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November 15, 1999 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-15

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SB The Michigan Daily -- SportsMonday - November 15, 1999

'M' freshmen show
up Team Prestige
Crawford, Gaines combine for 28 last night

Tortoise-like Michigan steadily finds success

by David Den Herder
Daily Sports Writer
Team Prestige was taken to school
at Crisler Arena last night. The class?
Michigan 101.
As in Michigan 101, Team Prestige
With a showtime-style perfor-
mance from their two freshman
guards, Jamal Crawford and Kevin
Gaines, the Wolverines eclipsed the
century mark for the first time in two
years, albeit in an exhibition victory
Ho, hum, says Brian Ellerbe. The
story lies elsewhere.
"Obviously, we can score," Ellerbe
said last night.
What was more impressive wasn't
a high stat, but a low one. With only
nine turnovers, the Wolverines sliced
last Wednesday's ugly total of 28 by
more than two-thirds.
"Even the ones we made could
have been avoided," Ellerbe said. "It
seemed like every time we got up 12
or 13 we had a transition opportuni-
But Michigan had trouble pulling
away. After the Wolverines went on a
14-4 run in the first half - capped
by two straight Gavin Groniger 3-
pointers and a Josh Asselin dunk
Team Prestige clawed within six at
"Kevin (Gaines) pushes it so hard,
you don't want to take that from
him," Ellerbe said. "But he's got to
make a couple better decisions, and
make some easy plays."
Gaines looked decidedly more
comfortable at point last night. He

combined with Crawford for a total
of 28 points, and, perhaps more inter-
estingly, 12 assists.
Several times, junior center
Asselin was the beneficiary of
Crawford's and Gaines' generous
play. Most notable was a circus-style
no looker from Crawford under the
hoop to Asselin for a dunk late in the
"That's the way they play," Ellerbe
said. "They break people down and
make people better - they're not
selfish guys."
Asselin had no problem picking up
the rhythm of his guards. He finished
with a team-high 16 points -- and
one assist as the middle man on a
pretty give-and-go with Crawford.
Not to be outdone by the flashy
play of his classmates, LaVell
Blanchard racked up 14 points
including two 3-pointers, and shared
total rebound honors with Gaines -
each had seven.
Groniger finished with 14 points
and a team-high three steals. His
scrappy play earned him a poke in the
eye in the second half, but Groninger
said he will be fine for the season
opener Friday against Oakland.
Sophomore Leon Jones, who started
at forward, finished with 13 points
and two assists.
"It was a good measuring stick for
us," Ellerbe said of the final game in
the exhibition season.
"But now it's for real."
Yesterday's basketball box score.
Page 2B.

By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Sports Writer
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - They say
that facts tell the story. But if you see the
results of Saturday's Great Lakes
Regional as gospel, you aren't getting the
whole picture.
And that is an injustice.
Here were the Wolverines, the "come-
back kids," the Little Engine that Could,
the David to Wisconsin's Goliath,
halfway through the race and still hang-
ing with the two lead packs.
At that exact moment, it looked like
the Old Man was finally going to get his
marlin, and Michigan and Wisconsin

fans alike started to get that knot in the
stomach - this was coming down to the
wire and their team might not win.
There was little Mike Wisniewski, his
plight emblematic of the Wolverines'
season - for much of the race, the 5-foot-
8 junior was neck and neck with two
Wisconsin runners who looked better
suited for the three and four spots on a
basketball team than a cross country
Here was the upstart Tom Caughlan,
taking it out like a rocket in the first two
miles - prey to the excitement of it all but
wishful in thinking there was enough gas
in the tank to keep it up.

"It was an adrenaline thing" Caughlan
said. "I didn't even feel the first mile."
How about Steve Lawrence and Jay
Cantin? The seniors gutted it out with the
lead pack for the entire race, waiting to
make the move that all distance runners,
no matter how seasoned, dread.
The end surge.
Alas, it was not to be on this day. The
Badgers were too strong, too tall, too
tough. And above all, too rested..
"We didn't rest up for today'' Warhurst
said, while scanning the result sheet.
"Mike was running so fast today, but he
could have beat this guy right here if we
hadn't trained hard this week:'

Not to draw upon a tired analogy, but
the Wolverines have taken to the long-
term approach of the tortoise this season.
Now steady progression is the goaL as
opposed to the shoot-'cm-up mentality of
the past two years.
"Two years ago, if we didn't come in
and kick everybody's ass, it was like 'what
happened?" Lawrence said. "Now when
we do well, it's a surprise for people:
There's satisfaction in doing the best
you can with what you've got. In that
respect, this Michigan team is enjoying
the best season of their careers.
There isn't exactly a category for that
on a result sheet, is there?


