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November 29, 2001 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-29

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SPORTS

mciandaily.com /sports

THURSDAY
NOVEMBER 29, 2001

8A

a

Falcons deny
Amaker first
road victoryt
By Steve Jackson y
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Michigan basketball team y v
came to Bowling Green seeking its first road win under new
coach Tommy Amaker.s
But when the buzzer sounded and the orange sea of Falcon
faithful swarmed the court, it was clear that the Wolverines - <4
who entered the game as five-point
underdogs - were once again losers MICHIGAN 59
on the road, 65-59.
With 29 seconds remaining and his BOWLING GREEN 65
team up 60-58, guard Keith McLeod
iced the game with a 3-point bomb as the shot clock was run-
ning out. The ball rolled all the way around the rim before final-
ly finding its home at the bottom of the net.
"It was in, it was out," Amaker said. "I thought it was out."'
But McLeod, who also tallied a career-high nine assists, nevery
had any doubt.
"I don't shoot to hope;'McLeod said with a smile. "I shoot to-
make."
On the previous possession, Michigan called timeout and setR
up an inbounds play to tie the game.x
But the Wolverines failed to execute at the most critical of
points and sophomore forward Bernard Robinson was forced to
heave an awkward shot as the shot clock ran out.'
"There's no excuse for that," said senior tni-captain Chris d
Young. "We work on that stuff all the time in practice. We have a F
lot to work on."
Nine minutes into the game, Amaker dug into his bag of
tricks by sitting Young and throwing a small lineup at the Fal-
cons, giving Michigan the defensive spark it needed. The changevr #
resulted in a couple of steals by Robinson and freshman Chuck!5
Bailey led to easy transition buckets for the Wolverines.
Michigan held Bowling Green to just three points over a six-w
and-a-half minute span in the first half with the small lineup. RYAN LEVENTHAL/Daily
When Young returned to action at the 7:06 mark, Michigan Forward Chuck Bailey and the Wolverines struggled to find their offensive rhythm. Michigan
See FALCONS, Page 9A stumbled out of the gate in the second half, going scoreless for the first five minutes.
Leadersh absent n secon - ofloss

ARUN
GOPAL

I

6

Redskins 'recent postseason
run is destined to fall apart

This week's cover of Sports Illus-
trated features the Washington
Redskins, who have made an
impressive turnaround after an 0-5 start.
As all pro football fans know by now,
the Redskins have reeled off five con-
secutive wins to elevate themselves into
contention into the NFC (L)East.
As an ardent Redskins fan, I greeted
this news with a twinge of pride. I've
watched the 'Skins put together this
impressive winning streak and I've
thought to myself, "Wow, this team
might have a shot at the playoffs."
But, just when I start to get enthusias-
tic, my common sense nails me with a
James Butler-quality sucker punch (you
should see what this guy did to his
opponent on Friday). I suddenly realize,
"Wait, these are the Redskins. They'll
clearly find a way to mess this up."
I've been rooting for Washington
since 1987. I saw a Redskins game in
the middle of the season, was hooked
by the design on their helmets and by
the color scheme (hey, I was seven
years old at the time) and started cheer-
ing for them. I got pretty lucky that year
- Washington went on to win the
Super Bowl by blowing out Denver, 42-
10, thanks to four Doug Williams
touchdown passes.
I didn't know enough about football
to realize what a big deal the Super
Bowl was, but I thought it was pretty
neat that the Redskins won. When they
won another Super Bowl four years
later, I was convinced that Joe Gibbs
was a God and that Washington would
be an NFL power for years to come.
How silly of me. For the past JO
years, I've watched that team approach
levels of mediocrity previously reserved
for the Lions (although the Lions
appear to have gotten tired of medioc-
rity and downgraded).
When Mark Rypien held out of train-
ing camp the year after the Redskins
won the 1991 Super Bowl, I should've
known that the good times were over.
He came back a week before the season
started, played like ass, and Washington
ended up treading water around .500.
Then, Gibbs retired. For the next
half-dozen seasons, Washington had
bad coaching (Richie Petitbon, Norv
Turner) and worse drafting (Desmond
Howard, Heath Shuler, Andre Johnson,
Michael Westbrook, etc., etc.). Throw in
a pitiful defense and a bunch of below-
average stop-gap quarterbacks like Jeff

