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January 13, 1997 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-13

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The Michigan Daily - SPRTSMonday - January 13, 1997 --58

Michigan starting to feel the
effects of not having White

-0 r
Minnesota guard
obby Jackson
drove over,
around and
through the
Michigan defense
┬░.on Saturday. The
O4bot4l guard, an
'*ig Ten candi-
date, scorched
the Wolverines
for a game-high
20 points. He
also snagged 1
rebounds and
dished out three
assists In the
Gophers' 70-64
Minnesota now
*a 4-0 Big Ten
mark, Its best
since it won the
conference title
after the 1981.82
season and Is in
the driver's seat
In the race for
the Big ten title
this season.

By John Lerol
Daily Sports Editor
MINNEAPOLIS -The two teams
that took the floor Saturday at
Williams Arena were strikingly simi-
Both were Big Ten contenders.
Both rely heavily on meaty front-
courts to score and rebound. Both
have guards that can knock down 3-
With all apologies to Indiana,
Michigan and Minnesota are the two
teams with the best shot to win the
Big Ten. So what was the difference
when these two teams met Saturday?
One answer is this: The Gophers
rotated 10 players, three weighing in
at more than 270 pounds and seven at
more than 200.
Michigan coach Steve Fisher could
afford to play only seven guys - the
other five who made the trip are sim-
ply not Big Ten caliber players.
As the game wore on - especially
after the Wolverines whittled a 10-
point deficit to two - Minnesota
wore the Wolverines down.
The Gophers got to more loose
balls, more rebounds and could play
more aggressive defense than the
Wolverines could, partly because
they had more players.
Robert Traylor fouled out after
playing cautiously for most of the

second half. Maurice Taylor picked
up two early fouls, though he settled
down after that.
It is becoming increasingly appar-
ent that the Wolverines are starting to
miss not having another player to
throw into the mix.
When Albert White was dismissed
from the team before the season
began, the
Wolverines lost
that eighth play-
er. White, who
has since trans-
ferred to
Missouri, aver-
aged nine points
and five boards a
game his fresh-
man season.
White He probably
would have done
at least as well this year. And, more
important, he may have been that
extra something that would have
helped the Wolverines pull out a road
win at Minnesota.
In any case, White, who started 14
games last season, would have been
an extra man that Fisher could have
thrown into the mix without the
Wolverines skipping a beat.
"Obviously they have nine or 10
guys and we have seven," Fisher said.
"That's in their favor, but every team

!)raylor and Harris play together
in U.S. for first time since '94

By Danielle Rumors
Daily Sports Editor
MINNEAPOLIS - One is a for-
rd. The other is a guard.
ne is from Detroit. The other is
from New York.
One leads his team in rebounding.
The other leads his team in scoring.
Sometimes they are friends.
Sdmetimes they are enemies.
Despite the opposites, Michigan
sophomore forward Robert Traylor
and Minnesota junior guard Eric
Harris have a lot in common.
raylor and Harris first played
tether when they were teammates
on the 1994 U.S. Junior Team that
won the gold medal in the World
Junior Championship in Argentina.
And now, they both play for Big
Ten basketball powers - Michigan
and Minnesota - both vying for the
conference title.
The Wolverines have not held the
jhonor since 1986, and the Golden
Gophers since '82. Both Traylor and
iris are starters and both mean a
lot to their respective squads.
On Saturday at Minnesota's
Williams Arena, Traylor and Harris
┬░played together for the first time
since the '94 game in the Southern
"We played on the junior national
team together, ... so I know him and
:guys like Maurice Taylor," Harris
. "We talked a little bit (on
rday). Off the court, we're good
friends, but on the court it's a war."
Harris, a junior, is playing the best
ball of his college career, averaging
13.2 points per game, which leads
the -Gophers balanced scoring attack.
O'ver the previous two seasons,
Harris averaged a meager 2.3 and 4.7
points per game.
But this year, with Harris leading
the' offense and the scoring, the
6 hers are off to their second-best
smrt in school history. They are just

one win away from tying the best
start, 16-1, posted by the 1976-77
team. Kevin McHale, then a fresh-
man and one of the most storied play-
ers in Minnesota history, was an inte-
gral part of that team's success as
Harris is now.
The Gophers are 4-0 in conference
play for the first time since the 1971-
72 team got off to the same 4-0 start.
The best conference start ever was
10-0 by the 1918-19 team.

