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February 09, 1998 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-09

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BASKETBALL

The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - February 9, 1998 - 5B

I

ROSE
Continued from Page 1B
me's first 37 minutes.
I don't need to be in the arena to
know that the Wolverines can't come
back from a 16-point deficit if they
miss nine free throws in the second
half.
And I certainly don't need to be
there to know that if Minnesota
makes 13 of its first 16 3-point
attempts and scores 88 points, the
Wolverines ain't gonna win. It's pret-
simple.
I'd rather be in Lego Land, to be
honest. It's four stories tall, made
entirely out of Legos and inspires
more looks of disbelief than Robert
Traylor could muster on even his
most foul-prone afternoon. And that's
saying something.
I'd rather be at Camp Snoopy,
which is more sophisticated than the
Wolverines' stand-still offense will
ver be.
I'd rather be riding the virtual real-
ity Nascar Silicon Motor Speedway
ride, which is far more in-your-face
than Michigan's defense was on
Saturday and almost as bumpy as the
Wolverines' season has been. In fact,
the only thing with more ups and
downs than the Wolverines is the
indoor Pepsi Ripsaw Roller Coaster.
But it was closed.
So, I watched the game. I saw
ceo Baston try to pick up his shak-
teammates and carry them by him-
self. I saw the box-and-one defense
the Gophers used to frustrate Bullock
all afternoon. I saw Travis Conlan
score 12 points and get six assists.
I also saw him go 1-for-3 from the
free throw line with the game hanging
in the balance (he must have been
thinking about all that great candy he
was missing out on from Peppermint
tty's Sweet Shop). I saw it all,
elieve me.
So what if I saw it in between time-
out trips to the Skyscraper Ferris
Wheel and the Where's Woodstock
Adventure Maze? I saw it just the
same. You know why it doesn't mat-
ter, Boss?
Because I've seen it before.
I've already seen Michigan go on
the road and lose to a less-talented,
nre-inspired team on national tele-
on. I've been there in person.
(Happens every couple weeks, as a
matter of fact. They don't seem too
worried about it. Why should I be?
There's this thing called the Big
Ten toumnament at the beginning of
March - all the Wolverines were
talking about it after the game. You
see, the way it works is, you don't
have to play that well during the reg-
I season, because if you win the
conference tournament, you get into
the Big Dance anyway. It's like a safe-
ty net.
So, Boss, instead of watching
(Michigan's Big Ten chances drown
inside Williams Arena, I decided I'd
rather visit the 1.2-million gallon
underwater aquarium.
I decided the Mall's 50-foot palm
trees and 70-foot Paul Bunyan's Log
Chute Water Ride were higher on my
* of priorities than watching the
Wolverines in person. And you know
what? Staying at the Mall was the
beat decision I made all weekend.
I saw better basketball inside Kevin
Garnett's store, anyway.
- Jim Rose can be reached
via email at jwrose umich.edu.

MICHIGAN (78 F REB
MIN MA MA OT A F PT8
ton 35 7-10 13,14 5-7 2 2 27
Ward 31 2-9 2-4 1-4 0 5 8
Traylor 32 7-8 1-4 512 2 5 15
Bullock 30 4-9 2-2 0-0 0 2 12
conlan 38 4.8 1-3 1.6 6 5 12
Reid 27 1-9 1-2 0-1 4 1 4
Oliver 1 0-1 042 0-0 0 0 0
Assen 5 } 0 0 - 0 0
Smith 1 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 1 0
Totals 200 25.55 2029 1331 14 21 78
Fi%: ,455. FT%: .690. 3-polnt FG: 8-24, 333 (conlan 3-
6, Ward 2-5, Bullock 2-6, Reid 1-7). Blocks: 7 (Baston 4,
Ward 3). Steals: 7 (Conlan 2, Traylor 2, Baston, Bullock,
Ward). Turnovers: 13 (Baston 4, Ward 3. Bullock 2,
Traylor 2, Asselin, Conlan). Technical Fouls: None.
MINNESOTA (88)
FO FT REB
MIN M.A MA O-T A F PTM
loon 37 7-13 3-4 3-9 2 2 19
Lewis 34 &14 1-1 2-8 4 5 19
Sanden 16 34 00 0-2 2 5 7
clark 34 5-11 3-4 0-0 6 2 17
Harris 38 7-9 5-6 0-0 3 3 24
Nathaniel 6 0-1 1-4 2-3 0 0 1
Broxsie 13 0-1 0-0 1-4 0 2 0
Tarver 22 0-1 1-2 04 1 2 1
Totals 200 3054 14.21 1133 18 21 88
FG%: .556. FT%: .667. 3-pWnt IS: 14-20, .700 (Harris 5.
6, Clark 46, Lewis 2-3, Jacobson 2-4, Sanden 1-1).
Blocks: 0. Steals: 6 (Clark 2, Harris 2. Jacobson,
Lewis). Tumovers: 11 (Harris 3. Sanden 3. Clark 2,
Jacobson 2. Lewis). Technical Fouls: Sander.
Michigan................ .310 42 -78
Minnesota......-.......-34 54 -88
At: Williams Arena A: 14,714