Continued from Page 16
extremely confident in qualifying for
the championships one way or the
other, and so they all ran extremely con-'
servative races.
"It would have been nice to win,"
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said.
"But next week is more important than
this week. This week is to qualify and
get out of here without sprained ankles,
pulled muscles or just having your kids
so beat up that they can't recover."
Cantin said that everyone in the lead
pack - all from teams apparently run-
ning conservatively - were a bit con-
fused during the race, not knowing how
their coaches wanted them to run.
"Everybody was just waiting for
something to happen," Cantin said.
Whatever the strategy, both he and
Michigan's other co-captain, Steven
Lawrence, who finished sixth, were
both extremely satisfied with their runs.
"It was definitely my best race of the
season," Lawrence said. "I think I'm
coming around and it's the right time of
year to do so"
With Saturday's race being the first
of the NCAA meets, most coaches were

beginning to taper their workouts dur-
ing practice to save their runners'
strength for the big meets.
Warhurst, on the other hand, trained
his team hard regularly throughout the
week, planning to begin to lower the
distances early this week, and in doing
so, keep them better prepared for the
more important race. As a result,
Michigan ran several tired runners - a
point that should prove inconsequential
with today's selection announcement.
"I think we worked a lot harder than
most of these teams since conferences,"
said sophomore Tom Caughlan, who
finished fifth on the team, and 27th
But Caughlan's main concern is
adjusting to the new level of competi-
tion that comes with the NCAA
"Mentally, you've just got to prepare
yourself for the most pain you can pos-
sibly go through," he said. "Nationals is
250 crazy bastards who have been fired
up since December of last year and
everyone just goes balls-out."
As expected, junior John Butsic did
not race, the result of an injured ankle
suffered earlier this week in practice.

Continued from Page 113
event's history.
"It's going to run pretty quickly,"
McGuire said before the race. "The
early pace is going to be fast, and the
kids that aren't there at the start need to
make their move in the second and third
McGuire was right - the race
moved at a considerable speed.
Wisconsin sophomore Erica Palmer
established herself as the leader within
the first 200 feet. As she did at the Big
Ten Championship two weeks ago,
Palmer provided her midwestern audi-
ence with a sneak preview of the show
she will bring to nationals. Her time of
16:52:20 eclipsed the former meet
record - 17:02, set last year by current
Michigan assistant coach Katie
McGregor - by nearly 10 full seconds.
"I don't really care about it,"
McGregor said of her fallen record
after the race. "I'm just really proud of
our team. It took a large effort from
For their own part, the 15th-ranked
Wolverines were not able to keep 19th-
ranked Michigan State at bay for the.
second meet in a row. In a race that
Wisconsin was expected to win,
Michigan and Michigan State raced for
second place, and its accompanying
automatic bid.
As Michigan's No. 1 runner all sea-
son, junior Lisa Ouellet, fell out of the

team's top spot, battling a case of the
flu, junior Katie Clifford assumed the
burden of team leader and raced to a
surprising fifth-place individual finish.
"I went into the race thinking I could
to do this," Clifford said. "I have the
confidence to run up with those- top
girls. Right after the first 'K', I saw that
I was in the lead for the team, and I had
to keep moving up."
In spite of Ouellet's illness, the
Michigan women were pleased with
their performance and confident that it
was strong enough to earn them an at-
large bid.
"Two points is the bat of an eyelash,"
McGuire said. "Two points - it's like
missing the game-winning field goal by
an inch. The fact that we're a very close
third will get us in. If we get the call
(today) we can continue to move for-
ward. Right now it's sort of a limbo
Things are far from definite when it
concerns the NCAA's ability to select
teams for the postseason. For better or for
worse, McGuire's feeling of limbo will
be relieved by a phone call today. Should
it fail to qualify for the national meet,
Michigan will look back on the 1999
season finale with mixed emotions.
"Just about everyone had their best
race of the season," McGregor said.
"But sometimes your best just isn't
good enough, and that's the worst feel-
ing ever. To think that (not qualifying
for nationals) is a possibility is just real-
ly disheartening."



The Howard R. Marsh Center for the Study of
Journalistic Performance
presents a public lecture by Jeffrey Cohen
Columnist, Commentator and Founder of FAIR
(Fairness -& Accuracy in Reporting)
"Media Bias and Censorship in the Era of
the Conglomerates"
Monday, November 15, 1999 at 4:00 P.M.
Founder's Room - Alumni Center
Please contact the Department of Communication Studies (764-0420)
for more information.




To schedule an interview or to receive an application, contact
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International Center cc
603 E. Madison Street
(734) 647-2182
To find out about upcoming information sessions, contact our Web site www.peacecorpegm.



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