. o4

"We got the
chance to break the
school's all-time
start for the sea-
son," Harris said.
"We stuck with the
defense (yester-
day), and when you
do that, you're
chances are good."
The Wolverines,

on the other hand, have lost four
games this season, including two
conference games, but Traylor's
steady play has helped the
Wolverines. He leads the team in
rebounds and has had three double-
doubles this season.
SHOT DEAD: The Gophers won
Saturday's contest, but not in their
usual fashion.
Before Saturday, the Gophers aver-
aged 49.9 percent from the field. Over
the weekend, the Wolverines limited
the Gophers to just 40.3 percent.
Secondly, the Gophers stifling
defense allowed its first three Big
Ten opponents - Wisconsin,
Michigan State and Indiana - to a
combined 37.2 field goal percentage.
This weekend, the Wolverines
broke through that average, connect-
ing on 39.7 percent for the game,
43.5 percent in the first half.
The Gophers had also averaged 34
percent from three-point range and
64.5 percent from the charity stripe.
The Wolverines limited them to a

33.3 percent clip from downtown and
55 percent from the stripe.
GROWING OLD: The Gophers home
court, Williams Arena, completed in
1928, is the oldest arena in the Big
Ten and one of the loudest and tough-
est places to play in the country.
The Gophers are 100-26 in
Williams under coach Clem Haskins
over the past seven seasons.
Although the Wolverines hold a
68-52 series advantage overall over
the Gophers, they are just 23-37 in
games played at Minnesota and 20-
34 in games played in Williams
Arena, one of the few raised-floor
arenas in the country and one of two
in the conference. Purdue's Mackey
Arena has the other raised floor.
The Gophers have won the last
three games against the Wolverines
in Williams. The Wolverines last won
there during the Fab Five era, Jan. 20,
So, were the Wolverines rattled by
the venerable arena this time around?
"No, not really," Taylor said. "It's
just another game."
Despite Taylor's opinion, Williams
was ranked third in a list of top col-
lege basketball arenas in the country
by Inside Sports.
FEELING UGLY: During a timeout
late in the second half with the
Gophers up, 53-51, Williams Arena
officials held a contest for the ugliest
dressed person in the crowd.
And Goldy the Gopher,
Minnesota's bushy-tailed, bucked-
tooth mascot, won out of the field of
three contestants.
Minnesota's mascot? Winning the
He probably won because he wore
a little too much gold - blue and
gold, that is.
Goldy wore a Michigan tee-shirt
and shorts, and his victory induced a
few chuckles from the maroon and
gold-clad crowd.

Gophers like Eric Harris rarely slipped up when checking Michigan's guards
Saturday, leading Minnesota to a 70.64 victory over the Wolverines.

Continued from Page 1B
Crisler and if anyone wants to judge
who's the better team, we can judge
Michigan's biggest problem may
have been trying to handle Minnesota's
constant pressure. The Wolverines shot
40 percent from the floor but failed to
execute their half-court offense when it
mattered most, mostly due to the
Gophers' aggressive and unrelenting
Both teams finished the game with
43 rebounds, but Minnesota clearly
had the early edge on the glass with
nine offensive boards in the first half to
Michigan's three.
"They're a real physical team," said
Michigan center Robert Traylor who
was in early foul trouble and picked up
his fifth with 90 seconds left in the
"They outrebounded us down the
stretch. No, they outrebounded us all
The game was relatively even except
for a 21-5 Minnesota run sandwiched
around halftime that left Michigan
playing catch-up for most of the con-
A Robert Traylor basket from the
low post gave the Wolverines a 23-17
lead with just six minutes left in the
first half. But Minnesota scored four-

straight baskets including three 3-
pointers, one each from Jackson, Sam
Jacobson and Charles Thomas.
The Gophers had a 32-25 lead, when
Brandun Hughes canned a three with
43 seconds left to bring Michigan with-
in five. The Wolverines had Minnesota
stymied on the next possession, forcing
Jacobson to take an off-balanced 17-
footer, but 6-foot-1 reserve point guard
Russ Archambault snuck into the paint
and put back Jacobson's miss as time
ran out.
The Gophers scored the first two
baskets of the second half to take their
biggest lead of the game, 38-28.
"That run killed us," Hughes said..
"That turned out to be the difference in
the game now that you see the final
"We've just got to be strong and
fight through rounds like that and step
up our defense, which we didn't do
The Wolverines fought back little by
little, narrowing the gap to 53-51 with
a 9-0 run of their own capped by
Hughes' putback of Travis Conlan's
missed layup with eight minutes
The Gophers went back up by five
behind two long jumpers from
Jacobson. Taylor made two free throws
with 3:13 left to cut the lead back to
three, but the Wolverines couldn't get a
defensive stop any time after.
The Gophers sealed the game when
Jackson sank a twisting layup after a
Hughes miss with 1:16 left to put the
Gophers up 67-59. .
"We weren't getting the shots we
wanted down the stretch," Hughes said.
"We didn't execute our half-court
offense well at all. They stopped us
when they needed to."
Jacobson finished with 15 points
and Charles Thomas had 11 in only
eight minutes including a spurt of eight
in a row for Minnesota. Six-nine center
John Thomas hauled in 11 rebounds.
Four Wolverines scored in double

