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January 29, 2001 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-29

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 29, 2001 -58

Quote of the weekend
"When referees can have press conferences
and tell you what they think about me, Ill
tell you what I think about them. Until then,
I'l keep my mouth shut."
- Northwestern coach Bill Carmody

SATURDAY S GAME
Michigan 72
Northwestern 65

Player of the game
Michigan forward L.aVel Blanchard
Blanchard continues to put up big numbers,
scoring 21 points and adding an important nine
rebounds in Michigan's 72-65 victory

pown the stretch, Blanchard
is a force for Michigan

By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Editor

EVANSTON - Saturday night, LaVell
Blanchard finally became the go-to player
Michigan has needed him to become.
As recently as Thursday's 55-51 loss to No. 7
Ib is, Blanchard - or anyone for that matter -
could not make a shot to keep up with the Fighting
Illini as they made a late-game run to pull away.
In Michigan's loss to Ohio State two weeks ago,,
Blanchard missed a dunk in the second half when
Michigan was rallying.
And against Wake Forest in Nov. 28, when the
Wolverines needed a basket and turned to
Blanchard to carry them, the Demon Deacons
pulled away.
&hile it might be unfair to expect the young
B'chard to carry ,Michigan, this is the pressure
that is placed on him as a result of the departures of
Jamal Crawford and Kevin Gaines.
Saturday night, Blanchard carried the Wolverines
down the stretch, helping them secure a win that
they needed.
"It's hard to stop that guy,' Northwestern coach
Bill Carmody said. "He's hitting his shots right
now.".
After Michigan found itself down nine at the half,
Blanchard came out in the second half and scored
1lf his 21 points, including five important free
t s to salt the. win. In the Wolverines' previous
road game, Blanchard scored a career-high 30
points in a win at Iowa.
"I'm confident," Blanchard said. "I'm just hitting
my shots now."

And the more Blanchard hits his shots, the more
shots open up for other Wolverines.
"I think a lot of people are playing well right
now," sophomore shooting guard Gavin Groninger
said. "And (opposing teams) are going to start
focussing on LaVell."
In Saturday's game, Michigan shot 49 percent
from the field. While this might not sound very
high, it should be good enough for several more
wins, assuming the Wolverines continue their suc-
cess as one of the Big Ten's best offensive rebound-
ing teams.
Of course, the Wolverines' home game against.Y'
defending national champion Michigan State
tomorrow will also go a long way in deciding any
post-season dreams. If Michigan can pull out a win,
it would create a buzz around the campus that has ;
been missing since Robert Traylor led Michigan
over Duke just over three years ago - a game
remembered as the last time the Michigan fans
rushed the court.
If Michigan is to beat the Spartans, Blanchard,
will probably need to be the best player on the court.
Opposing small forward and Blanchard's rival,
Jason Richardson, is leading the Spartans in scoring
with 16 points per game.
"I enjoy playing against him," Blanchard said.
"I've been playing against him since I was a kid, and
I enjoy playing against great players like him."
When the two squared off in the Michigan statek
title game their senior year in high school,
Blanchard outdueled Richardson to lead his team to
the state title. AP PHOTO
Now they're competing for an even more impor- LaVell Blanchard has raised his level of play recently in all facets of the game. Michigan will need an
tant state title. ultra-productive Blanchard to beat its next two opponents, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

SATURDAY'S GAME
MICHIGAN (72) TRE
F2G FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Blanchard 37 6-11 8-9 1-9 3 3 21
Young 17 45 0-0 0-2 0 4. 8
Asselin 40 5=9 6-6 2-9 1 4 16
Queen 25 3-3 0-0 0-0 5. 1 8
Robinson 35 2-8 0-0 3-8 6 2 4.
Jones 6 1-2 0.0 0-0 0,0 3
Searight '15 14 2-2 0.2 4 1 4 1
Groninger 25 2=7 2-3 1-1 0 0 8
Totals 200 24.49 18-20 7-31 19 15 72
FG%: -490. FT%:.900.3-point F: 6-15 .400
(Queen 2-2, Groninger 2-6. Jones 1-1, Blanchard 1.3
Robinson 0-3). Blocks: 4 (Asselin 3, Blanchard).
Steals: 5 (Searight 2, Asselin, Groninger,
Robinson). Turnovers: 13 (Young 4, Asselin 3,
Groninger 2. Robinson 2, Blanhard. Queen).
Technical fouls: none.
Northwestern (65)
MIN M-A M-A O-T A F PTS
Blake 37 8-14 0-1 0-2 3 5 23
.Johnson 39 8-16 1-2 2-4 4 3 19 -
Hardy 30 3-6 4-5 3-6 5 4 10
Young 28 1-6 1-2 12 4 1 3
Drayton 38 2-4.0-0 0-2 1 3 5
Burke 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. 0
McCants 16 '1-5 0-0 0-3 1 1 3 >
Jennings 10 1-2 0-0- 0-0 2 2 2:
Totals 200 24-53 6-10 6-19 20 19 65
FG%: .453. FT%: 600. 3-point FG: 11-31-355
(Blake 7-13, Johnson 2.6, Drayton 1-2. Hardy .1-5,
Young 0-1. Young 0-3). Blocks: 0 Steals: 4 (Young
4). Turnovers: 10 (Drayton 4, Hardy 2. Jennings,
Johnson, McCants, Young). Technical Fouls: none.

