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March 08, 1999 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-08

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 8, 1999 - 5B

Quote of the weekend
"The tiuming p0o was us not being able
toreboundbthe basketbaI"
- Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe on the
reason why Michigan lost to Ohio State, 87-
69, Friday night

I W Michigan 79

Ohio State

Player of the tournament
Power forward Josh Asselin
Asselin ruled the paint area r the foflverines
against' Purdue, scoring 19 points and grab-
bing 10 rebounds. Asselin also made an impact
against Ohio State with nine points and seven




I~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _

r - . *

State breaks Illinois' glass slipper in Big Ten final

Michigan final statS



fy Josh Klshnbaum
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - The clock struck midnight a
few hours early for the Illinois men's basket-
ball team.
After upsetting three top-25 teams in as
many days - equaling their number of con-
ference victories during the entire regular
season - the 11th-seeded Illini crashed back
to reality with a hard thump yesterday, falling
to Michigan State, 67-50.
The loss ended Illinois' stunning Big Ten
tournament run and its season in one fell
swoop. The Illini (3-13 Big Ten, 14-18 over-
all) were trying to become the first last-place
team to win a major conference tournament
since 1979.
But the glass slipper was one size too
small, and Cinderella missed its chance to
meet Prince Charming, known as the Big
Dance in the college basketball version of the
popular fairy tale. Instead, Illinois will watch
as the second-ranked Spartans (15-1, 29-4)
try to add an NCAA crown to their Big Ten
"This caps off an unbelievable Big Ten sea-
son for us," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
said. "It's a great day for the Spartans."
The Spartans used their depth and experi-
ence to wear down a young and tired Illinois
team. Almost entirely underclassmen, Illinois
was playing in its fourth game in four days,
and the effects were noticeable. The Illini did-

n't execute as well as they did during the past
three days, committing too many turnovers
while their defense frequently collapsed. By
the second half, the Illini were finally begin-
ning to look like a No. 11 seed.
"We played four games in four days, but
Michigan State played three games in three
days," Illinois coach Lon Kruger said. "It
wasn't so much fatigue as it was Michigan
For the first time in the tournament, the
Illini appeared scared. Earlier in the tourna-
ment, they were playing aggressive, all-out
basketball, leaving nothing on the line. But
yesterday, they appeared to hold back, fright-
ened by the mighty Spartans.
And maybe rightfully so. The victory
improved the Spartans' best-ever conference
win streak to 17 and shored up their No. I
seed in the NCAA Tournament. After a scare
in the first round of the tournament by
Northwestern, the top-seeded Spartans easily
cruised to the championship.
"Last year we watched (the championship
game) on TV," Michigan State guard Mateen
Cleaves said.. "This year we really wanted to
win the tournament."
Cleaves has been doing his part to reach
that goal, and yesterday was no different, as
Cleaves continued his mastery, creating plays
for the Spartans and scoring when called
upon. The junior finished the day with 9
points and 10 assists, falling just one point

short of his second straight double-double.
He had 29 assists with just four turnovers on
the tournament and was named the tourna-
ment's Most Outstanding Player by the
"I have to credit to my teammates," Cleaves
said of the assists. "They made my job easy.:
The Spartans built up a big lead in the first
half when Illinois' shooters went ice cold. In
the last nine minutes of the half, Illinois hit
just one field goal and shot a horrendous six-
of-I1 from the charity stripe.
And the Spartans dominated the inside,
outscoring Illinois 18-6 in the paint and out
rebounding the Illini, 19-14. By halftime,
Michigan State was leading, 38-25 and never
looked back. The Illini kept the game
respectable thanks to strong play by freshman
guard Corey Bradford. His 21 points led the
Illini and helped earn him a spot on the all-
tournament team. Joining him on the team
were Cleaves, Michigan State's Antonio
Smith, Ohio State's Michael Redd and
Northwestern's Evan Eschmeyer.
Despite their brilliant three-day run to the
tournament finals, the Illini find themselves
no better off then they were a week ago. After
sleepwalking through the regular season to a
3-13 conference record, they are ineligible for
both the NCAA tournament and the NIT.
"We had a second chance at the NCAA
Tournament," Bradford said, "but Michigan
State kicked our butts.'


Vignier 229
Asselin 183
Bullock 127
Asselin 9511
Young 3116
Vignier 8311

75 .543
3 .492
74 .477



1781206 .864





Michigan State's Morris Peterson helped his Spartans sink
Illinois and win the Big Ten Tournament yesterday.

