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March 08, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Uos presence
will cary over
ito next season
SHICAGO - Louis Bullock and Robbie Reid sat next
to Brian Ellerbe just minutes after ending their
Michigan careers. As Ellerbe spoke about the
Wolverines' 18-point loss to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of
he Big Ten Tournament, the departing seniors sat mute,
etting reality sink in.
Ellerbe then tried to describe how to replace such a prolific
andem, a task he now faces. The answer is simple - you
can't.
"You don't replace guys like that;' Ellerbe said. "The
iames change and the jerseys change."
ice you wouldn't believe. Next season, the Wolverines -
M their existing players and a solid recruiting class - are
going to have to account for 50 percent of the point produc-
ion that they lose when Bullock and Reid move on.
Luckily for Michigan, the two have made that job a lot
asier. The team has grown considerably from the beginning
>f the season, thanks almost entirely to the pair's leadership.
The two have been instrumental
>ars of successful Michigan programs,
:ven as recently as last season. And as
he only remaining contributors from
ast.year's talented team, the two have
h uite a bit of teaching to do.
While Ellerbe might not have said it
diretly, the seniors' job was two-fold
his year. First, they were to hoist the ANDY
earn on their shoulders and carry the LATACK
negperienced squad as far as they pos- Cinter
sibly could. Second, they were to ease .
he two-year transition of players like
osh Asselin and Peter Vignier - from
itto-used reserves on last year's team to go-to players next
eason.
&is was all part of Ellerbe's plan. After taking over a pro-
ram handcuffed by NCAA sanctions, Ellerbe is finally able
o recruit for the first time at Michigan. And he is building
>neof the program's more promising recruiting classes.
\lthough he was devoted to this season, he kept an eye on
he Tuture, as any coach must.
He had two players, natural leaders, who knew how win.
And he was counting on them to show everyone else that
would be here after they had departed.
This wasn't always an easy task, and it required plenty of
>atience. Asselin and Smith played sparingly last year -
e er Peter Vignier played even less - and all three were
h abruptly into a starting role at the beginning of this
eason.
And Ellerbe didn't expect them to be the three stooges
vho stood around and watched the explosive backcourt.
Look no further than Michigan's Big Ten Tournament
howing to see that the message has gotten across. Coming
nto the contest with the Buckeyes, Asselin was the
Wolverines' X-factor. In the two teams' previous meetings,
Asselin had posed difficulties for Ohio State's undersized
rontline.
d while he may have struggled against Ohio State,
h ing just 2-of-6 from the field, the impressive thing was
hat he was in the game.
All season, the sophomore forward had been prone to foul
rouble, often committing four fouls midway through the sec-
)nd half and exiling him to the bench when the Wolverines
lesperately need his physical presence.
Asselin was in the game for as long as the Wolverines
vere - he picked up just three fouls - altering shots and
;rabbing rebounds until Ellerbe took him out. That wouldn't
ave happened two months ago.
Sure, Ellerbe and the coaching staff remind Asselin to play
<.But it's being on the floor with people who do the
that drives the message home.
Vignier's turnaround is even more impressive. The junior
aw such little playing time in his first two seasons that, a
nonth into his first season as a starter he had set career highs
n every single offensive category.
Now the 6-foot-11, 260-pounder is using his size, pulling
lown 7.6 rebounds a game and standing among the Big Ten
eaders in that category.
In Michigan's first-round win over Purdue, Vignier scored
I1 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, helping the Wolverines
irate the smaller Boilermakers on the boards.
"Nobody would've expected Peter Vignier to be one of the
op rebounders in the league, or get a double-double in the
irst round of the tournament, Ellerbe said. "We've

mproved a lot since the beginning of the season."
Next to him, Bullock and Reid sat silently. Maybe it's
ecause they knew the reason.
- E-mail Andy Latack at latack@umich.edu.

It's all over for Hawkeye streak

By Michael Shafrir
Daily Sports Writer
For the first time in 25 years, the Iowa
fans weren't cheering after the Big Ten
WrestlinghChampionships. They left the
cheers to the Minnesota fans.
The Golden Gophers ended a leg-
endary streak in the history of college
wrestling with a first-place finish in yes-
terday's championship. They tallied 139
points to Iowa's 121. Michigan finished
fifth with 76.5.
"We usually come to this tournament
expecting to go away with Iowa winning,"
Minnesota coach J Robinson said.
The outcome of the tournament was
never in question, as Minnesota placed
five wrestlers in the championship

rounds, winning three individual titles.
Brandon Eggum was victorious at 184
pounds while Tim Hartung and Brock
Lesnar won the 197 and heavyweight
classes, respectively.
Hartung was named the wrestler of the
year in the Big Ten.
"Winning the team title is much bigger
than any individual title," Hartung said.
The Hawkeyes were led by individual
champions Doug Schwab, T.J. Williams,
and Jamie Heidt.
Schwab defeated Michigan's Damion
Logan at 141 pounds. The Wolverines'
other finalist was Joe Warren, who lost to
Michigan State's Pat McNamara for the
fourth time this season.
Despite the excitement of Big Tens, it

seemed everyone at the championships
was looking two weeks down the road to
the NCAA Championships, March 18-20
in State College.
"Sure, it's a great tournament to win,"
Iowa coach Jim Zalesky said. "But we
need to build on our performance here
and look towards Penn State."
Zalesky tried to downplay the impor-
tance of the streak.
"The streak was going to end some-
time' he said. "History was going to be
made whether or not we won."
Michigan coach Dale Bahr, in his final
Big Ten Championship, said that the sport
of wrestling is better off now.
"The championships are now open to
See WRESTLE, Page 7B

