88 - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 16, 1998
Michigan's Achilles' heel
exposed In season opener
'M' frontcourt turns in weak performance against Panthers
Ov DJ n i i i inUh h
Dunks like this were rare for Brandon Smith and the Michigan frontcourt, as
they were shut down by Darius Cook (42) and the rest of the Florida
International post game.
my Josh enbaum
Daily Sports Editor
MIAMI - Josh Asselin slithered
off the court, shoulders drooped, head
down, as 4,638 voices gave him a
hearty sendoff in the final seconds of
Michigan's 69-62 season-opening
defeat to Florida International on
Asselin, the sophomore forward
who just four days earlier electrified
Crisler Arena with his thunderous
dunks and aggressive play in a come-
from-behind exhibition victory, led
Michigan's frontcourt with its new-
look, "excuse me" style of play. His
line for the day? Five points, eight
rebounds, two shots, two turnovers,
"We took a step backwards
tonight," Michigan coach Brian
Ellerbe said. "Maybe we thought we
were better than we were."
Asselin, along with center Peter
Vignier and forwards Brandon Smith
and Chris Young, played tentatively
and shyly, both offensively and defen-
The Wolverines did not box out
effectively. The foursome was out-
rebounded, 36-34, by a team that had
no one taller than 6-foot-9.
The Golden Panthers set the tone
early when Darius Cook, a 6-9 center,
easily hit a 4-foot jumper over the 6-
11 Asselin just a minute and a half
into the game.
The Wolverines' inside defense was
nearly not exisieni, partcuiarty i i ne
second half, when the Panthers scored
20 points down low on layups, dunks
or short jumpers. Vignier in particular
appeared too slow to handle the pene-
tration of Florida International's
But Ellerbe was quick to point out
that Vignier wasn't the only Wolverine
"It's easy for people to say Peter,"
Ellerbe said. "Peter, Josh and Chris.
Brandon too. It was all four of them.
"We were very disappointed in our
front line. It's easy to say we need scor-
ing, but that's not what I was looking
for. I was looking to those guys for post
defense, to screen and to rebound the
basketball. We didn't do that."
But the Wolverines didn't give
Ellerbe any scoring, either. The big
men were hesitant to take shots, let-
ting fly a mere 13, compared to the
When they did shoot, their attempts
were frequently rushed and off the
mark. Asselin was the frontcourt's
leading scorer with just five points.
"Michigan, obviously, is young on
the inside," Florida International
coach Marcos "Shakey" Rodriguez
said. "They're going to need to devel-
op an inside game a little more. Most
of their offense was 3-point shooting."
But the 3-point shooting was part of
the problem, too. When the inside
game failed, Ellerbe said his guards,
Louis Bullock and Robbie Reid, tried
Michigan doesn't have any time to
sulk about the loss to Florida
international. The Wolverines are
back in action tonight; welcoming
Ball State into Crisler Arena.
What: Michigan vs. Ball State
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Crisler Arena
About Ball State: The Cardinals lost
all-everything forward Bonzi Wells to
graduation, and are looking to
replace the two-time MAC player of
the year with a veteran backcourt,
Point guard Mickey Hosier and small
forward Duane Clemens lead the
Icharge. It will also be a homecoming
tof sorts for coach Ray McCallum, a
Sormer Wolverine assistant.
to overcompensate and got away from
the Wolverines' game plan.
'Our post guys were very tenta-
tive," Ellerbe said. "And then our
guards were overly aggressive, trying
to unake plays that weren't there. It
was a double-edged sword."
Bullock scored a career-high 30
points, but it was on 26 shots, much
more than Ellerbe envisioned him tak-
ing. The guards made poor decisions,
contributing to Michigan's failure to
execute routine plays.
The Wolverines turned the ball over
19 tines, including 10 by Bullock and
Continued from Page 1B
crowd of 4,038, whose cheering g1
louder with each Florida Internationa
basket. "YOU can feel their energy when
they're screaming and yelling and
chanting. That definitely energizes you
- not only are you doing it for you,
you're doing it for them."
The game was close all the way:
Florida International and Michigan
traded leads, and each time Michigan
tried to pull away, the golden panthe
would score a timely basket and gig
themselves and the crowd a lift.
Louis Bullock scored 30 points on
26 shots, but outside of Robbie Reid's
17 points, no other Michigan player
scored more than five.
"I'd rather have no points and win;,
Michigan's starting frontcourt
almost did that - Josh Asselin had
five points, while Brandon Smith and
Peter Vignier scored four each.
Florida International's frontcoi
starters totaled 21 points. And that
doesn't include Bell or guard Carlos
Arroyo, whose 17 well-timed points
helped deflate the Wolverines.
Any time the Wolverines built a lead,
it seemed to be a cue for the Golden
Panthers to break away for a dunk,
bringing themselves - and the crowd
- back into the game.
We just didn't execute, which is re*
ly really difficult to swallow for me,
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said. "If
you're not executing, you create oppor-
tunities for your opposition."
And the Golden Panthers took
advantage of enough to send th
Wolverines back to Ann Arbor, shaking
their heads and talking about the need
to work on fundamentals.
"Over the course of a game theres
gonna be some plays made, and they
just made plays." Bullock said.
What Bullock didn't mention is tha
the Golden Panthers also made some
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MIN F-A U-A 0"T A F PN
Asselin 26 1.2 3-4 2.8 1 5 5
Smith 27 2-4 0.0 25 3 3 4°
Vignier 28 14 0.0 1.8 0 4 2
Reid 37 614 0-0 0.3 1 0 17
Bullock 37 11-26 4-5 0-3 2 1 30
Jones 19 1-4 0.0 0.0 6 0
Young 26 13 0-0 13 1 4
Totals 200 23-57 7-9 8634 14 17 62
FG%: 404. FT%:.778. 3-point FG: 9-26,346
(Bullock 4-12, Reid 511, Smith 0-2, Jones 0-1).
Blocks: 3 (Assein, Smith, Vignier). Steals: 8
(Smith 2, Bullock 2. Vignier Reid, Jones, Young).
Technical Fouls: 0.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (69)
MIN U-A M-A -T A F PTS
Derkack 19 1-4 0-0 03 0 5 2
Harris 27 4-5 2-4 1-4 2 2 10
Cook 33 4-12 1-4 2-6 1 1 9-
Bell 38 7-15 89 0-2 2 3 23-
Arroyo 33 7-12 0-0 0-4 3 4 17"
Carreno 21 1-5 0-0 1-2 1 1 8
McKnight 9 0-0 0 1-4 0 0 0-
Rosario 20 1-3 3-4 1-5 0 0 -
Totals 200 25-56 14-219-35 9 12
FG%:.446. FT%: .667 3-point FG: 5-16, 313
(Arroyo 3-6, Bell 14, Carreno 1-5, Derkack 0-1).
Blocks: 1 (Harris). Steals: 10 (Bell 3, Cook 2,
Carreno 2, Derkack, Arroyo, McKnight). Technical
Michigan............. .25 37 - 62
Florida International......27 42 - 69
At: Golden Panther Arena
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