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November 19, 2001 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-19

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Amaker era begins
with sweet revenge

The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 19, 2001- 3B


By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
So it begins.
The much-hyped Tommy Amaker
era began Friday night at Crisler
Arena with an 81-73 revenge win
over Oakland.
It wasn't the prettiest win, but
Amaker's squad did what his prede-
cessor - former Michigan coach
B r i a n
Ellerbe - OAKLAND 73
couldn't do M A 81
in his final MICHIGAN1
season at
the helm: Beat the Golden Griz-
It was an important victory for a
team trying to regain its consistency
and tradition of excellence. Last
year's loss was a setback from
which the team did not recover, and
one that left the Wolverines vulnera-
ble to criticism of being just the
third or fourth best team in the
But Friday was a different story.
Despite early foul trouble for senior
center Chris Young, Michigan was
able to execute when it was sup-
posed to, and implement a style of
play - transition offense, high
traps on defense, patience to yield
good shot selection - that can only
Junior forward LaVell Blanchard
led the Wolverines with 14
rebounds, and was part of a bal-
anced scoring attack that included
fellow junior Gavin Groninger and
sophomore Bernard Robinson.
Groninger led the way with a game-
high 19 points, and was supported
by the contributions of Blanchard's
17 and Robinson's 15. Michigan
showed that it might have some
unforeseen depth as Amaker used
10 players, nine of whom saw dou-
ble-digit minutes.
Friday's game, like Michigan's
two exhibitions, was one in which
the team failed to produce two
strong halves. Following a timeout
Jones 16 1-4 3-4 1-2 2 2 5
Blanchard 35 6-13 46 4-14 1 4 17
Young 15 3-4 1-2 1-4 1 5 7
Gotfredson 22 1-1 00 0-0 2 2 3
Groninger 30 7-11 3-3 0-2 5 2 19
Queen 18 1-1 00 0-2 2 1 2
Ingerson 7 1-2 0-0 0-1 1 0 2
Robinson 29 5-8 5-5 0-0 4 2 15
Bailey 14 0-1 3-7 2-4 0 1 3
Moore 14 2-2 4-4 1-2 0 4 8
Team 0 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0
Totals. 200 27472331 9.32 18 23 81
FG%:.574. FT%:.742. 3-point FG: 4-14, .286
(Groninger 2-5, Blanchard 1-4, Jones 0-2, Robinson
0-2, Gotfredson 1-1). Blocks: 3 (Blanchard 2,
Young). Steals: 7 (Robinson 2, Jones, Blanchard,
Queen, Bailey, Moore). Turnovers: 20 (Robinson 6,
Blanchard 4, Jones 3, Groninger 2, Queen 2, Young,
Ingerson, Bailey). Technical fouls: none.
Oakland (73)
Covington 30 6-11 24 1-6 5 4 15
champagne 36 813 2-3 2-2 2 4 18
Sabourin 8 0-1 0-0 0.1 0 0 0
Rozycki 36 4-10 5-6 0-4 1 3 15
Helms 28 3-8 8-10 3-5 2 3 15
Williams, K. 19 02 0-0 02 0 5 0
Williams, R. 4 0-0 0-0 (10 0 2 0
Buddenborg 32 3-8 4-5 2-2 1 4 10
Martin 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
' Team 0 00 0-0 2-2 0 0 0
Totals 200 245421-28 1024 1. 2573
FG%: .444. FT%: .750. 3-pint FG: 4-13,308 (Royc
ki 2-6, Covington 1-2, Helms 1-2, Williams, K. 0-1,
Buddenborg 0-1, Martin 0-1). Blocks: 0 Steals: 5
(Martin 2, Covington, Helms, Buddenborg).
Turnovers: 16 (Roycki 4, Helms 4, Covington 3,
Buddenborg 3, Champagne 2). Technical Fouls:

with 5:14 remaining in the first half
and leading by 6, Michigan went on
a 16-4 run to end with a 43-25 lead.
Over that stretch six different
Wolverines scored, and Michigan
looked like it was as much better
than Oakland as it is supposed to
The Golden Grizzlies are in just
their third season as a Division I
basketball program. Their victory
last year over Michigan was the
biggest in the history of the pro-
In the second half, Oakland made
up almost all the ground lost in the
first, clawing its way back to within
two points with 8:29 left in the
"I thought we, defensively, were
outstanding in the first half," Amak-
er said. "Certainly we haven't been
able to put two halves together of
the basketball that we want to play. I
think that has to do with us under-
standing that at halftime the game
isn't over."
The second half was disastrous.
As the Wolverines attempted to
reestablish a comfortable lead, they
were plagued by turnovers, most of
them courtesy of Blanchard and
The two scorers coughed up pos-
session a combined 10 times, and
made it difficult for Michigan to
even find its scoring opportunities.
The Wolverines shot the ball just 21
times in the second half, compared
with Oakland's 33 shot attempts.
The point guard position was
shared by last year's primary starter
Avery Queen and fifth-year senior
Mike Gotfredson. But it was the
energetic senior who was super, hit-
ting the basket of the day for Michi-
With just over six minutes
remaining and the Wolverines up by
just six, Gotfredson found himself
unguarded at the 3-point line. He
hesitated, shuffled his feet, and sank
the shot (just the second field goal
of his college career.) The basket

