OeR TShigan atg
JANUARY 31, 2002
him out of
By Steve Jackson
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - The Michigan
offense needs Chris Young, and it
needs him badly. After the Spartans
stormed out with an 11-0 run early in
the first half, Michigan made a point
of getting the ball to Young, who
scored on consecutive possessions to
drain the crowd's intensity -
although only for
a moment. Then
Young was sent to BASKETBALL
the bench after Notebook
picking up his
second foul, and
everything went downhill from there.
"Without him in the game we are a
different team," Michigan point guard
Avery Queen said.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
admitted that without Young, his team
was "outmanned on the frontline."
"When Chris went out, it really
shook us," Amaker said. "That
allowed them to really lock in and use
their strength and size."
The Big Ten has always been a
rough and tough league and Michigan
needs to be ready for that night after
"I don't see them as especially
physical," said Bernard Robinson,
who was held to just four points on 2-
of-7 shooting. "I just see it as them
playing great defense and stopping
the plays that we are trying to run."
Young's inspired play and consis-
tent improvement made an impres-
sion on Michigan State's four-time
national coach of the year.
"He's done what everybody wants
to see," Michigan State coach Tom
Izzo said. "He's improved each and
GIFT WRAPPED: Last night Izzo cele-
brated his birthday in his usual fash-
ion, beating his in-state rivals from
Last year, Izzo traveled to Crisler
and the Wolverines had a present
waiting for him - an easy 91-64
This year, the 47-year-old coach
got to celebrate his special day with a
71-44 victory in front of 14,759 of
his closest friends at the Breslin Cen-
ter in East Lansing.
But Izzo's focus was far away from
cake and ice cream after the game.
"I'll probably just watch 10 hours
of Illinois tape to celebrate," Izzo
SURPRISE: Only one thing surprised
Tommy Amaker in his first game
against Michigan State. It wasn't the
crowd, it wasn't the physical nature of
the game, and it wasn't the blowout
score of 72-44.
"I just thought we would play a lit-
Michigan man Chris
Young keeps head high
Michigan center Chris Young fought was outmatched by Spartans Adam Ballinger and Aloyslus Anogonye all game long.
State wins eighth-stralght over
EAST LANSING-- Chris Young
couldn't even put into words
his feelings after yet another
loss to the Spartans last night.
"I'm breathing, that's the only good
thing that I can say right now," a
somber Young said.
He isn't joking. The loss came in
admittedly the "biggest game of his
life," and the ramifications of the lat-
est 27-point drubbing went far beyond
what any box score could indicate.
"For me personally, it was not just
another game," Young said. "This was
one of the biggest games of my life,
and I can't believe that I might gradu-
ate from the University of Michigan
without beating Michigan State."
Barring any unexpected matchup
with the Spartans in the Big Ten Tour-
nament, Young will be a member of
the only senior class in the program's
93-year history that did not beat the
Spartans at least once in their career.
To make matters worse, for most of
the first half the only thing that Young
could do was sit and watch. Two
quick fouls forced him into the
uncomfortable spectator position for
most of the first half, as the senior
helplessly yelled at his teammates -
to no avail.
"It was extremely tough,"'Young
said. "I was sitting next to Leon, and
we were going crazy because we both
had fouls and couldn't do anything
Young fought and willed Michigan
back to within five points with just
over 10 minutes to go in the first half,
but that was as close as the Wolver-
ines would get the rest of the way. The
Spartans went on a 19-6 run to end
the half - with Young on the bench
for all but 30 seconds of the run..
"Chris is the bread and butter of
our team," said junior Gavin
Groninger, who is also Young's room-
mate and one of his best friends. "And
when he's not in, we're not the same."
Young is more than the bread and
butter, he's the heart and soul of the
Michigan basketball team. He's the
glue that keeps the Wolverines togeth-
er in the tough moments, probably
because he's been through more than
anyone could ever imagine.
Steve Fisher, the coach who recruit-
ed Young, was fired before the Ply-
mouth native could ever don the
maize and blue. But Young didn't
waver. He's a Michigan man, and that
was never going to change. No one
ever questions his heart, dedication or
"I wish everyone could play with
the heart that Chris does," Groninger
said. "Then outcomes would be a lot
Young's been through three head
coaches, an Ed Martin scandal, two
losing seasons and four of the five
worst losses in the program's history.
He's sacrificed a lot for Michigan,
even up to this year. Tommy Aniaker
is trying to rebuild the program,
pleading for patience from everyone.
But that's hard for Young to give,
since he doesn't have that much time
His time has run out with Michigan
State, but even after suffering four-
straight 20-point losses to the Spar-
tans coming into this game, last night
was still the toughest for Young.
It was admittedly his best chance to
beat them - on their own floor. But it
didn't happen, despite Young's 13
points. Without him in the game, the
Michigan offense sputtered and hud-
dled around the perimeter - record-
ing a season-low 44 points.-d
In a few months, Michigan won't
have Young on the floor anymore.
He's 19 credits from graduating and
will leave with an empty feeling.
Young said he'd never return to Bres-
lin unless one of his kids plays for
That very well could happen.
Well before then, the Michigan-
Michigan State rivalry will be com-
petitive once again. The Wolverines
could even knock off the Spartans
next year in Crisler. The gap is clos-
ing - regardless of what the 27-point
But it'll be too late for Young, who
admits there's only one thing that can
complete - or save - his career.
