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February 19, 1997 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-19

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MEN'S
BASKETBALL
(6) DUKE 84,
(8) Clemson 77
(9) S. CAROLINA 78,
Arkansas 65
(11) CINCINATTI 97,
Houston 64
Purdue 89,
(24) INDIANA 87

WOMEN'S
BASKETBALL
(2) OLD DOMINION 88,
East Carolina 43
N.C. CHARLOTTE 69,
(6) Alabama 67 OT
(24) Tulane 77,
NICHOLS STATE 57
PRO
BASKETBALL

NEW YORK 95,
Phoenix 94
Miami 111.
PHILADELPHIA 83
UTAH 113,
San Antonio 105
CHICAGO 134,
Denver 123
Dallas at
LA CUPPERS, inc.

Minnesota at
SACRAMENTO, Inc.
PRO
HOCKEY
Calgary 5,
BUFFALO 5
PITTSBURGH 4,
Florida 2
Ottowa 6,
WASHINGTON 1

Wednesday
February 19, 1997

9

-'M' hoops still seeing red

By Will MCahill
Daily Sports Editor
Two days after the fact, Sunday's over-
time loss to Indiana is still weighing
heavily on the minds of the Michigan
basketball team.
The Wolverines led by 18 at the half
and by as many as 20 in the second half,
ut when the final buzzer sounded, they
were somehow on the short end of the
84-81 final score.
For sophomore center Robert Traylor,
who fouled out late in the second half, the
defeat couldn't have been more bitter.
"It's the toughest loss I've faced in my
two years here" he said.
"We were up 18;"he said. "There's no
way we shouldn't have won that game.'
Traylor said the atmosphere in the
Sckerroom after the game was one of
stunned silence.
"Just being on the bench the last six or
seven minutes of the game, I'm sitting
there and I'm like, 'I just don't believe
this is happening,"'he said.
"We were up 18, and the game was
that close going down to the end. After
the game in the lockerroom, it was quiet,
nobody saying anything - I'm pretty
sure everybody felt the same feeling I
Junior forward Maceo Baston said he
felt almost numb as he watched the lead
evaporate.
"We were up 20, and they would hit a
3-pointer, and we would go down and
get a foul against us, and they would get

another 3-pointer, and we wouldn't score
- the threes catch you back up in a
hurry," he said.
"It happened so fast - you look up (at
the scoreboard) and you're down, or it's
tied up, and you're like, 'Man, what hap-
pened to our lead?"'
Coach Steve Fisher said he used the
day off Monday to meet individually
with each player and rehash the previous
day's debacle.
"I told them the one thing they had to
know is that if they didn't feel down,
they should," Fisher said.
"And if they felt bad, they would have
to get way in line behind me, because
nobody felt worse about it than I did.
"We had a game that we had won that
we gave away," he said. "That was our
game to win."
The fact that his team allowed the
Hoosiers - led by freshman guard A.J.
Guyton - to come from six points
behind in the final 1 1/2 minutes partic-
ularly irked Fisher.
"A six-point lead with 1:12 to go, you
cannot lose that game, and we did," he
said. "That's inexcusable for all of us,
unacceptable, yet it happened"
On Indiana's final possession, the
Hoosiers inbounded the ball to freshman
center Jason Collier, who attracted more
than his share of Michigan defenders
before kicking the ball out to Guyton,
waiting patiently - and alone - just
beyond the arc.
Fisher said the Wolverines have a sim-

ilar play in their offensive arsenal, and
the key to its success is drawing enough
attention away from the inbounder for
him to get an open look at the basket.
On Sunday, it was just that sort of play
that allowed Guyton to nail the 3-pointer
that put the game into overtime.
"When the ball went into the post to
Collier, there was enough of a turn of the
head, just to see where the ball was
going, that allowed Guyton to go from
standing next to you to being out above
the 3-point line" Fisher said.
And that turn of the head was just
enough for Indiana to turn what had
looked like a Michigan win into a night-
mare.
"Their last basket can't happen,"
Fisher said. "You can't allow a score to
occur like that. You can't let a guy get six
feet off of you, (because) when you
glance away, he's now 12 feet off of you"
Indeed, he said the defeat was among
the most devastating of his career.
"This is one of the biggest (losses)
we've had since I've been the head
coach," he said.
"To lose that game, the way we did, at
home ...:'
If there are any positives to be gleaned
from the shambles, Baston said they are
the lessons the Wolverines can draw.
"You don't learn when you're at your
high. You learn when you're at your low,"
he said.
"We're learning right now. We can't
afford to lose big leads like that."

