baston aside, it seems that the rest of
t Wolverines' free throw
oting has gone by the way- $yy: y,,,yI
The usually automatic Louis
Bultlcgk was an atrocious two-V
for-six from the line Saturday
night,.the worst showing of his
career. And Robert Traylor,4
even, though he is a sub-.500
foul shooter, lowered his per-
centage by matching Bullock's
frandun Hughes, Michigan's second-leading
marksman from the line at 81.8 percent, hit only
four of nine Saturday night.
Add them together, and even with Maurice
Taylr's eight-for-nine from the stripe, the
Wolverines shot a miserable 21 of 37 (56.8 per-
cent).for the evening. The 16 clangs were the
most.free throws the Wolverines have missed in
a game since Dec. 16, 1995, when they missed
17 .slots (15 for 32) in a 60-59 win over
010wever, Saturday's performance was not the
worpt for the Wolverines in terms of free-throw
percentage this season. That honor goes to the
crew that hit only 12 of 25 free throws in the 73-
71 victory over Arizona.
"We've got make more free throws down the
stretch," said Traylor, in one of Michigan's larger
understatements of the season.
THF EMPTY DISH: The Wolverines have never
been terrific in the assists category, but
Saturday's outing proved to be the worst perfor-
ce of the season.
Wolverines dished out just six assists
Saturday, two in the first half. It marked the
fourth time they had failed to reach double dig-
its this season.
Saturday in a
Traylor came one
rebound short of
fin1fhing with 14
points and nine
In fact, the Wolverines have only topped their
opponents seven times in the assists category this
season and only two times in their past 11 games.
Louis Bullock and Traylor had the only two
assists of the first half. Bullock finished the game
with two, just under his 2.6 season average. Travis
Conlan, on the other hand, leads the Wolverines in
assists at 4.2 a game. He dished out just one
NOT THE SAME OLD RIVALRY: Saturday's game
at Michigan State had the feel of a true
Wolverines'-Spartans' rivalry. The band played the
same fight song and green-and-white fan-sized
pom-pons lined the seats at Breslin. But Saturday's
game did not count toward the conference record.
For the 58th time in series history, the Spartans
and Wolverines tipped off as nonconference oppo-
nents. The addition of an eleventh team, Penn
State, to the Big Ten has created an imbalance in
various conference matchups.
The Big Ten teams currently play 18 conference
games per season, which did not change with the
advent of the Nittany Lions. To compensate for the
slight overload, some teams' two-game sets
throughout the season split into a nonconference
and a conference matchup.
This happened Saturday at Breslin.
Not to worry, though. The Wolverines and
Spartans will have a chance to resume their Big
Ten rivalry this Saturday at Crisler Arena.
The Wolverines hold an overall 86-56 series
advantage. The Wolverines edge out the Spartans
in games played in East Lansing, holding a 37-35
record, including 5-3 at Breslin. Michigan swept
last year's games and has won six of the past
MILESTONES: Junior forward Taylor hit the
1,000-point mark of his career in Michigan's 88-
74 victory over Illinois on Jan. 9, becoming the
34th player in Michigan history to top 1,000
After Saturday's game, he is just eight rebounds
shy of 500 for his Michigan career. If he eclipses
the 500 mark, he will become just the 17th
Michigan player to reach 1,000 points and 500
boards for his career.
Baston pulled down 11 boards Saturday to
eclipse the 500 mark. His career total now
stands at 510. He is, however, 204 points shy of
STATE COLLEGE (AP) - Play
defense. Make free throws. Two essen-
tials almost from the day basketball was
The Hoosiers returned to the two old
reliables to avoid a second upset loss at
Penn State in as many seasons, getting
seven straight points from A.J. Guyton
to start a 26-2 first-half run and beat the
Lions, 70-55, yesterday.
N led No. 21 Indiana
with a season-high
CONFERENCE 17 points as tihe
Roundup Hoosiers (4-3 Big
Ten, 17-4 overall)
made 30-of-35 free throws to Penn
With guard Neil Reed rarely letting
Penn State (1-6, 8-8) scoring star 'ete
Lisicky get open looks at the basket, the
Lions twice went long stretches without
a field goal. Penn State went 11:11 with-
out a basket in the first half as Indiana
opened a 33-10 lead, and 6:18 in the sec-
ond half during an 11-0 Hoosiers run.
Lisicky, one of the Big Ten's top shoot-
ers, was held to seven points --10 below
his average - on 3-of-11 shooting.
No.8 MINNESOTA 91, PuRDuE 68
Bobby Jackson had 20 points and eight
rebounds as No. 8 Minnesota (7-1, 18-2)
continued its push toward its first Big Ten
title since 1982 with a 91-68 victory over
three-time defending conference chaimpi-
on Purdue on Saturday night.