Hostetler, John Friesz and Gus Frerotte,
and you had one sorry franchise.
Oh, the Redskins tried to be good on
occasion. They signed defensive tackles
Dana Stubblefield and Dan Wilkinson a
few years back and tried to convince
fans that the horrific defense was
saved. Not exactly - the horrific
defense just got a lot more expensive.
If anything, the defense might actually
have gotten worse. Don't ask how, it
just did.
I really wanted to throw up my hands
and say, "Screw it. This team will never
figure this out." But then, seemingly out
of nowhere, the Redskins won the NFC
East in 1999. I couldn't believe it -
Washington's free-agent quarterback
Brad Johnson was playing great, draft
choice tailback Stephen Davis was hav-
ing a Pro Bowl season, and the defense
started making strides. Heck, even
Westbrook had a decent year.
Although Washington lost to Tampa
Bay in the divisional playoffs, I had
high hopes for the 2000 season. "Maybe
the Redskins are on the right track;' I
naively thought.
Once again, how foolish of me. Led
by perhaps the NFL's worst owner,
Daniel Snyder, the Redskins went out
and signed the finest the 1993 Pro Bowl
team had to offer - guys like Bruce
Smith, Mark Carrier and Irving Fryar.
Turner - as usual - appeared to have
no clue what was going on, and Brad
Johnson decided to do his best Heath
Shuler impersonation. A team many
picked for the Super Bowl ended up 8-8
and out of the playoffs.
So, that brings us to the present. I
checked out Washington's next few
games, and they appear to be pretty
winnable: Home games against Dallas
and Philadelphia sandwiched around a
trip to Arizona.
Once I saw that slate, I started to
become optimistic. Maybe Marty
Schottenheimer isn't nearly as washed-
up as I thought he was. Maybe Ki-Jana
Carter will continue showing flashes of
the talent he had at Penn State. Maybe
LaVar Arrington will emerge as one of
the best defenders in the NFL.
But, here comes my common sense
again. These are, after all, the Redskins.
Arun Gopal is hoping the Redskins win
another Super Bowl before he turns 50.
He can be reached at agopal@umich.edu.

I

By David Horn
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - After a less than
glorious performance by the Wolverines' leader-
ship in last Friday's loss to Western Michigan,
sophomore Bernard Robinson and junior LaVell
Blanchard needed an immediate opportunity to
prove their worth as on-court leaders. The opportu-
nity came last night in Bowling Green.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the guys who
were expected to step up failed to do so adequate-
ly.
In the first half, Robinson led Michigan with
four rebounds, two assists and two steals, and
complemented Blanchard's nine points with six of
his own. But as the production of the Wolverines'
dynamic duo trailed off in the second half, so too
did Michigan's.
Blanchard had 17 points and five rebounds in
the game, but had a game-high six turnovers.
Robinson turned the ball over four times himself,

and scored just three points in the second half.
"There's no question that our key guys have to
take care of the basketball," Michigan head coach
Tommy Amaker said.
What was perhaps most discouraging was that
both Blanchard and Robinson were in positions
last night tomake important shots. The highlight
for Blanchard was a bank off the glass with less
than six minutes remaining that retook the lead for
Michigan - a lead it had relinquished just three
minutes into the second half after going into the
break ahead by four.
With the Falcons leading by two with 1:19 to
play, Michigan took a 30-second timeout. Coming
out of the huddle, Robinson missed a mid-range
jumper that was destined to find the bottom of the
net, but ultimately did not. It was followed imme-
diately by a Keith McLeod basket for Bowling
Green that teased as if it wanted to rim out, but fell
and gave the Falcons a five-point lead with less
than 30 seconds left.
It was not missed shots, but the number of

turnovers that plagued the Michigan offense.
"They played great defense," Blanchard said.
"I'm working hard to get in this offense. I had six
turnovers? That's bad. I need to improve on that."
ORANGE CRUSH: Bowling Green's Anderson
Arena must have seemed like a strange land to the
Wolverines. A capacity crowd of just under 5,000
- donned overwhelmingly in Falcon orange -
roared early and often during last night's game to
create an intense and intimate atmosphere that
made Crisler Arena look like the UGLi on a Friday
night.
"It certainly was a very difficult place for us to
play," Amaker said. "It's my first time here and I
hope I don't have to return. It's an outstanding
environment for college basketball."
No Big Ten team has won in the building in 31
years, since Iowa knocked off the Falcons, 89-78,
in December of 1970. Two Big Ten teams visited
Bowling Green in the 1990s. But neither Michigan
State in 1990 nor Penn State in 1993 could over-
See LEADERSHIP, Page 9A