4.i

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daly
Maceo Baston and the Wolverines are still grasping for answers after blowing a 20-point lead against Indiana on Sunday./D,
Baston scored a team-high 24 points before fouling out In overtime. He was the second of three Wolverines - sophomore
center Robert Traylor and junior guard Travis Conian were the others - to make an early exit.

" BOTTERILL CONQUERS PSYCHOLOGY OF THE GAME

Mind over matter jumpstarts Wolverine after slow beginning:

By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports Writer
Watch out. Or Jason
Botterill might just
psych you out.
2 < For the past four
years, the
Michigan forward
has been beating
his opponents with
talent and size. At 6-
foot-4, 217 pounds, the
senior assistant captain is
usually the biggest guy on
the ice.
But the Canadian-born Botterill
possesses another weapon, one that's
not so evident from the outside -
psychology.
Botterill's father, Cal, is
a famous and highly-
respected sports
psychologist in
Canada.
So it's no sur-
prise that Botterill has men-
tioned the Wolverines' team
psychologist, Hugh Bray, in
post-game press conferences
this season.
Botterill says that the
psychological side of hock-

ey is a big influence on him.
"When you get to this level, and espe-
cially even the next level, there's not that
much difference in talent level," he said.
"You need to find that edge to keep your
spot on a team, or to excel at a different
level, and I think that's where the mental
aspect comes in."
A player's psyche often plays an inte-
gral part in the success or failure of a
team, especially one like Michigan,
which must cope with the high expecta-
tions that follow a championship season.
"I think Hugh Bray has helped our
team out a lot," Botterill said."For exam-
ple, there's so much pressure on our
team. If you don't talk about that in the
open it can become a problem."
For Botterill, the pressure was an issue
during the first half of the season. At the
midway point, Botterill was sixth on the
team in points and tied for second with
12 goals - pretty decent numbers.
But Botterill, who led the Wolverines
in goals last season, wasn't satisfied with
the way he or his early-season linemates
were playing.
"I think Brendan (Morrison), myself
and Billy Muckalt put a lot of pressure
on ourselves and we really wanted to do
really well right off the bat," he said. "I
think we almost were pressing a little too

hard to get the goals. We were forgetting
about the little things."
Botterill, a 1994 first-round draft pick
of the Dallas Stars, very nearly did not
come back to Michigan for his senior
season. He admits that some of the early-
season pressure may have stemmed from
his ultimate decision to stay with the
Wolverines instead of going pro.
"After we won the national title, I
thought I was going to be gone for sure,"
he said. "That was my goal when I came
into Michigan. When I finally achieved
that, I thought maybe I was going to
move on to different things"
But after talking it over with his team-
mates, Michigan coach Red Berenson
and others over the summer, Botterill
had a change of heart..
The other seniors "all made a commit-
ment to come back here and finish the
job that we all started (three) years ago. I
wanted to be a part of that," he said.
Early in the season, however, Botterill
was not as much a part of the Wolverines'
success as he had hoped to be.
"You want to prove to other people
that you did make the right decision,'
Botterill said. "I sat down with Coach
and talked about it, and began to realize
that I didn't really need to prove (any-
thing) to anyone out there. If in my mind

it was a good decision, that's all that
counted?'
As Botterill came to terms with his
decision, it was reflected in his on-ice
production. Botterill is still sixth on the
team with 40 points. But he is now tied
for the team lead in goals with 24, and
has 12 goals and eight assists in the past
14 games.
Most important, Botterill is much
more satisfied with his play. And with
Muckalt on his way back from a shoul-
der injury, Botterill, Morrison and
Muckalt are linemates once again.
"We've had a bit of time away from
each other now," Botterill said. "I think
we realized that in order to have success
in this game we have to have a lot of fun
out there."
Botterill has also learned a little bit
about success from watching his fath~er's
clients. Cal has worked with several
NHL teams and some of the best players
in the world.
"I've watched a Jeremy Roenick or a
Wayne Gretzky through my dad,"
Botterill said. "How they prepare fo, a
game and how they deal with adversity."
Botterill may be far away from reach-
ing the status of The Great One, but
there's no telling how far talent, size, and
a good state of mind can take him.

U

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WARREN ZINN/Daily
Michigan forward Jason Botterill is known for using his size to overpower
his opponents as he does here against Michigan State's Brian Crane.
Botterlil has followed the lead of his sports-psychologist father to regain
scoring touch in the second half of the Wolverines' season. Botterill is
wtied for the team lead in goals with 24.

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