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November 17, 1998 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-17

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10- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 17, 1998

Wolverines can't mount 'counter' attacks

By Andy Latack
Daily Sports Writer
After yesterday's loss to Ball State,
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe couldn't
stop talking about "counters."
What exactly did he mean?
He might have been talking about a
new position created by the basketball
program. You know, people hired specif-
ically to sit on the sideline and keep track
of important statistics.
Yesterday, their job would have been
to count the number of easy shots
Michigan missed in the paint. Quite a
formidable task.
But no, that wasn't what he meant.
Maybe he was talking about fast food
counters, as in the place where Ball
State's rotund 260-pound Brian Burns
- who scored four crucial points to end
Michigan's frantic second-half run -
likely spends a bit of his time.
No, that wasn't it either.
In the Michigan offense, a counter is
an alternative - "Plan B" that allows the
Wolverines to be effective even when an
aspect of their attack is neutralized.
Only Michigan didn't use these

options against Ball State.
"We've got counters for everything,"
Ellerbe said after the game. "When
something's taken away, we're not going
to the counters."
Against Ball State, that "something"
was Michigan's guard play - the heart
and soul of the offensive game plan.
Sure, Louis Bullock and Robbie Reid
were still the team's leading scorers, but
Ball State's speedy guards made sure the
backcourt duo didn't get too many open
looks at the basket.
It was time to go to a counter.
Michigan needed another option.
Ellerbe saw this, but his team didn't.
"We didn't take advantage of Lou and
Robbie getting overplayed," Ellerbe said.
"We're not executing and we're not
retaining information. We need to know
what we're doing and when we're doing
When Ball State guard Duane
Clemens wasn't burning Michigan for a
game-high 23 points, he was harassing
Bullock and making him work for shots.
And although Michigan recognized
this, nobody was able to step up and

shoulder the offensive burden.
"A lot of times when we are in our
offense and the option we are looking for
gets taken away, we don't get our second
and third options," Bullock said. "Until
we start doing that, teams will continue
to take away that first option."
And although the humble senior did
not mention what that first option was,
yesterday's disappointing loss made it all
too clear -- Michigan lives and dies by
its guard play.
With Clemens making life difficult
for Bullock, and Reid shooting just 2-
for-9 in the first half, it would have been
a great time for someone else to step up.
It almost happened a few times. Down
12 at the break and having scored just 23
points in the opening frame, Michigan
surged back in the opeiting minutes of
the second half.
Center Josh Asselin and forward
Brandon Smith sandwiched two buckets
each around a Bullock layup, and
Michigan cut the deficit to one, 35-34.
Ball State coach Ray McCallum
called a timeout, and Michigan's other
offensive weapons showed signs of life.

But after trading baskets, Burns 1um-
bered around center Peter Vignier for a
lavup, and put back an uncontested tip in
the next trip down the floor. The Ball
State lead was back to five, and a few
possessions later, the Cardinals were
again up by double digits.
"I don't know if we felt like eetry*
thing was going to be all right after (cut
ting the defecit to one)." Ellerbe said.
"But we didn't come back and sustain
their run. You don't want to dig a big
hole, spend your energy coming back,
get there and then not have enough to get
over the hump."
And although Ball State turned in an
impressive defensive effort against
Bullock, this was clearly a winnable
game in Ellerbe's eyes, even without
Bullock putting up huge numbers.
But the captain just didn't get much
help from the rest of the team.
"Lou only took 12 shots, and he tried
to create some opportunities," Ellerbe
said. "He made some good feeds to guys
who didn't catch the ball and didn't cash
in on them. Those become demoralizing

u~s Bullock goes up against Ball State center Brian Bums. Bullock managed to
score 19 points last night, but was hounded all game by the Cardinals' stingy
defensive pressure.
Ball State beats 'M'