Michigan State fans the
best in the tourney, too

- By Pranay Reddy
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - It wasn't exactly Sly and the
Family Stone, but Michigan State's cheering section
was definitely family - at least that's what their
shirts said.
Seated at the corner of the arena across from the
opposing team's band, family members of Michigan
State's players were adorned in shirts reading "We
are family of the Big Ten Champs."
It may have been a bit audacious, but then again,
vlichigan State's 'Flintstones' (the nickname given
to the four Spartans who hail from Flint) have never
been known to be shy.
Belle Bell and Frances BASKETBALL
Cleaves, mothers of Michigan Noteb k
State guards Charlie and ook
Mateen, respectively, led the "--'"-------
charge all tournament long. In addition to out-cheer-
ing any of Michigan State's cheerleaders, the
Flintstones did their share of trash talking.
During Michigan State's first-round victory over
orthwestern, the cheering section was especially
ornery - particularly with the Northwestern band.
After nearly every bucket or defensive stop by the
Spartans, the Flintstones' families lashed out at the
unsuspecting Wildcat band. On that day, it was
arguable whether Mateen Cleaves did more talking
on the court - or if his mom did from the stands.
reputations as two of the more fiery coaches in the
Big Ten, Northwestern's Kevin O'Neill and
Indiana's Bobby Knight weren't going to go quietly

into the night. Especially on the league's biggest
stage of the season at press conferences after their
tournament losses.
Coming out after Northwestern's loss to top-seed-
ed Michigan State, O'Neill was asked by a reporter
about his thoughts on the shot-blocking of Michigan
State forward Antonio Smith. O'Neill's response:
"How many did he have?" Undaunted, the reporter
followed by asking O'Neill his thoughts on Smith's
rebounding. Again, without hesitation, O'Neill
responded, "How many did he have? I'm not trying
to be an asshole, I just didn't notice."
Smith blocked two shots in the game, but his sec-
ond blocked a potential game tying shot in the final
Not to be outdone in the evening session, Knight
left reporters waiting for more than 10 minutes fol-
lowing Indiana's 82-66 loss to No. I1-seed Illinois.
BUT DID HE CALL GLASS?: Last week at
Wisconsin, with the Wisconsin game plodding
along, senior guard Louis Bullock hit the most sig-
nificant shot of the day - his only three pointer of
the game. The well-defended bank shot wasn't pret-
ty, but it broke the all-time Big Ten record for career
After the shot, Bullock just shrugged his shoul-
ders and pretended he called the shot.
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said after the game
that getting the senior the record was one of the pri-
orities in the game, adding that Bullock is a "special
player" that "doesn't come around too often."
- Daily News Editor Mike Spahn contributed to
this report.

Louis Bullock helped the Michigan basketball team extend its season one extra game in the Big Ten
tournament, scoring 26 points in the Wolverines' 79-73 victory.

Ohio State's defense,
fatigue stop Blue

By Pranay Reddy
Daily Sports Editor
* CHICAGO - A day after needing
overtime to upset No. 7 seed Purdue
in the first round of the Big Ten bas-
ketball tournament, the Michigan
basketball team brought its weary
legs to the United Center for a sec-
ond round contest with Ohio State.
While the Buckeyes showed signs
of rustiness due to a first-round bye,
it was clear by the end of their 87-69
defeat of the Wolverines that
Michigan's lack of depth fully com-
*ensated for Ohio State's slow start.
"The overtime game really took a
lot out of us," Michigan coach Brian
Ellerbe lamented. "We really gutted
out a win (against Purdue) and our
guards just ran out of gas. They just
had too much depth and too much
athleticism for us today."
Early on, Michigan guards Louis
Bullock and Robbie Reid showed no
jigns of fatigue by contributing a
of 17 first-half points. But after
opening a game-high nine-point lead
more than six minutes into the game,
the Wolverines opened the door for
Ohio State by giving the Buckeyes a
number of second-chance opportuni-
ties on offense.

Boban Savovic, who grabbed a total
of 18 boards.
"We needed to stay aggressive"
when rebounding Ohio State coach
Jim O'Brien said. "It wasn't so much
bulk or size, we kind of did it with
some quickness."
In a sense, Ohio State's 34-31 half-
time lead seemed to be a moral vic-
tory of sorts for the Buckeyes, who
were slow to get out of the gate after
waiting nearly a week to play a
game. Everyone from Ohio State
stars Scoonie Penn and Redd to role
players like Savovic were listless to
begin the contest, but were quick to
shake it off as the second half began.
"It just took a while for me to
warm up -- it was just rust," Penn
But until all the Buckeyes were on
the same page, O'Brien looked to the
end of his bench to find some much-
needed sparks. In addition to
Savovic, who scored eight points and
snatched four steals in addition to
his five boards, Ohio State's George
Reese and Neshaun Coleman were
big in relief.
Coleman delivered a well-timed
five points during a game-clinching
second-half run, while Reese