Michigan............................30 42
Northwestern...........39 26
At: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston
Attendance: 5418

- 72
-65

y I

BIG TEN STANDINGS

Conference

Team
Illinois
Michigan State
Iowa
Purdue
Wisconsin
Ohio State
Minnesota
Indiana
Michigan
Penn State
Northwestern.

W
6
5
5
5
4
4
3
2
0

L
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
8

Overall
W L
16 4
16 2
16 4
13 6
13 4
13 7
15 5
12 9'
9 9
12 6
7 13

A LINE IN THE

SAND?

M ally makes its first comeback
Blanchard suffers minor sprain; Crawford attends

}ti
4.
? 1

By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Editor
EVANSTON - A nine-point first half deficit at
Northwestern was by no means an anomaly for Michigan. The
Wolverines have played sluggishly in many first halves on the
road this season.
But in the past, slow starts usually produced blowouts.
Saturday, Michigan broke the trend
and assembled its first come-from- BASKETBALL
behind victory.
The post-game press conference Notebook
showed that Northwestern coach Bill
Carmody thought I I 3-pointers would be enough for his team
to complete the upset.
Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe said his team played an intel-
ligent second half. In the past, he has said that unforced mis-
takes have been the Wolverines' downfall.
"We didn't turn the ball over very much in the second half,
Ellerbe said.
Specifically, Michigan's freshman point guards Avery
Queen and Maurice Searight didn't turn the ball over once in
the second half. At the same time, the freshman duo combined
for nine assists.
With the team following suit, Michigan compiled an impres-
sive 1.5-to-l assist-to-turnover ratio - a tell-tale stat that
Ellerbe points to when analyzing this squad's efforts.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Both Michigan junior Chris Young and
sophomore LaVell Blanchard exited the lockerroom last
Saturday night with a bag of ice taped to his ankle. Both play-
ers suffered light sprains in the Wolverines' win against
Northwestern.
But the two starters do expect to be ready to play against
Michigan State tomorrow.
"Are youkidding?" Blanchard said when asked about his
status for the game. "This is the big one."
CRAWFORD IN TOUCH: Former Michigan player Jamal

Crawford stopped by Welsh-Ryan Arena to catch the second
half of Michigan's win.
Crawford spent just one, suspension-ridden season with
Michigan before leaving for the NBA draft. He was drafted
eighth by Cleveland, and then traded to the Chicago.Bulls.
"It was great to see everyone," Crawford said. "I was ner-
vous like I was in the (Michigan),game."

Last Saturday's results:
IOWA 71, Indiana 66
OHIO STATE 64, Michigan State 55
Michigan 72, NORTHWESTERN 65
WIScoNSIN 63, Penn State 58
PURDUE 83, Minnesota 68
Tuesday's ames:
Michigan State at Michigan, 7 p.m.
Butler at Wisconsin, 9 p.m.
Wednesday's games:
Illinois at Penn. State, 8 p.m.
Buffalo at Northwestern, 8 p.m.
Indiana at Ohio State, 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Iowa, 8:05 p.m.
Saturday's games:
Wisconsin at Michigan, 12:15 p.m.
Northwestern at Illinois, 2:30 p.m.
Indiana at Penn State, 4:30 p.m.
Ohio State at Minnesota 8 p.m:
Sunday's games.
Purdue at Michigan State, 1 p.m.

.. .

LOUIS BROWN/ Daily
There has been plenty to cheer about for enthusiastic Michigan State fans
invading Crisler Arena the last two seasons, like the one above.
*For the past two years, Michigan test 13-2, coming off a 64-55 loss to
State's visits to Crisler have been Ohio State. In all likelihood, the
nothing short of nightmarish for Spartans will be looking to take their
Michigan. aggression out on the Wolverines.
The scores have been humbling But there's also a feeling that if
enough. Michigan can reverse the recent histo-
The Wolverines fell 82-62 last sea- ryof this series -Michigan State has
son in the first game of former won five-consecutive contests - it
Michigan player Jamal Crawford's may be able to change the tide of the
spension. One might trace the open- program.
gof Michigan's current wounds "This is a game that could get us
back to that day. Michigan also lost in over the hump and put us in the upper
embarrassing fashion, 73-58, in 1999. half of the league where we need to
But the incursion of rambunctious be" junior Leon Jones said. "It's a
Michigan State fans has soured the huge game."
pallets of the entire University. The potential for the almost mythi-
Michigan State will enter the con- cal breakthrough victory exists.
For more pregame coverage of the Michian-Michigan
State basketball game, pick up tomorrow sDaily.