Eric Harris and Sam Jacobson added
17 points each for the Golden Gophers,
who had lost their last seven games to
The Boilermakers (4-3, 9-8), who
start three freshmen, got a career-high
30 points from junior Chad Austin,
.whose previous high of 27 came at
Minnesota last season. Brad Miller,
Purdue's leading scorer, scored just six
points and took only two shots.
WISCONsIN 73, ILLIOIS 56
Duany Duany scored 20 points and
hit all five of his 3-point shots as
Wisconsin beat Illinois, 73-56, Saturday.
The Badgers (3-4, 10-6) used their
size advantage to dominate the inside
game. The Illini (4-3, 14-5) forced 17
Wisconsin turnovers but often couldn't
turn them to their advantage as they shot
a dismal 28 percent from the floo.
Wisconsin held a double-digit lead
for most of the second half,, and
outscored the Illini, 11-7, in the final
three minutes. The closest Illinois came
in the second half was seven, 31-24, on
a basket by Kiwane Garris.
NORTHwESTERN 78, OmO STAE 47
Northwestern ended a nine-game los-
ing streak Saturday, routing Ohio State,
78-47, the Wildcats' first Big Ten win
The margin of victory was
Northwestern's largest in a Big Ten
game since the Wildcats beat Chicago
77-20 in the 1943-44 season.
Northwestern (1-6, 6-12) never trailed
Saturday, raced to a 14-2 lead andthen
crushed the sloppy Buckeyes before a
small crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Ohio State (2-5, 7-9) lost its fourth
straight in its lowest-scoring game of the
Michigan guard Louis Bullock drives past Spartans' guard Ray Weathers on Saturday night. Bullock fin-
Ished with 15 points, and Weathers led Michigan State with 14, including 11 In the first half. Bullock hit
just two 3-pointers against the league's best 3-point defense.
Continued from Page 11B
The 13-point win certainly could not
have been predicted at halftime, when
the score was knotted at 30.
The nip-and-tuck first half saw the
Wolverines move out to a five-point lead
with 8:44 to play, but the Spartans were
able to pull even at the half.
Taylor's two free throws with just
under a minute remaining put the
Wolverines up, 30-27, but the Spartans
came right back, after senior guard Ray
Weathers nailed a 3-pointer to tie the
game going into the break.
Both teams started the second half as
they played the first, with neither side
able to gain an advantage for the first 2
But when Bullock found Taylor for a
jam with 17:05 to play, the Wolverines
were off to the races.
Baston scored on two consecutive
trips down the floor, the second of his
two buckets nudging the Wolverines'
lead to 42-36.
That was when Bullock, Michigan's.
leading scorer, got into the act.
Bullock banged in a jumper with
14:06 to play, and was the beneficiary of
some solid defense on the ensuing
Michigan State possession.
When the Spartans went to senior
forward Jon Garavaglia in the post, the
not have been happier with the timing
of his squad's run.
"We got our spurt through defense,"
Fisher said. "They gave us a few more
post touches than we've gotten, and we
got more baskets from our post play-
Taylor came out of the contest brim-
ming with confidence after hitting five
of nine shots, eight of nine free throws,
and grabbing seven boards.
"No one's going to stop me when I'm
on," he said. "Unless you play zone and
double me, I really can score at will.
"All of our post players are like that."
FO FT REB
MIN MA M-A0-T A F PTS
Taylor 20 5-9 &9 3-7 0 5 18
Ward 25 1-8 12 1-6 1 0 3
Traylor 30 6-13 2-6 4-9 1 5 14
Bullock 32 5-8 2-6 0-3 2 3 14
Conlan 34 1-3 2-3 2-7 1 2 4
Hughes 31 2-6 4-9 1-2 1 2 9
Baston 27 5-11 2-2 5-11 0 4 12
Vignier 1 0-0 0.0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 25-5821-3716466 21 74
FG%: .431. FT%- .568. 3-oint FG: 3-10,
.300 (Bullock 2-3, Hughes 1-3, Conlan 01,
Ward 0-3). Blocks: 2 (Ward, Traylor).
Steals: 6 (Baston 2, Taylor, Ward, Bullock,
Hughes). Technical Fouls: none.
MICHIGAN STATE (61)
FG FT REB
MIN -A M-A0-T A F PTS
Smith 32 2-3 1-6 3-6 1 2 5
Peterson 23 3-6 0-0 1-4 2 3 6
Garavaglia 33 5-14 3-4 3-11 13 2 13