in the Big Ten will have that."
But by many accounts, White was
the kind of scrappy player that would
have grabbed a couple of those loose
balls that were snatched up by
Gophers. He was the kind of player
who would come down with those
rebounds that were tipped around a
few times. He would score those ugly
baskets on putbacks.
Instead, it was a Gopher doing the
little things. While the Wolverines
denied they were tired, Minnesota
center John Thomas said the Gophers
had a distinct advantage in that area.
"Sometimes, late in the game, they
were a little worn down," Thomas
said. "Maybe they didn't box out
sometimes, and we got more
While the Wolverines held their
own, they clearly were lacking some-
thing, despite probably having the
edge in talent. Exactly - halfway
through their schedule, the
Wolverines may be starting to feel
the wear of having just seven players.
"We're not fighting through all the
screens," Michigan forward Maurice
Taylor said. "Sometimes we're a stp
"We should be used to it by now.
It's not going to get any better. It's
not like we're going to trade for
someone else before the season
Garris sparks
Illini, downs
Penn State
Garris scored 22 points and made all
seven of his free throws, as No..25
Illinois overcame poor first-half shoot-
ing to beat Penn State, 85-70 Saturday.
The Illini (2-2 Big Ten, 124 overall)
shot just 31 percent from the field in
the first half, but still led 31-27 at half-
time. They improved to 59 percent
shooting in the second half.
The closest the Nittany Lions (0.3,
7-5) got in the second half was 49.45
on a basket by Pete Lisicky with 13:13
left. But Illinois outscored Penn State
17-10 over the next six minutes and
took a 66-55 lead on a 3-pointer by
Matt Heldman.
I5T N Heldman fin-
ished with four 3-
CONFERENCE pointers and 21
Ro d points. Chris
Guii lUP Gandy had 12
points and six rebounds despite getting
into foul trouble in the second half.
Lisicky led Penn State with 18
points, and Phil Williams scored 14
and grabbed eight rebounds. The Lions
outrebounded Illinois 36-32, but com-
mitted 21 turnovers, as compared to
the Illini's 14.
In the opening half, the Illini were
up by as many as 12 points, 25-13, on
a free throw by Gandy.
But Illinois did not score for almost
five minutes as Penn State went on a
14-4 run to pull within two, 29-27, on
a free throw by Tim McGovern.
Purdue freshman Mike Robinson
scored a season-high 21 points at West
Robinson was 7 of 12 from the field
and 7 of 10 from the line. He also
added six rebounds, two assists and a
blocked shot in 32 minutes against
Northwestern (0-3, 5-9).
The Boilermakers (2-1, 7-6) wore
uniforms similar to those worn in the
1930s as part of Mackey Arena's
"Throw-Back Day."

Michigan State (2-2, 9-3) outscored
Ohio State 27-6 from the free-throw
line and made 27 of 34 free throws.
Ohio State (2-2, 7-6) connected on
only six of 15 attempts from the line.
Ohio State has lost:its last seven
meetings with Michigan State.
Spartan Mateen Cleaves matched
his season high of 18 points, with 12
coming on free throws.
Hawkeye guard Andre Woolridge led
his team with 21 points at Iowa City.
Woolridge went 6-for-10 from the
floor and 7-for-7 from the free-throw
line as the Hawkeyes (13-3) improved
to 4-0 in the conference.
The Badgers (1-3, 8-6) led the Big
Ten in scoring defense going into the
game. Wisconsin had been giving up
only 53 points a game while holding
opponents to 36 percent shooting.
Iowa shot 51 percent on Saturday.

Continued from Page 16
counted. Fundamentally better, that
is, 'and the Wolverines can learn
'from this. They can learn from the
I*Against the Minnesotas, the
Indianas, we've got to rebound,"
Michigan forward Maceo Baston said.
"The whole thing was the rebound-
ing: If we had rebounded, it would
have been key for us, it would have
'been great for us."


That's playing tough. The
Wolverines didn't see all of the shots,
and they didn't box out.
There are also fundamentals to a
half-court offense: moving without the
ball, running set plays, setting picks,
moving off screens and recognizing
Minnesota does all of these things
regularly. Jackson and backcourt
mate Eric Harris run the offense and
find the open men. And they run
through screens to give themselves
open looks.

halfway through the second half.
"Our half-court execution struggled
against their aggressive man-to-man
defense," Michigan coach Steve Fisher
"We did not do a good enough job of
swinging the ball through the high-
For every small thing the
Wolverines did wrong, the Gophers
did something right.
And they did it together.
"I just happen to have a group of
young men who refuse to lose, and



4-8 3-4 2-10 2
3-13 0-1 2-8 0
6-7 1-3 1-8 0
4-8 5-5 0-1 2
0-3 0-0 4-6 2
6-12 2-5 2-3 2
0-7 3-4 2-5 0
23-58 14-2214-438

3 11
1 6
5 13
2 16
4 0
3 15
2 3
20 64

FG%: .397. FT%: .636. 3-point FG: 4-13,
.308 (Bullock 3-6, Hughes 1-2, Ward 0-5).
Blocks:6 (Baston 3, Bullock, Taylor, Ward.
Steals: 5 (Baston, Conlan, Hughes, Taylor,
Traylor). Technical Fouls: none.

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