Missed free throws stall
Michigan's comeback

By Jim Rose
Daily Sports Editor
MINNEAPOLIS - The story of Saturday's
g$ .s 88-78 Minnesota victory at Williams Arena, no
doubt, was Minnesota's game-long 3-point bar-
u srage, which left the Wolverines gaping and put
the Gophers in firm command.
Entering the game, Minnesota was ranked
ninth in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percent-
f",w, age, but the Gophers made 14 of their 20 trey
attempts on the afternoon, 13 of which came on
the team's first 16 attempts. As Michigan coach
Brian Ellerbe said, "If 3-8 teams in the confer-
ence go 14-for-20 from 3-point range, it's gonna
be tough to win any games."
Still, even amidst Minnesota's amazing long-
:'' range performance, the Wolverines fought back
F =and got themselves back into the game. But
what finally finished the Wolverines for good
- did not come from behind the 3-point line, but
rather a different line, a little less than five feet
closer.
>. The free-throw line.
Michigan made 20 of 29 freebies for the
t Y*<Y<game, but all nine misses came in the second
half. More important was that several of the
-c- ss misfires came during a frenzied run that saw the
Wolverines cut a 16-point deficit to just six.
gyss shooting. T "Those were big,' Ellerbe said. "If we make
our free throws down the stretch, we're right
there at the end of the 'sine. And then maybe
........ d W sthey get a little tense on offense, because it's a
lot tougher to shoot when it's close than when
it's a nine- or 10-point game."
With 4:45 remaining and Michigan trailing,
74-60, Minnesota's Kyle Sanden fouled Macen
.: ... Baston, and then drew a technical foul for kick-
Ting Baston while the two were tangled on the
Michigan center Robert Traylor Is known for his hustle but less so for his free-throwm b00oting. Ahelarde ntground.
shooting.ou enuinThee hrouniorhga
missed a foul shot with more than 4:30 remaining in Saturday's game at Minnesota. The shot could oBut ofdthewfourenuingeretryowsfichiga
have helped the Wolverines stage a seven-point swing at that point, but they only came away with four. onlyhemade twso.rWhn R1obert Talrwsfue
in te at o scoingjus 15seconds later, he,
'Big time' HnssusGpers'
second-hafshootin-wqg bmadent :

"If we make our free
throws down the
stretch, we're righ
there at the end of the
games."
- Brian Ellerbe
Michigan men's basketball coach
too, missed his free throw. The whole series
could have been a seven-point swing, but the
missed free throws meant it was worth only four.
Just more than two minutes later, Michigan
was still hanging around, down 77-68, when
Travis Conlan was fouled while making a layup.
Conlan missed the free throw.
Ten seconds later - with the score 77-70 -
Conlan stole the ball and was fouled again, this
time near midcourt. He made just 1 of 2 free
throws.
All told, the sequence lasted 2:59, and
Michigan scored I I points in the stretch - but
also missed five free throws, and still trailed by
seven.
"Free throws kind of hurt us at the end of the
game." Baston said. "If we made a few more, it
would've put some pressure on them at the other
end.'
On the other side of the floor, Minnesota was-.
n't any better than the Wolverines from the line
for the game, making just 12 of 18. But during
the three-minute stretch in which Michigan
missed five, the Gophers made 6 of 8.
"It's something for us to work on," Conlan
said. "We've got some time before we play Ohio
State, so we'll try to get ready in practice. I'm
sure we'll be shooting some free throws."

