Michigan 80, Indiana 75
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan badly needed some heart. The Wolverines got that and more from Albert White and Maceo Baston.
Michigan shook off the effects of a potential tragic auto accident as White and Baston, two players who weren’t involved, combined for 39 points and led the Wolverines to an 80-75 victory over Indiana on Sunday.
White scored 21 points while Baston had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the struggling Wolverines (16-9, 6-6 Big Ten).
``We came out with more enthusiasm,″ White said. ``We came out great as a team.″
Five Michigan players, plus a highly touted recruit, escaped serious injury early Saturday during a rollover accident as they returned from a party in Detroit.
The 1996 Ford Explorer, driven by Maurice Taylor, flipped after Taylor apparently fell asleep. Police said alcohol was not a factor. Also in the vehicle were Willie Mitchell, Robert Traylor, Louis Bullock, all starters, and Ron Oliver.
The most serious injury was Traylor’s broken arm, which ended the 320-pound freshman’s season. Traylor, still recovering from surgery at University of Michigan Hospital, was unable to attend the Indiana game.
But he was remembered. All the Wolverines printed Traylor’s No. 54 on their shoes.
``Robert sent us a message to play hard and not let up,″ said Bullock, who had 11 points and three assists. ``It was a way for us to have him out there with us.″
The recruit, Mateen Cleaves, a 6-foot-2 guard who led Flint Northern to the Class A state championship last season, sat with his mother behind the Michigan bench.
Taylor scored 13 points before fouling out with 6:53 left. Mitchell scored four, while Oliver, a walk-on reserve, played briefly without scoring.
``We probably played with a little more emotion,″ Taylor said. ``Everybody thought we had every reason to lose, and none to win. We probably can’t win the Big Ten, but we have a little to say about who does win it. This probably knocks Indiana out.
``And it makes our chances of getting an (NCAA) tournament bid a little better.″
Brian Evans had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana (15-10, 8-5). Charlie Miller added 15 while Haris Mujezinovic and Robbie Eggers each scored 12 for the Hoosiers who committed 15 turnovers.
Indiana coach Bob Knight failed to show at a postgame news conference. Indiana’s players dressed quickly and left Crisler Arena without speaking to reporters.
The Hoosiers, who trailed 37-29 at halftime, got seven points from Evans as they opened the second half with a 17-8 burst. A basket by Richard Mandeville gave Indiana a 46-45 lead with 14:06 remaining.
But the Wolverines regained the lead on two free throws by Bullock with 13:28 left, and Michigan led the rest of the way. The Wolverines led 75-65 with 53 seconds remaining.
``It shows we have a lot of toughness,″ Bullock said. ``We didn’t come out and make any excuses.″
With Taylor and White each scoring seven points, the Wolverines stormed to a 29-10 lead with 7:34 left in the first half. But the Hoosiers outscored Michigan 19-8 the rest of the way, cutting the lead to 37-29 at halftime.
The Indiana rally was triggered by a technical against Michigan coach Steve Fisher, who protested a call that gave Taylor his second foul. Taylor scored 13 points before fouling out with 6:53 left in the game.
Evans turned Fisher’s tirade into a four-point play, hitting two free throws from the technical and two for Taylor’s foul. Miller, Reed and Eggers all hit 3-pointers during the burst.
``The technical I got hurt us a ton,″ Fisher said. ``We’re 19 points up and I get a technical. It was awful on my part.″
Knight received a technical earlier in the first half.
The Wolverines, who have earned an NCAA berth each season since 1991, had lost five of their previous six. The win also averted Michigan’s first three-game home losing streak since 1983.
The Hoosiers defeated Michigan 99-83 on Jan. 23 in Bloomington.