BRIAN RAY/The Daily Iowan
Try as they might, the Michigan wrestlers didn't end Iowa's
25-year winning streak at Big Tens - Minnesota's did.

I

a

sad1

ess

No sweet
16th year
o tourney
play fr'M'
By Josh Klelnbaum
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - Louis Bullock sat on
the bench, his big, puppy-dog eyes wet
with tears. A few seats down, Robbie
Reid was holding a towel, wiping his
own moist eyes. The two seniors, the
heart and soul of the Michigan men's
basketball team all season, watched
helplessly as the clock ticked down, end-
ing Michigan's worst season in 17 years
with one of its worst games of the sea-
son. When the dust cleared, Michigan
suffered an 87-69 defeat to No. 10 Ohio
State on Friday in the quarterfinals of the
Big Ten Tournament.
Just an hour and a half earlier,
Michigan's outlook was peachy. Using a
simple game plan, Michigan was able to
build an early nine-point lead.
Each possession, the Wolverines
looked to get one of their big men, for-
ward Josh Asselin or center Pete Vignier,
a touch. The post player would try to
exploit his size advantage over a small
Ohio State front line, or draw defenders
to the paint then kick the ball out to an
open guard for a jump shot.
And it worked. With just over nine
minutes to play in the first half,
Michigan had developed a formidable
inside-outside attack. The frontcourt had
nine points, the backcourt had 13 and
Michigan had a 22-13 lead.
But the lead was fragile. Despite the
Wolverines' strong shooting and pesky
defense, it was the Buckeyes who were
doing the little things - forcing
turnovers with a stingy press and domi-
nating the boards. Midway through the
half, Michigan was outshooting Ohio
State, 51 percent to 25, but the
Wolverines had taken just 15 shots to
Ohio State's 28. Second-chance opportu-
nities were preventing Michigan from
building a big lead.
"The big turning point was us not
being able to rebound the basketball,"
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said.
"They were quicker to the ball and had
too much depth and athleticism for us."
See BIG TENS, Page 5B

LOUIS BROWN/Daily
Louis Bullock saw his Illustrious Michigan career end bitterly Friday night in an 87-69 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarter-
finals. Bullock leaves Michigan as the Big Ten's all-time leader in 3-point field goals.

Men's swimming
tid in conference

Icers finish as CCHA No. 2

By Jon Zomke
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON -- The Michigan
men's swimming and diving team is
known as a distance team. But at the end
of1e Big Ten championship meet on
Fe 7 the Wolverines didn't swim the
distance fast enough as they finished
third.
The meet remained close until the
final day of competition. Michigan was
within 13.5 points of first place Penn
State and 6.5 behind second-place

The Wolverines' prospects looked
promising with the 1,650-yard freestyle
yet to be swam, which is traditionally the
Wolverines best race, and the 200 butter-
fly where senior Tom Malchow is ranked
third in the world.
"The mile is going to be our cash
cow" Michigan senior captain Andy
Potts said. "That's where we have to do
our damage."
Michigan looked in good shape after
sweeping the top three spots by sopho-
more Chris Thompson, freshman Tim

By Mark Rancescutti
Daily Sports Writer
MARQUETTE - The Michigan hockey team
poured salt over its road wounds and then washed
them away this past weekend.
Riding a 10-game road winless streak - their
worst since the 1978-79 season - the Wolverines
needed a win away from home to clinch second
place.
Michigan answered the call by shutting down the
high-powered Northern Michigan offense and
cruised to a 5-2 victory.
The victory gave the Wolverines their first road
win since Dec. 5 and clinched second place after
Ohio State lost to Bowling Green and denied the
Wildcats home ice in the CCHA playoffs.
"I liked our team effort;' Michigan coach Red

playoff, desperation hockey."
The key to Michigan's road success is notching
the first goal. The Wolverines are 1-5-2 away from
Yost when the opponent scores first and 4-0-2 when
they notch the initial goal.
And it looked as if Michigan was primed to strike
first against Northern Michigan, outshooting the
Wildcats 11-4 in the first 10 minutes. But with 4:29
left in the opening stanza, two Wolverines were sent
to the penalty box, giving the Wildcats a two-man
advantage.
But as the Lakeview Arena crowd roared for the
Wildcats to shoot, a pass that went awry was mis-
handled by Northern Michigan defenseman Lee
Ruff. Geoff Koch picked up the loose puck and
swooped down the ice with Scott Matzka on a two-
on-one. Koch split the defense, then left the puck

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