4
a
S

I

Michigan in the zone for home opener tonight

By Jim Weber
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan head coach Sue Guevara
looks for improvement out of her
players and asks nothing less of her-
self.
Guevara worked on the team's
zone defense this week during prac-
tice because this defensive scheme
has been used more this season than
at any other point in her six-year
tenure.
"If we are not one-on-one the best
defensive players, then we have to go
to the zone," Guevara said. "So it has
been a change for me personally, my
philosophy, that I don't want to get

CRISLER ARENA
Who: No. 16 Michigan (31) vs. Marquette (2-2)
When: 7 p.m.
Latest: Michigan will be using and facing a lot
of zone defense tonight. The team will need
guard Alayne Ingram to hit open shots. One
Ingram 3-pointer will also tie a Michigan record.
stubborn and stay with something if
it's not working."
Michigan's current players are
more effective in the zone than the
more difficult man-to-man defense
and Guevara learned this the hard
way.
"There were games last year that
we lost that I could kick myself
because I was stubborn, and I can't
do that," the coach said. "I have to
grow, too. I make mistakes and it is
like, 'Listen fat head, you have to
wake up and make this change.'"
Guevara was impressed by the
team's defensive intensity after a

practice session on Tuesday and she
will need the same defensive effort
in tonight's home opener against
Marquette.
Michigan has also faced a lot of
zone defense this season because of
its dangerous post players. Centers
LeeAnn Bies and Jennifer Smith are
the first and fourth leading scorers
on the team, respectively. Senior
Raina Goodlow, the team's third
most prolific scorer last season,
started the season slowly but broke
out with 15 points against New
Hampshire last Friday.
"People are so concerned with our
inside game, and why wouldn't you
be?" Guevara said.
According to Guevara, Michigan
faced a lot of zone defense last
weekend because Bies scored 23 and
25 points in her first two games
against man-to-man defense. With
the zone, opponents challenge
Michigan's perimeter players to hit

LESLIE WARD/Daily
Sue Guevara made the decision to play more zone defense with this year's team.

UU

outside shots.
Guevara called Michigan's 3-point
shooting last season its "Achilles'
heel," but you wouldn't know that
after last weekend's games. The
Wolverines were 12-of-21 from
behind the arc, including five triples
by Alayne Ingram. She is only one 3-
pointer shy of the Michigan career
record and the team is counting on
her to beat the zone defense.
"I think everyone and their mother
knows that when we need a 3-point
shot, Alayne Ingram is going to be
the one we go to," Guevara said.
Guevara does not know how much
zone they will see tonight because
Marquette plays both zone and man-
to-man. Either way, the Wolverines
will have to shoot better than 37-per-
cent from the field, the number they
put up last season in a 67-58 loss.
"When we played Marquette last
year, they were on a four game los-
ing streak," Guevara said. "We went
there, and we got drilled. We got out-
hustled, we got out-rebounded, and
they did a very, very nice job of
defending our penetration.
"They get after it. This is our
home opener. We will not be out-
hustled, we will not be out-worked.
They are averaging 17 offensive
rebounds a game.I will break some-
thing if they get 17 offensive
rebounds."
DAILY SPORTS.

0
4

This Weekend in
Michigan Athletics

Presented by:

age.
Ameritech

I

Men's Basketball
Sat., December 1
Michigan vs.
#15 Boston College
2:30 p.m.
Crisler Arena

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#19 Mtog":.:}
....... y; t .. e:
7p~mu

Hockey
Sat., December 1
Michigan vs.
Ferris State
7:35 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena

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