"A national championship," said
Young. "From where I sit and where
I'm at, that's the only thing that can."
It's just too bad it won't happen for
Young - a true Michigan man.
Joe Smith can be reached at
By Steve Jackson
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - This was supposed to be the best
chance in years for the Wolverines to conquer their archri-
But this loss in East Lansing, MICHIGAN 44
just like all the others of late, was
far from close. Michigan State led MICHIGAN ST. 71
for the final 34 minutes, cruising
to a 71-44 victory.
"It didn't seem like a game that we should have won by 27
points," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "Neither team
played very well or very poorly. We just grinded it out,
scored a couple extra points, made a couple putbacks and
they just missed some shots."
The Wolverines missed plenty. Michigan shot less than 30
.percent from the field for the game.
"You can look at a lot of things in a game like this," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said. "But if you shot a percent-
age like that you're not going to beat anyone."
After scoring just 47 points against Ohio State, Amaker
called it "the worst performance of the year." But last night
he sang a different tune.
"I thought it was a competitive game," Amaker said.
"That's just my opinion but I thought the guys gave us a lot
of effort tonight."
In the first half, the Spartans nearly doubled up Michigan
after guard Marcus Taylor hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to
make the score 31-19 heading into intermission.
The East Lansing native drilled it right in the face of
Michigan's hometown boy LaVell Blanchard.
"That was a huge shot," guard Avery Queen said. "That
really gave them a lot of momentum for the rest of*the
The Wolverines started out strong, scoring the game's first
five points, but shortly thereafter their offense went into
hibernation. Shot clock violations and airballs showcased the,
team's inconsistent offensive execution.
"We weren't moving," Queen said. "Everybody was just
standing around the perimeter playing dead - everybody."
At one point Michigan had four trips down the court with-
out a shot so much as hitting the rim. The Spartans took
advantage -using an 11-0 run to put the game away early.
Adam Ballinger's 14 points led a balanced attack for
Michigan State, which had four players in double figures.
Chris Young was strong inside for the Wolverines, scoring 13
points despite getting into early foul trouble.
"We really need Chris to keep our offense going," Gavin
Groninger said. "We need to be able to get the ball inside.
Keeping him out of foul trouble is going to be a key for us all
After scoring just two points on 1-of-S shooting in the first
20 minutes, Blanchard stepped up his play in the second half
to finish with a game-high 16 points, but it was in vain.
Michigan State's early charge was just too much to handle.
"We knew that we needed to come out with a run right
away," Blanchard said. "We just never got much of a run
The rest of the Wolverines struggled too much offensively,
as only Blanchard and Young were able to post more than
five points.'Adding insult on top of insult, Michigan State
football player Aaron Alexander and crowd favorite Matt Ish-
bia scored the game's final five points.
Michigan never got closer than 14 points in the second
half, hardly closing the gap on this recently one-sided rivalry.
"You watched all those games," said a frustrated Blan-
chard. "Did you see any improvement?"
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T :R 'F PT
Robinson 31 2-7 0.1, 0-3 2 4 4
Blanchard 37 6-16 1-2 5-8 1 2 16
Young 29 4-8 5-7 1-3 1 3 13
Jones 26 1-5 2-4 4-4 3 3 4
Queen 33 0-5 0-0 1-3 0 2 0
Ingerson 13 2-8 0-0 0=0 0 0 5
Godfredson 7 0-0 (1 0-0 0 1 0
Groninger 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Bailey 13 .1-3 0-0 0.1 1 0 2
Adebiyi 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 16-54 8-14 132s 8 17 44
FG%:.269. FT%:.571. 3-pont FG: 4-21,.190 (Blan-
chard 3-6, Ingerson 1-6, Queen 0-4, Groninger 0-2,
Robinson 0-1, Jones 0-1,B alley 01). Blocks:1
(Robinson). Steals: 5 (Jones 2, Young, Blanchard,
Robinson). Turnovers: 9 (Groninger 3, Godfredson 2,
Ingerson, Young, Robinson). TechnIcal fouls: none.
Michigan State (71)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Anagonye 26 3-5 4-4 1-4 0 3 10
Ballinger 20 6-8 0-0 2-7 0 3 14
Taylor 35 4-12 0-0 1-6 5 2 10
Anderson 30 3-6 6-6 3-6 1 4 12
Torbert 24 3-7 0.1 1-3 3 2 6
Hill 25 2-5 2-2 0-1 1 3 8
Alexander 2 1-1 0-0 0-2 0 0 2
Ishbia 3 1-1 0-0 0.0 1 0 3
Bograkos 16 1-1 0-0 1-5 0 1 2
Andreas 16 11 2-2 0.1 1 1 4
Westrick 3 0.1 0-0 0.1 0 0 0
Totals 200 2548 14-1512.41 12 19 71
FG%: .521. Fr%:.933 3-point FG: 7-16,.438
(Ballinger 2-3, Hill 2-4, Taylor' 2-6, Ishbia 1-1, Tor-
bert 0-2). Blocks: 5 (Anagonye 3, Andreas 2).
Steals: 1(Anderson). Turnovers: 14 (Hill 3,
Anagonye 2, Taylor 2, ishbia 2, Anderson, Taylor).
Technical fouls: none.
Michigan ..........19 25 - 44
Michigan State .........37 34 - 71
At: Breslin Center, East Lansing
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