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January 06, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-06

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Men's hoops staves off Indiana

Michigan 3-point bombs help d
By Pranay Reddy
Dail Sports Editor
a night when the Michigan men's basketball
team came into a contest with No. 13 Indiana as a
heavy underdog, the Wolverines used a bit of last
season's success to get the ball rolling last night.
The Wolverines (2-1 Big Ten, 8-8 overall)
reminded the 11,495 present at Crisler Arena of
last season's success by finally raising their Big
Ten championship
banner. And taking a ' Michigan 80
cue from that IndIana 72
g ndbreaking per-
fo'Mance, Michigan turned in its best perfor-
mance of the season by humbling the highly-tout-
ed Hoosiers 80-72.
"We can look to this game as a springboard and
hopefully gain .consistency from it," Michigan
coach Brian Ellerbe said.
The contest was characterized by a series of
runs from both squads, with Michigan finally
M wnng
streak. en-kAds in'

second-half surge by Hoosiers; Fife comes away empty

putting the nail in Indiana's coffin late in the sec-
ond half.
But with over eight minutes left in the game, it
didn't appear that the Hoosiers (1-2, 14-4) would
be able to recover from a seemingly insurmount-
able Michigan lead - or at least that's what
Michigan guard Robbie Reid thought.
Reid knocked down a three from the top of the
key that put the Wolverines up by 16 points, mak-
ing the score 67-51. With the crowd rocking and
Michigan rolling, the senior then proceeded to
draw his finger across his throat in a gesture that
seemed to signify the Hoosiers' end.
That's when things got interesting, as Indiana
cut Michigan's lead to four on 12 straight points
from five different players.
With the score 67-63, and over five minutes left
in the contest, it was time for the Wolverines to
make a run of their own, and they responded -
but surprisingly, not on the backs of star guards
Louis Bullock and Reid.

"We haven't been able to fight off runs," Ellerbe
said. "We're going to make some, and our oppo-
nents are going to make some. We got more plays
out of more guys" tonight.
Forward Josh Asselin led Michigan's second
surge, adding five points to close out the game.
On the night, the sophomore forward tallied career
highs in points and rebounds with 16 and 10,
respectively.
Michigan's first big run of the game was
spurred by a late first-half run, as Indiana mis-
takes keyed seven points by the Wolverines with
less than a minute left in the half. First, Bullock
knocked down a 3-pointer in the corner and was
fouled by Indiana guard A.J. Guyton in the
process. Bullock hit the proceeding free throw to
cut Indiana's lead to four at 39-35.
Following two Luke Recker free throws on the
other end, Michigan freshman Leon Jones con-
verted three of his own after he was fouled on a
See HOOSIERS, Page 78

SARA STILLMAN/Special to the Daily
Brandon Smith (left) and Leon Jones celebrate yesterday night after defeating
Indiana for their second Big Ten win.

sooOu e0et!

Champaign
By Stepanie Offen
D#Spot Writer
In December, the Michigan women's basketball team
(I-I Big Ten, 10-2 overall) set a team record for consec-
utive wins. The Wolverines posted their eighth straight
win against Illinois State, and continued that win streak
against Indiana a few weeks later. But yesterday that
winning streak came to an end.
Michigan battled the snow and traveled to Illinois yes-
terday for their second Big Ten matchup of the season.
But there, its streak ended. The Fighting Illini defeated
the Wolverines, 75-65, in overtime.
&e game was even the entire way through, with both
te s knotted at 29 apiece at the half, and tied at 60 after
regulation.
But it was the overtime period that made all of the dif-
ference. The Fighting Illini came out strong, adding 15
points to their total, while the Wolverines could only
muster five.
Anne Thorius led the team with 15 points, followed
closely by Stacey Thomas who contributed 14 points,
with I1 rebounds. Alison Miller also helped on the,
defensive end adding 12 rebounds.
*ichigan's effort throughout the 40 minutes during
regulation was not enough to carry them through. Both
teams entered this game barely outside of the top 25
teams in the nation, but the end of the winning streak
also ended Michigan's hopes, at least for now, of enter-
ing that elite group.
The Wolverines entered the Big Ten season riding the
emotions of the streak.
Michigan traveled to Indiana on Dec. 28 for its first
conference challenge and came out with the streak still
intact. The team defeated the Hoosiers 72-58, and the
game was much closer than the score would indicate.
e Wolverines were led by junior Kenisha Walker,
w recorded a career-and game-high 27 points, and her
first career double-double, adding 11 rebounds. Walker's
previous career-high was 13 points against Illinois State.
Indiana started with a bang, leading the Wolverines,
17-8, eight minutes into the first half. But the leadership
of Walker, scoring eight of the team's first 10
See ILLINI, Page 8B3