Continued from Page 9
and Bullock combined to shoot 1-
for-6 from long range, putting the
Wolverines in an early hole.
"We made a few adjustments at the
half and tried to make sure we got
everybody involved, and took some
pressureoff Lou and Robbie,"
Ellerbe said.
With Michigan's guards taking
time to warm up, forward Chris
Young asserted himself early on the
inside for the Wolverines by scoring
a Iayup and drawing a foul on con-
secutive possessions, to end up with
five points in the half.
On the other end of the court,
however, Ball State's outside game
was rolling, as Cardinal guards
Shane Franks and Mickey Hosier
helped the cause, nailing early threes
and taking a 14-5 lead.
By himself, Young still couldn't
make up for the lack of production
from Michigan's backcourt, consid-
ering frontcourt mates Asselin and
Smith were having a difficult time
With two early fouls midway
through the first half, Asselin's
efforts were curtailed as he put up
just two shots in the period. Smith
was also slow in pulling the trigger,
resulting in an increased dependency
on Bullock and Reid.
The lack of balance gave way to
Ball State's biggest run of the game,

as the Cardinals scored 12 straight
points and opened up a 19-point
lead, making the score 28-9. But
with the Wolverines on the ropes,
Bullock knocked down his only three
of the half, cutting Michigan's
deficit to 16. More important, how-
ever, it ended a four-and-a-half
minute drought in which the
Wolverines didn't score a single
Ball State (75
Mason 21 3-6 2-3 1-3 1 1 10
Clemens 30 7-15 813 2-5 2 3 23
Johnson 25 0-3 0-0 2-5 0 3 0
Jackson 32 2-5 9-10 0-3 2 2 14
Hosler 23 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 2 3
Davis 18 1-2 0-0 2-6 1 2 2
Murray 7 1-i 0-0 0-1 0 0 2
Campbell 1 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1
Burns 14 3.5 3-4 315 1 2 9
Franks 12 2-6 0-0 0-0 0 1 6
Moodle 16 1-5 2-2 0-0 1 2 5
Jones 1 0.0 0-0 0-0 00 0
Totals 200 21-50 25.3410-29 9 18 7,
FG%: .420 FT%:.735. 3-point FG: 8-17.-471
(Mason 2-4, Franks 2-5 Clemens 1-1. Hosler 1-1,
Jackson 1-3, Moodle 1-3). Blocks:1(Clemens).
Steals: 11 (Clemens 4, Jackson 3, Moodie 3,
Mason). Technical Fouls: 0.
Michigan (64), F
Smith 37 5-12 0-1 2-4 3 3 12
Asselin 29 2-5 2-3 4-9 1 5 6
Vignier 30 2-3 0-0 2-7 1 2 4
Reid 39 6-16 1-1 1-2 3 3 16
Bullock 35 612 55 0-3 4 5 19
Jones 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Oliver 5 0.1 0.0 0-0 2 2 0
Young 19 3-4 1-4 0.5 0 3 7
Totals 200 24-53 9-14 9-30 14 25 64
FG%: .453 FT%:.643 3-point FG: 7-18.389 (Reid
3-8. Smith 2-4, Bullock 2-6). Blocks: 4 (Smith 3,
Asselin). Steals: 3 (Bullock. Reid. Smith),
Technical Fouls: 0.
Ball State .... ..........35 40 - 75
Michigan............................23 41-- 64
At: Crisler Arena
Attendance: 9,932

Mortimer injured, but
ready for NCAA finals



By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
The sixth-ranked Michigan men's cross country
team accomplished its most impressive task to date
on Saturday by earning an invitation to the NCAA
Championships without the team's best runner.
"I thought it was great. We didn't run with our
best runner and I was a little concerned," coach
Ron Warhurst said. "But freshman Mark Pilja ran
instead and he really stepped up for us and fin-
ished fifth for us. The rest of the team also
stepped up, especially Todd Snyder. He ran as
well as he has run all year."
Senior All-America John Mortimer did not run
Saturday due to injury but is expected to run this
upcoming Saturday in Lawrence, Kan. Everyone
stepped up to replace Mortimer. Snyder finished
in second, Jay Cantin came in 12th, Steve
Lawrence in 13th, Don McLaughlin 26th and
Mark Pilja 29th to help the Wolverines finish sec-
ond behind Michigan State.
Mortimer is expected to practice three times
this week to help get ready for the NCAA finals.
"He's looked good in practice. He has worked
on the bike and in the pool to help him get ready,
Warhurst said. "I'm looking for him to finish. If
he finishes in the top 35 that would be great"
Mortimer's injury does not mean the
Wolverines have deflated expectations, though.
The Wolverines are looking to bring home a top-
four finish.
"Arkansas and Stanford are the best two teams
in the nation. After them, though, it will depend
on what teams runs the best race," Warhurst said.
"We could finish anywhere from third to eighth.