Continued fromPage1B
With about nine minutes to play in the
half, Ohio State switched from man
defense to a zone, mostly due to foul
trouble. But it was far more effective.
Ohio State was able to cut off the passing
lanes to the post players, forcing a hand-
ful of turnovers. Michigan's shooters
went cold just as the Buckeyes started to
heat up. In the last 9:05 of the first half,
Michigan did not hit a shot from the
field, and Ohio State turned a nine-point
deficit to a three-point halftime lead.
Michigan kept the game close for the
first four minutes of the second half, but
Vignier picked up his fourth foul early in
the half and Michigan completely aban-
doned its early inside-outside strategy.
Frustration crept through. Bullock and
Reid were trying to do too much, taking
a handful of ill-advised shots instead of
being patient.
Ellerbe and Asselin both picked up
technical fouls.
"Maybe it was my fault"Asselin said,
showing his frustration. "Maybe I didn't
work hard enough"
The Buckeyes got contributions from
everyone. Guard Michael Redd led them
with 19 points, but seven players scored
eight or more. And as Ohio State's lead
grew, Michigan's poise deteriorated.
Playing with tired legs from an overtime
game the day before, Ohio State out-
played Michigan in every category -
rebounding, shooting, hustle, even heart.
They outscored Michigan 53-38 in the
second half. In the opening-round game
arncaa: n-Asp n rre * v Did11A-

Asselin 35 6-11 71 410 0 4 19
Smith 25 1-4 0-0 1-4 4 5 2
Vignier 31 5.8 102 6.10 2 5 11
Reid 44 5-14 1-2 1-5 4 1 15
Bullock 42 8-19 6-7 3-7 3 2 26
Jones 19 0-3 6-6 1-3 0 4 6
Oliver 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Young 24 0-2 0-0 1-4 0 2 0
Totals 225 25.61 21.2819.4613 23 79
FG%: .410. FT%: .750. 3-point FG: 8-20,-400 (Reid
410, Bullock 4-8, Jnes 0-2). Blocks: 3 (Asselin,
Smith, Vignier). Steals: 8 (Bullock 3, Asselin 2,
Reid 2, Jones). Turnovers: 9 (Reid 3, Young 2,
Jones, Oliver, Smith, Vignier). Technical Fouls
Cardinal 40 -18 12-14 3-9 4 3 33
McQuay 35 7-12 .2-4 4-8 0 5 16
Eldridge 42 2-7 0-0 1.4 3 1 5
Mayfield 36 4-8 0-0 1-3648
Cornell 23 1-5 2-2 0-0 3 5 5
Lewis 4 0000- 0 0 0 0
Stephens 14 0.2 0- 0-0 0 0 0
Robinson 20 1-3 2-4 2-4 1 1 4
Cunningham 9 1-3 0-1 0-11 0 2
Allison 2 0-0 00 0.1 0 2 0
Totals 225 2468 18.25133518 21 73
F0%: .414. FIN: .720. 3-paint FG: 7-19. .368
(Cardinal 5-10, Cornell 1-4, Eldridge 1-3, Mayfeld
02. Blocks: 0. Steals: 6 (Cardinal 2, ComeI 2,
Mayfield, Robinson). Turnovers: 10 (McQuay 4,
Robinson 2, Cardinal, Cunningham, Mayeld,
Stephens). Technical Fouls: none.
Michigan.............30 41 12-79
Indiana .............37 36 6-73
At United Center, Chicago
Asselin 33 2-6 5.7 1-7 1 3 9
Smith 31 3-7 4-5 1-4 4 2 10
Vignier 22 1-5 6-6 4.8 0 4 8
Reid 37 4-12 2-2 0-1 1 2 13
Bullock 31 4-13 9-10 1-3 1 4 19
Jones 15 0-2 1-2 0-0 3 2 1
Taylor 2 1-1 0-0 01 0 0 2
Scott 1 0-0 00 0-0 00 0
Hunter 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Gibson 1 0-0 0-00-0000
Oliver 3 0.1 2-2 1-1 1 1 2
Young 20 1-1 0-0 1-3 1 1 2
Szynar 2 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 0 3
Totals 200 17-50 30-35 9.28 11 22 69
FG%: .340. Ft%: .857. 3-point FG: 5-17, .294 (Reid
3-8, Bullock 2-6, Jones 0-2, Smith 0.1). Blocks:7
(Smith 4, Asselin, Bullock, Young). Steals: 3
(Oliver, Reid,Szyndlar). Turnovers: 20 (Reid 7,
Bullock 5, Asselin 2, Young 2, Jones, Smith,
Szyndlar, Vignier). Technical Fouls: Bench, Asselin.
en r rmt


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