The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 20, 2006 - 5B
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
NO. 16 MICHIGAN STATE 90 - MICHIGAN 71
Pre-game scuffle results
in ongoing investigation
The senior forward helped fill the
scoring void created when Chris
Hunter went down. Brown scored 15
points and grabbed six rebounds for
The junior guard took the Spartans
on his back with his high-flying
dunks and accurate outside
shooting. Brown finished with a
game-high 26 points, hitting 11-of-
16 from the field.
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Editor
EAST LANSING - An investigation is underway fol-
lowing an altercation between a Michigan State fan and
Michigan center Amadou Ba that occurred prior to Satur-
Terry Denbow, vice president of university relations
for Michigan State, said investigations were still being
conducted as of yesterday. Witnesses from both the
Izzone student section and the Michigan men's basket-
ball team had been interviewed.
Denbow did not comment on whether or not charges
would be filed.
As Michigan players were warming up, a student
approached Ba, who was seated on the bench. Following
contact between the fan and Ba's leg, the student turned
and grabbed Ba's knee. After the two exchanged words, Ba
stood up and shoved the student to the floor.
Officials took the student to a nearby hospital.
According to multiple student reports, the student in
question was Bobby Brock, a Michigan State sophomore.
Students referred to him as a leader of the Izzone.
Brock did not reply to interview requests from The
"I don't exactly remember what happened," said Ba, who
remained in uniform for the duration of the game. "Every
time you play in a rivalry game like this, there are going to
be some students that try to do something."
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker was not on the court
when the incident occurred. During his post-game press
conference, he remained tight-lipped.
"We'll review the situation when we get the opportunity
to do so," Amaker said.
But the fuzzy memory shared by Amaker and Ba didn't
extend to some of Ba's teammates. Senior Daniel Horton
and junior Brent Petway both witnessed the incident.
"The fan came to the court and said something and put
Continued from page 1B
The swagger that started to pop up following its 72-
67 victory was there again on Saturday. The Wolverin
looked hungry early on. They, too, were ready to fight
and make a legitimate case for Ann Arbor as the bas-
ketball capital of Michigan.
But maybe they were a little too eager to match thei
counterpart's intensity. A little too eager to topple the:
rivals. A little too eager to fight.
That eagerness became apparent even before the gar
started. Amadou Ba showed his willingness to fight
during warm-ups. Although it probably wasn't the way
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker would've wanted his
players to fight, it showed they weren't going to back
down. The only backing down that happened came fro:
Izzone student section leader Bobby Brock - right ono
the hardwood floor.
A likely drunk Michigan State student got in an alter
cation with the senior, who abruptly ended the confron
tation by shoving him to the floor.
If this rivalry needed anything else to stir the pot, it
safe to say that Ba's shove did the trick.
Early on, Michigan's pre-game fire translated to the
It jumped out to an early eight-point lead just five
minutes into the game. Horton looked calm, the defen
sive pressure was there and Brent Petway was making
big plays in relief of an injured Chris Hunter.
But Michigan wasn't playing Minnesota, who laid
down and accepted defeat after falling behind early or
The Wolverines were up against Michigan State, a tea:,
with a winning pedigree.
After weathering the early Michigan storm, it starte
to become evident that the Spartans weren't willing to
relinquish their title as state champions just yet.
It also became painfully obvious that Michigan didi
have the ability to maintain its early intensity.
Following a Shannon Brown reverse alley-oop that
ignited the Izzone and gave Michigan State a four-poi
lead midway through the half, Petway tried to answer
with an emphatic dunk of his own. Instead of taking t
sure points, he tried one-upping Brown.
His dunk attempt clanked off of the back rim and
turned into an easy lay-in for Michigan State.
Sometimes, swagger should be trumped by commor
Instead, Michigan's swagger and momentum com-
pletely shifted to the Spartans - along with the lead.
And the Spartans never relinquished it.
Michigan State kept pulling away and pulling away.
Michigan's early intensity on defense was gone. The
tight man-defense turned into a soft zone, and the
opportunistic Spartans were chomping at the bit to tal
The defense that looked to finally get it all together
against Minnesota reverted back to its old ways. Ba
had shown the most fight out of anyone wearing Maize
and Blue on the night, and it happened an hour before
Don't get me wrong, it's hard to beat a team like
Michigan State, especially when you're dealing with
injuries. It's even harder when it's at the Breslin Centel
(Michigan State remains undefeated at home). And it's
near impossible when Michigan State's three-headed
monster is running on all cylinders (Brown, Ager and
Davis combined for 63 points).