After those two teams, we feel like we are in the
next tier of teams.
"We'd love to finish in the top four, that would
be a nice trophy to be able to bring home. If
everyone runs their best race I think that we will
be able to finish in the top four."
If the Wolverines are to finish in the top four
they will need another good team performance.
"Had Mortimer been healthy he would have
probably finished third or fourth. Realistically,
we are looking for Snyder to finish anywhere
from fifth to 15th," Warhurst said.
Kansas' course is one of the toughest in the
nation, and that looks to be in the Wolverines
favor. The Wolverines have practiced running
10K races all year, even though dual meets are
only 8K races. Also, Michigan runs on the
Michigan Golf Course, which is considered one
of the toughest courses in the nation.
"The course is really tough. A lot of teams will
be intimidated, but, we won't be," Warhurst said.
"Our course is about as difficult as it gets and we
have practiced for this all year.
"The key will to be how we pace ourselves. We
can't go too fast because there is a big hill at
about the 9,000-meter mark. If you're fading
before the hill, you'll fall apart at the final 1,000
meters. Especially, if it rains and gets sloppy."
The Wolverines will fly to Kansas on Saturday
morning and practice that afternoon.
"Almost everyone has a little identity with the
football team. So we'll watch the football team
Saturday. If they win it will really fire us up,"
Warhurst said. "We'll practice right after.
Sunday, we'll just pray."


Senior Don McLaughlin helped the men's cross country
team to a second-place finish In the NCAA regional, The
second-place finish guaranteed the Wolverines a spot in
the NCAA Championships.

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By Jon Zemke
Daily Sports Writer
At the beginning of the 1998
Michigan volleyball campaign, the
team set very lofty goals for itself.
Because of these lofty goals, the team
has often been --------------
labeled as its own Volleyball
worst critic by
several players. COmmentary
Winning the-------------
Big Ten championship and going to
the NCAA tournament were among
the goals that the team set for itself.
The Big Ten championship has
been mathematically out of reach for
the Wolverines for a couple of weeks
Inconsistent play, rotating setters
and bad luck have plagued Michigan
all season. The only consistent thing
has been the Wolverines' inability to
win close games.
This has led Michigan's record to
plummet to 4-12 in the Big Ten and
12-14 overall making the NCAAs
seem out of the question now.
Especially with the team's record of

Michigan is in the middle of a four-
game losing streak and has not
enjoyed consecutive wins since the
team's initial six-game winning streak
at the beginning of the season.
This didn't help anything.
Michigan volleyball coach Greg
Giovanazzi said that any hope of the
NCAAs is all but gone, and that the
team is in a state of frustration.
But there is the ever-small glimmer
of hopeshining in the distance - way
off in the distance.
The Big Ten is by far the most com-
petitive conference in the nation when
it comes to volleyball. It has consis-
tently had at least five teams ranked
in the top 25 all season, and Penn
State, the conference leader, has been
battling for the top spot in the nation
all fall.
With the conference being as deep
as it is there is a chance the NCAA
might take seven teams for the tour-
Michigan closes out its season with
four games, including the home finale
No. 2 Penn State and the season
finale at No.8 Wisconsin.
Ohio State and Iowa, teams that
Michigan can beat, are also left on the

"We'd have to upset at least one of
those two (Penn State and Wisconsin)
and win the other two (Ohio State and
Iowa)," Giovanazzi said.
But when asked about his team's
tournament chances, Giovanazzi said
that they were out of the question.
The team's chances might be out of
the question, but they are not totally
ruled out.
It would take a sweep of the final
four games to even generate talk
about having a legitimate chance at
tournament play.
But it would take convincing wins
against Big Ten cellar trolls Iowa and
Ohio State, and upsets of both Penn
State and Wisconsin.
This isn't very likely to happen the
way Michigan has played this season.
It has been unable to beat teams like
Ohio State all year, and hasn't even
come close to competing with the
likes of the Nittany Lions or the
The Wolverines would have to
undergo a 180-degree turnaround to
approach that little glimmer of hope
way off in the distance. But right now,
the team is the only one that thinks it
can do it.

S =




Linsey Ebert and the Michigan volleyball team have taken flore licks then they
have given out this season. The Wolverines are 4-12 in the Big Ten, one year after
making their first-ever NCAA toumament appearance.

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