Brigham Young title
claim is gettingold

Every year, there's some
school that's barely better
than the 11 bad teams it
plays, builds an impressive record
and then cries bloody murder when
it doesn't get the respect that a team
that beats 10 good teams gets
(Tulane circa 1998, I'm looking in
your direction.) It's almost akin to
the student who majors in Commu-
nications and then brags about his
impressive grade point average.
Saturday evening, I was watching
Brigham Young beat Utah 24-21,
and couldn't help but think this
team would be 6-5 if it played in a
good conference. Being 11-0 is
great, if you're an 11-0 team. But
it's not acceptable for a 6-5 team to
masquerade as an 11-0 team getting
no respect.
The Cougars impressive wins this
year are Saturday's three-point win

feated against one of college foot-
ball's weakest schedules, people
will overlook the schedule and see
an impressive record.
Fortunately, those Cougars didn't
have t play in the Sugar Bowl.
For this to happen once, shame on
the Cougars. Twice? It won't happen
The BCS was implemented to
check such frauds; teams can no
longer go 11-0 and claim that all
11-0 records are equal.
Brigham Young is currently
ranked 13th in the BCS, 10 of the
13 teams have one loss and two
teams have lost two games.
But from what I saw Saturday
evening, the BCS' logic hasn't been
accepted by Brigham Young fans.
What I saw Saturday evening was
absurd - tens of thousands of
Brigham Young fans painted blue

Chris Young dunks over Grizzlies forward Adrian Martin in the first half of Friday's
game. Young was strong down low, but saw little time because of foul trouble.

gave the Wolverines a nine-point
lead, and a much-needed shot in the
arm emotionally.
"I didn't know if it was going in
or not, but it went in and it felt
great," the modest Gotfredson said.
"I thought Gotfredson's three was
as big as any shot that we had all
game," Amaker said. "He stepped
up, and he's confident and he buried
it. I'll be even more pleased if we
ever get a lead like that again and
we don't need to make those big
The game began as well as it
could have. Its closing minutes were
as nerve raking and unnecessarily
dramatic as they could be. One old

problem (defensive intensity) seems
to have been successfully addressed,
while another (keeping Chris Young
and the frontline out of foul trouble)
still needs work.
But a win is a win, and Amaker
and his crew are very comfortable
taking that away from Friday night's
"They all aren't going to be this
dramatic," Amaker said. "I'm happy
for our kids because I know it was a
tough situation for them a year ago,
and I'm happy that they were able to
bounce back in the opening game at
home and to win.
"And we certainly can't take that
lightly for our ballclub."

over Utah, a four-
point win over
UNLV and a seven-
point win over
In 1984, an unde-
feated Brigham
Young got away
with this when in
the Holiday Bowl,

Rather than
Fiesta Bowl bid
should beg for the
to take them. Tha
win the Liberty
undefeated ands
championship cam

'A night to remember' for the
Wolverines, not the Grizzlies

with a kid in one

it beat a Michigan team that fin-
ished 6-6. The Cougars beat Michi-
gan 24-17, though Michigan lead
17-10 in the fourth quarter. After
the win, the Cougars were deemed
"national champions," but had there
been a tournament instead of a bowl
system, the Cougars would have lost
in the first round. If that Michigan
team went 5-4 in the Big Ten, the
Cougars would have gone 6-3, at
In 1993, West Virginia went 11-0
against a soft schedule and reached
No. 3 in the polls. The Moun-
taineers weren't invited to play in
the national title game. Instead, they
played Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
The Gators went on to take a bite
out of crime, 41-7.
Virginia Tech used this same
scheme in 1999, when it went unde-
feated and got to play Florida State
in the national-title game.
The Hokies joined the Moun-
taineers in the "Nice Try" chapter of
college football history, losing 46-
29 in a game that wasn't even that
This was the lesson the Cougars
learned in '84 - if you go unde-

begging for a arm, holding a sign
t, the Cougars begging for a spot
Fiesta Bowl not in the Fiesta Bowl.
t way they could in the other. What's
even more upset-
yuptis- ting is that these
start a national fans know the Fies-
npaign. ta Bowl is an easy
target to push
aroind. These fans undoubtedly saw
Oregon State make a bunch of
empty threats to get an at-large bid
to the BCS' worst game.
As far as receiving an illegitimate
at-large bid to a BCS game? We'll see
But to be honest, I don't even
know why the Cougars want to play
in the Fiesta Bowl. If you want to
play in the Majors, don't play in the
Mountain West conference and play
Tulane, Nevada and California in
the nonconference part of the
Rather than begging the Fiesta
Bowl to take them, the Cougars
should beg the Fiesta Bowl not to
take them. That way, they could go
to the Liberty Bowl, finish with an
undefeated record and start a
national championship campaign,
the way they did in 1984.
Playing Pac-10 champion Oregon
in the Fiesta Bowl is just going to
highlight what everyone already
knows - Brigham Young is not that
Raphael Goodstein can be reached at
raphaelg@umich. edu.