Continued from page 1B
Throughout the night, the Wolverines (7-6 Big Ten, 17-7 ov
his hand on Amadou, and (Amadou) reacted," Horton said.
"I think Amadou should have handled it a little better, but
at the same time, I've never seen that before.... It was just
a weird situation. I've never seen a fan come on the court
Petway thought the fan was originally coming after him.
"I think (the fan) was coming to jaw with me because
he was walking down looking right at me," Petway said. "I
just tried looking away because I didn't want it to go out of
hand like that.
"Amadou said he was jawing before that. Then I came
out, and I guess he wanted to come out on the court and get
a closer look at me."
Horton was also a target of the fan.
"The guy came up to me and said something to me, and
I could smell alcohol on his breath," Horton said.
Denbow would not confirm whether alcohol was a factor,
but he did say it looked like it was involved. He said medical
personnel reported that it appeared the student in question
had consumed alcohol.
ESPN had video of the incident and reported the fan
tested positive for alcohol following a Breathalyzer test.
Security was not present during the incident.
Numerous players in the Michigan locker room were
surprised a fan could just come right up to the bench
prior to the game.
"You just can't let fans get on the court like that," Petway
Despite the ugly incident, Michigan State coach Tom
Izzo hoped the episode wouldn't diminish the teams' rival-
ry or take away from the game.
"To me he's one of the nicest kids they've got," Izzo said
of Ba. "I don't know exactly what happened so I'd be wrong
to comment on it except that I hope bygones be bygones
and that it doesn't get looked at by either side in any way,
shape or form to taint anything.
"I think our students for the most part have been pretty
good and I think he's a real good kid."
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
"I don't exactly remember what
- Michigan reserve center Amadou Ba responding
to questions about his pre-game confrontation with a
Michigan State student.
The number of points scored by Michigan
State's "Big Three": Maurice Ager,
Shannon Brown and Paul Davis.
Amadou Ba shoved a Michigan State fan to the floor prior to Saturday's game.
I'right sweeps as other teams
hampered by ilichigan injuries
(Last game's points, overall points, single-game wins)
Coleman 37 3-7 0-0 2-4 3 1 6
Brown 36 7-7 1-3 1-6 1 4 15
Sims 14 5-6 5-5 0-1 0 5 15
Horton 35 6-17 4-4 2-5 7 3 19
Petway 29 5-10 0-1 1-5 1 3 10
Grooms 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Shepherd 17 1-2 1-1 1-2 1 1 3
Harris 18 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 2 2
Hunter 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Smith 9 0-1 1-2 0-1 2 0 1
TEAM TOTALS 200 28-54 12-16
(D. Horton, J. Shepherd,
B. Petway, T. Sanchez,
(32, 509, 11)
(L. Abram, R. Coleman,
J. Smith, K. Price)
(7 359, 4)
Finally, Brent Petway broke into
the double digits in points. Even
though he missed several dunk
opportunities, he flashed his shoot-
ing touch from the outside.
At the start of the game, Daniel
Horton did what the Wolverines
needed. He scored the first six points
on two 3-pointers.
Unfortunately, he couldn't carry
enough of Michigan's scoring to
keep the Wolverines in the game.
Jevohn Shepherd continues to
improve as he aggressively drove to
the basket twice on Saturday.
Finally, I have half a team
back. Jerret Smith returned on
Saturday, and although the results
weren't the best, it's good to know
that I have the bodies.
But I must give credit to Ron
Coleman, who has been filling
the gap for both my fantasy team
and the Wolverines. Although he
scored just six points against the
Spartans, he played all but three
minutes. On Wednesday, he net-
ted 13, logging a game-high 38
The frontcourt came to play
against Michigan State - especially
in the second half. Graham Brown
and Courtney Sims combined for 21
second-half points and 30 points for
the game. Thirty-two of the team's
43 points in the game's second stanza
came from inside the paint.
If inconsistency and injuries con-
tinue to plague the backcourt, more
performances like Saturday's will
be needed from Brown and Sims.
Also, Alex Brzozowicz was
definitely fouled when he went for
the shot late against Minnesota.
Now, I can understand how Tommy
Amaker feels. I was excited for Dion
Harris's return, only to see Chris
Hunter go down two minutes into
Harrislooked very rustyinhisreturn
to action. Although his ankle didn't look
like it was bothering him too much,
Harris never really got into rhythm.
With three regular-season games left,
only a miracle can save my team. That's
why I suggest adding Spartan-fan ass
kickings to the scoring system. Amadou
would help me win that category.