Late scores seal
Citrus Bowl win
By Jimt Rose
Daily Sports Editor
ORLANDO - Rob Renes called it "a microcosm of
the entire season," and a close look at Michigan's Jan. 1
Citrus Bowl game against Arkansas would seem to back
him up.
The Wolverines got themselves into trouble with
turnovers and penalties, but eventually came back with a
strong fourth quarter and won, 45-31, before 63,584 fans.
The victory was the 10th in I1 games for Michigan,
which finished 10-3 after starting the season 0-2. To
many players, it meant the difference between a great sea-
son and a forgettable one.
"There was a huge difference between 9-4 and 10-3,"
Renes said. "Anytime you have 10 wins, that makes for a
great team."
Sophomore running back Anthony Thomas was voted
the game's most valuable player on the strength of his 132
yards rushing and three touchdowns, and senior Tai
Streets, in his final collegiate game, caught seven passes
for 129 yards.
But in the fourth quarter, Michigan 45
with the game on the line,
Michigan was propelled by
the heroics of DiAlio Johnson and James Whitley.
Johnson pulled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Tom
Brady with 2:25 left in the game to give the Wolverines a
38-31 lead.
And on Arkansas' ensuing possession, Whitley sealed
the deal when he returned an interception 26 yards for a
touchdown.
Michigan nearly self-destructed, thanks to a host of
penalties, two interceptions by Brady, a fumble by
Thomas, a 36-yard pass interference call against Whitley
and a missed field goal.
A 24-10 halftime lead had evaporated less than three
minutes into the fourth quarter, and Arkansas went up 31-
24 after quarterback Clint Stoerner's second touchdown
pass of the afternoon.
But the Razorbacks did not score again, and Michigan
controlled the play for the rest of the game.
"This was the way we wanted to finish," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said after the game. "We had started
this season in a way that no one expected. And this was a
great way to end it."
Michigan struck first in the game's first quarter, with a
See RAZORBACKS, Page 5B

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Tailback Anthony Thomas ran for three touchdowns, as the Wolverines bettered Arkansas in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's
Day. Michigan finished the season 10-3.

Wolverines placed in an unfair position from the start

RLANDO - It really wasn't fair, the expectations
that surrounded Michigan this year. Although they
did bring those demands of success upon themselves,
the Wolverines were placed in an unfair position at the start
of the season.
In essence, the 1998 version of the
Wolverines were in a predicament that
no other Michigan team had been in
since 1949. They had to scrape and
cling to every vestige of magic left
behind by the championship season.
But that is the nature of such magic
- it's fleeting and it disappears quick- SHARAT
ly. It vanished before the season even RAJU
began, leaving the Wolverines in an Sharat
unfair and unfamiliar position. in the Dark
It was unfair to assume that the
defense could be as unstoppable with-

It was unfair to the rest of the team that former tri-captain
Marcus Ray was suspended, further depleting an already thin
secondary.
It was unfair to count out Michigan after losing its first
two games to very good teams.
That is the nature of sports and of life, I guess. Some
things just aren't fair, but you have to deal with it.
And after 13 games, the Wolverines finally did deal with
it, treating their fans with their most exciting and gutsy per-
formance of the year in the Citrus Bowl. They finally
showed that they learned how play together, how to rally and
win together and how to return punts effectively (courtesy of
DiAllo Johnson).
As the year developed, everyone was able to watch as the
Wolverines struggled to find an identity. They did not have
that swagger, that arrogance that emanated a year ago from
a team determined to surprise everyone. They did not have
superstar Heisman Trophy winners or children of NFL Hall
f nPrc

into a poised leader, to watching Anthony Thomas regain the
success he had in his freshman year to witnessing Tai Streets
becoming a feared pass catcher - all of it was remarkable.
Especially now, in retrospect.
All of those improvements were vividly clear on Jan. 1,
1999. Thomas scampered all over the Arkansas defense,
Brady shrugged off turnovers and spearheaded the winning
drive while Streets did the usual.
It all came together in Orlando, and then some. Even
James Whitley - Whitley, the early-season whipping boy
because of dropped punts and blown coverages - redeemed
himself with a fourth-quarter interception-return touchdown.
Still, in the annals of Michigan football lore, this team will
be remembered most likely as the team that followed the
national champions.
Is that fair? Of course not, because it takes away from the
accomplishments of a hard-earned 10-win season.
At least the Wolverines won't be put in such an unfair
nosition at the start of next season.

I

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