AP PHOTO
Bernard Robinson had six assists to just two tumovers, one of
the reasons Michigan was able to erase the Wildcats' lead.

UPHILL BATTLE
Making the NCAA tournament
won't be impossible for Michigan.
Last year, Wisconsin made the
NCAA Tournament as an eight seed
with a 18-13 record. It finished
sixth in the Big-Ten with an 8
regular season record and a 16-12
overallrecord.. - r
The Badgers advanced to the Big
Ten tournament semi-finals with
wins over Northwestern and
Purdue before falling to Michigan
State.
For the Wolverines to repeat the
Badgers' feat, they will probably
need to finish their final nine Big
Ten games with at least a 6-3
record and one.to two Big en tour-
nament wins.
The Wolverines finish the year with
six games at home and three on
the road.
They still must play No. 3 Michigan
State twice and have visits from
No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 21'Iowa.
To make the tournament, Michigan
must win at least one of those
games and all five of the others
against"unranked opponents, which
include games at Penn State and
Indiana.

k
>
M

FINALLY FREE THROWS
If Michigan had shot free throws
as effectively all year as it did
against Northwestern, it's very
likely that the Wolverines would
have a better record than their cur-
rent 9-9 mark.
Game Free throws(pct.) Score
at Oakland 15-21(71) 97-90L
Wake Forest 12-23(52) 71-60L
at Purdue 6-17(35) 80-60L
Illinois 13-21(62) 55-51L
at N'westem 18-20(90) 72-6W

WI LDCATS
Continued from Page 1B
three games," Ellerbe said. 'I think
sometimes it may have surprised
them."
"We knew they couldn't shoot that
well the whole game," Michigan junior
Leon Jones added.
While Northwestern went frigid,
Michigan started utilizing its size
advantage to post-up and get to the
foul line. Shutout from free-throw
attempts in the first half, Michigan
made trips to the charity stripe 20
times in period two. And unlike some

tight games earlier in the season, the
Wolverines thrived, making 18 "foul
shots.. .
Northwestern finished the game 6-
of-10 on free throws. -
"It just so happened that we got the
calls in those particular situations,"
Ellerbe, who said he had contacted the
Big Ten office about overofficiating
earlier in the week, said.
Michigan sophomore LaVell
Blanchard scored 21 points, leading
Michigan for the third straight game.
Blanchard's -6-for-1 shooting also
-marks the third consecutive time he
has shot over 50 percent from the floor.

HOW THE AP Top 25 FARED

WEEKEND NOTES

BIG TEN ROUNDUP

No. 2 Duke 98, No. 8 MARYLAND
96: Shane Battier scored Duke's
last six points of overtime and
blocked Maryland's final shot,
extending the Blue Devils' ACC
road winning streak to 23
games.
Duke (7-0 ACC, 19-1 overall)
trailed by 10 with a minute left
when Jason Williams took over.
The sophomore guard scored
eight points - including two 3-
pointers - in a 13-second span
to get the Blue Devils within 90-
88 with 41 seconds to play.

was just a foul, and we had
to play."
The teammates respond-
ed. Notre Dame scored the
next 10 points.
The victory gives
Notre Dame (5-2 Big
East, 13-5 overall),
its first four-game
conference winning
streak since joining
the Big East.
The Hoyas are now
4-2 and 17-2.
No. 12 ARIZONA 80, No.

OHIo STATE 64, No. 3
Michigan State 55:
Brian Brown scored a
career-high 25 points
and Ohio State used
a 16-2 run to
defeat No. 3
Michigan State
Saturday.
The Spartans
(5-2 Big Ten,
16-2 overall),
who had won
their last four
games, would

made it a rude reunion for his for-
mer Indiana teammates, scoring
27 points and keying a second-
half rally as No. 21 Iowa beat the
Hoosiers this past Saturday.
Recker, who played at Indiana
his first two seasons before
transferring to Arizona in 1999,
and then moving to Iowa a year
ago, scored 17 points in the sec-
ond half as Iowa (16-4, 5-2 Big
Ten) came back after trailing by
as many as 19.
Indiana (12-9, 3-4) is 0-4 on the
road in the conference this year.

Team
1. Stanford
2. Duke
3. Michigan State
4. Kansas
5. North Carolina'
6. Tennessee
7 Illinois
8. Maryland
9. Wake Forest
10. Georgetown
11. Syracuse
12. Arizona

Record
19-0
18-1
16-2
17-1
16-2
17-3
16-4
14-5
13-5
17-2
16-3
14-5
1d-A

This week's results
Beat Washington State 72=61
Beat Maryland 98-96 (OT)
Lost to Ohio State 64-55
Beat.Kansas State 92-66
Beat North Carolina State 60-52
Lost to Georgia 77-75 (20T)
idle
Lost to Duke 98-96 (T)
Lost to Cincinnati 78-72 (OT)
Lost to Notre Dame 78-71
Beat Rutgers 68-54
Beat Texas 80-52
Rpnt C L-cnn 1AA-76

i

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