Ager 33 7-15 1-2 1-2 1 2 19
Trannon 22 3-5 2-2 4-7 2 4 8
Davis 31 6-12 6-6 2-12 3 5 18
Brown 34 11-16 1-2 1-3 5 1 26
Neitzel 38 5-11 0-0 0-3 12 2 13
Ibok 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
walton 12 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 0
Aerts 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2
Ducre 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
Hamo 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Joseph 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0
Gray 11 1-1 0-0 1-2 0 2 2
Rowley 14 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 2 2
Suton 0+ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
TEAM 200 3-4 1 90
TEAM TOTALS 200 35-64 10-12 13-35 25 22 90
FG%: 54.7 FT%: 83.3 3-point FG: 10-17, .588 (Ager 4-8,
Brown 3-4, Neitzel 3-5) Blocks: 4 (Ager, Brown, Joseph,
Trannon). Steals: 7 (Ager 2, Brown 2, Davis, Rowley,
Trannon). Turnovers: 11 (Davis 3, Ager 2, Brown, Gray,
Neitzel, Rowley, Trannon, Walton). Technical fouls: Gray.
Michigan........ 28 43 - 71 At: Breslin Center
Michigan State 39 51 - 90 Attendance: 14,759
FG%: 51.9 FT%: 75.0 3-point FG: 3-13, .231 (Horton 3-7, Cole-
man 0-3, Harris 0-2, Smith 0-1). Blocks: 6 (Petway 4, Horton
2). Steals: 3 (Brown, Coleman, Petway). Turnovers: 14 (Brown
6, Horton 3, Coleman, Harris, Petway, Sims, Smith). Technical
Michigan State 90
Junior Shannon Brown dunks as members of the Michigan men's
basketball team looks on. Brown scored a game-high 26 points.
But if you can't stand toe-to-toe with your rival and
be willing to fight back for 40 minutes, none of the
aforementioned factors matter.
Michigan had the size advantage, but managed to get
killed on the boards.
It supposedly had its kinks worked out with its
perimeter defense, but allowed Michigan State to shoot
13-of-20 from downtown.
And it had the chance to sweep Michigan State for
the first time in a decade, but 40 minutes and a 19-point
loss later, all the Wolverines proved was they're not in
the same league yet.
Michigan made a statement in January by beating its
rivals. But the Wolverines failed miserably in validating
that statement on Saturday.
So, at least until next season, Michigan will be stuck
looking up at Michigan State, who will remain atop the
pedestal - as state champs.
- Scott Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
front of a driving Ager to draw the charge. As he fell back, he hit
Hunter in the left knee.
"I wanted to be out there helping us do whatever to win'" Hunter
said. "It's tough to be on that sideline and not be able to do so"
(C. Sims, G. Brown,
S. Harrell, A. Brzozowicz)
(30, 440, 3)
Horton 24 33.6 16.3 2.6 5.7
Sims 24 23.5 12.4 6.3 0.7
Harris 22 30.9 11.7 3.1 2.7
Abram 15 27.5 11.5 2.9 1.3
Hunter 24 17.1 7.0 3.3 0.4
Coleman 24 20.3 6.0 2.9 0.8
Brown 24 24.6 5.5 7.4 1.4
Petway 13 15.5 5.3 3.0 0.4
Smith 18 15.4 2.4 1.2 2.3
Shepherd 22 9.9 2.2 1.3 0.6
Grooms 14 7.4 0.9 0.2 1.0
Harrell 11 3.0 1.0 0.6 0.1
Ba 9 1.8 0.3 0.2 0
Brzozowicz 1 1.0 - 0 0 0
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Big Ten Overall
(D. Harris, C. Hunter,
A. Ba, H. Grooms)
(2, 441, 6)
Iowa 9-4 20-7
Ohio State 8-4 19-4
Wisconsin 8-4 18-7
Illinois 8-4 22-4
Mich. State 7-5 19-7
Michigan 7-6 17-7
Indiana 5-7 13-9
Penn State 5-8 13-11
Minnesota 4-8 13-10
Northwestern 4-8 12-12
Purdue 3-10 9-15
OHIO STATE 61,
MICHIGAN STATE 90,
Penn State 69, PURDUE 61
MINNESOTA 74, Iowa 61;
ILLINOIS 70, Indiana 58;
Michigan's hot start. Behind two Horton 3-pointers, the Wolver-
ines jumped out to a 6-2 lead two minutes into the contest. They
held the lead until Davis hit two free throws to give Michigan State
a 16-15 advantage with 10:40 left in the first half.