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor

Michigan....................... 43
Oakland.............. 25
At: Crisler Arena
Attendance: 11,030


- 73

Michigan center Josh Moore'-said
that the Wolverines wanted to give
Oakland its own "night to remem-
ber" after the devastating season-
opening loss the Wolverines
surrendered to the Golden Grizzlies
a year ago.
memories of that
game served as Notebook
the fundamental
reason why it prevailed this time
around. Several players emphatical-
ly stated that they were "so much
more prepared" than last year, when
they were under the guidance of
Brian Ellerbe.
"We just had a lot better game
plan," Moore said.
It's no secret that Oakland relies
heavily on its 3-point shooting, and
it was behind the arc where the
Grizzlies repeatedly dug Michigan
a hole last year from which it
couldn't get out.
Oakland sixth-year senior for-
ward Dan Champagne remembers
how surprised he was when Michi-
gan continued to leave shooting
guard Jason Rozycki open last year,
as the sharpshooter lit up the
Wolverines for 32 points.
"They just kept letting him find
his corner and never found him,"
Champagne said. "Why would they
do that?"
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
wasn't in Rochester Hills a year
ago, but made defending the 3-
point shot the "No. 1 priority."
Michigan held the Grizzlies to a
dismal 4-13 performance (Rozycki
was 2-6) from behind the arc and
44 percent from the field. Michigan
senior tri-captain Chris Young
attributed much of that to the

Wolverines' highly-concentrated
focus in practice this past week.
"I don't remember shooting the
ball too much," said a smiling
Young. "All we did was defense,
.defense and more defense."
Oakland coach Greg Kampe also
noticed an entirely different Michi-
gan team from a year ago.
"We can't simulate that type of
intensity in practice or exhibitions,"
Kampe said. "And they just came at
us hard and we weren't ready for
ONE-SHOT WONDER: Another per-
son who wasn't quite ready was
Mike Gotfredson, who waited a lit-
tle bit before draining a wide-open
3-pointer late in the second half to
halt an Oakland comeback. It was
his only attempt of the game and
the second-career field goal for the
gun-shy fifth-year senior.
But Amaker said there was "no
shot more important in the game"
as it ignited a late 9-3 run for
Michigan that helped it put the
Grizzlies away.
"He got the ball, looked down,
looked at the line, and the whole
time we were all yelling at him to
shoot," Young said. "But he stepped
up big."
CHECK THE LINE: Two staples in
last year's starting lineup, Bernard
Robinson and Avery Queen, were
not included in Friday's starting
five of Gotfredson, Gavin
Groninger, Leon Jones, Young and
LaVell Blanchard. Amaker insisted
that those "who deserve it" will
start, and neither Queen nor Robin-
son said they knew the reason they
Both entered the game five min-
utes in, but Queen played just six
minutes in the second half and was
replaced by Gotfredson down the
stretch. Meanwhile Blanchard

a I




logged 36 minutes for the Wolver-
ines on the night.
CHARITY: Michigan's two stars,
Blanchard and Robinson, led the
team in turnovers with four and six,
respectively, sparking a disappoint-
ed Amaker to state: "They are two
of our best players and have to care
for the ball better."
NOTES: The announced atten-
dance of 11,030 was more like
6,500 but the "Maize Rage" packed
the student bleachers ... Nine
Wolverines played more than 14
minutes, highlighting Amaker's fix-
ation on substitution ... Video clips
from Michigan's 1989 Final Four
victory over Illinois graced the
Crisler Arena scoreboard during
halftime and drew an ovation from
the crowd.


'D' makes difference
Amaker's newer and stronger
defense flexed its muscles in its first
game this season to avenge last
year's opening loss to Oakland. The
defense more than made up for the
lapses it showed last year under
El lerbe.
Oakland FG% Last Year: 53.1
Oakland FG% This Year: 44.4
Oakland FT% Last Year: 81.1
Oakland FT% This Year: 75.0
Oakland 3-pt. FG% Last Year: 51.7
Oakland 3-pt. FG% This Year, 44.4
Oakland 3-pt. FG Made Last Year: 15
Oakland 3-pt. FG Made This Year: 4

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