By James Goldstein
Daily Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - Only two con-
tributing pieces of Minnesota's 1997
Final Four team remain on this sea-
son's squad - senior forward Sam
Jacobson and senior point guard Eric
Harris.
Jacobson received all the preseason
hype as he was named an All-America
candidate, but sat out the first four
games of the Big Ten season with a
bad back.
That left Harris, the Gophers' floor
general from Bronx, N.Y., to carry the
Minnesota load in the early going.
Without Jacobson, the Gophers lost
their first four conference games, and
they lost two more upon his return,
including a 65-57 loss to Michigan at
Crisler Arena in which the Gophers
couldn't hit a shot.
Harris scored five points on I -of-6
shooting and missed both 3-point
attempts in that game.
Don't the Wolverines wish that
Harris and the Gophers had remained
cold in Saturday's game at Williams
Arena?
It didn't happen. Instead, there was
a 180-degree turnaround between
GOPHERS
Continued from Page lB
Baston's career-high 27 points on 7-of-
10 shooting and (13 of 14 from the free
throw line) and added four blocks.
Robert Traylor had 15 points on 7-
of-8 shooting, but was frustrated by
Minnesota's tight, physical interior
defense.
Conlan added 12 points and six
assists. Conlan, Traylor and Ward all
fouled out.
Minnesota used a balanced attack. In
addition to Harris, forwards Sam
Jacobson and Quincy Lewis each
scored 19 points, including two triples
apiece, while Clark scored 17.
Down 36-34 at halftime, Minnesota
came out of its locker room and just
couldn't miss.
- The Gophers' hit 10 of their first 12
field goals, including seven 3-pointers
- three by Harris, two by Lewis and
two by Clark - all in the first I1 min-
utes of the half to turn a two-point lead
into a 71-55 cushion with 7:34 remain-
ing in the game.
"I don't know if they ran a lot of
offense in the second half," Ellerbe
said. "They just dribbled around, pulled
up and shot."
The Wolverines tried to step up their
defense, but every time the Gophers
got the ball, they took one step back, let
it fly and swish.
"When they start making threes,
obviously you've got to adjust," Conlan
said. "But once it gets to that point,
there's not a whole lot you can do."
Michigan made it interesting in the

Saturday's team and the players that
couldn't buy a basket in Ann Arbor.
Maybe Harris should have traveled
home to New York to coach Queens
native Saul Holeman in his $1 million
shot - from behind the arc, of course
- in the NBA's All-Star weekend.
The Minnesota point guard drilled
every shot in his path and even took a
few steps back behind the 3-point line
and still made them on Saturday.
Harris' stat line: 24 points, 7-of-9
shooting, 5 of 6 3-pointers - 19
points and four treys coming in the
second half.
"Harris shot the ball out of his
mind," Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe
said.
One minute into the second half,
the Gophers were able to retake the
lead on Quincy Lewis' three-point
play. And Harris warmed up. First, he
nailed a 3-pointer from the right side,
2:46 into the stanza, to give the
Gophers a 44-38 lead.
Approximately two minutes later,
he showed his penetration skills and
hit a 12-foot jumper from the lane,
keeping the Gophers' six-point lead
intact.
Then, Harris went on a tear. With

about 10 minutes left in the game,
Harris connected from 3-point land on
the right side. Next time down the
court, he was not even close to the 3-
point line, but he decided to shoot
anyway. No problem, three points.
On the following possession, Harris
concluded his nine-point spurt with a
3-pointer from the top of the key.
It gave the Gophers a 70-55 lead
with 8:07 left, and it gave the sellout
crowd a reason to give Minnesota a
deafening standing ovation. It was a
change for the fans, in a year in which
there haven't been many opportunities
to cheer. Players on the Minnesota
bench picked Harris up off his feet in
jubilation after the TV timeout.
"I tell you, Eric Harris was big
time," Minnesota coach Clem Haskins
said. "He was focusing and concen-
trating (Saturday). We needed all his
points to win this basketball game."
Even Harris's teammates were
amazed at his unconscious shooting.
"Every time I went under the
boards, it would be a swish," Jacobson
said. "We just shot outstanding and it
was great to see our players step up
and make big shots'

SARA STILLMAN/Dally
Minnesota guard Eric Harris shot the lights out In Williams Arena on Saturday
against Michigan. He buried 5 of 6 from 3-point range in a 24-point performance.

SARA STILLMAN/Daily
Michigan point guard Travis Conlan
scored 12 points and recorded six
assists In Saturday's 88-78 loss,
final minutes, coming back from 16
down to cut into the Minnesota lead.
The Wolverines went on a 16-6 run
and trailed by only six after Conlan
made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:46
remaining.
But Minnesota held on after Bullock
drained a 3-pointer to make the score
82-76 with 56 seconds left.
Clark converted 1 of 2 free throws,
and Jacobson got free for a two-handed
breakaway slam to seal the victory and
send the Gophers and their fans into a
frenzy.

I

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