Michigan 103, Russian National 83
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan’s Fab Five looked rusty. Yet the top-rated Wolverines had more than enough to defeat a weary Russian National team in an exhibition game at The Palace on Thursday night.
With Chris Webber scoring 17 points and Jalen Rose adding 13, the sophomore-dominated Wolverines defeated the Russians 103-83 despite 23 turnovers and 24 of 40 free-throw shooting.
Each team turned the ball over 12 times in the first half. But the slower Russians, playing for the fourth consecutive night, were unable to take advantage. The Russians finished with 22 turnovers and shot just 39 percent.
With Youri Joukaneno scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first half, the Russian team twice held three-point leads early in the first half. The Russians took their last lead, 33-31, on a 3-pointer by Victor Maltzev with 4:28 left in the first half.
Then the Wolverines, sparked by the play of freshman Dugan Fife, went on a 16-0 burst and led 47-33 at halftime.
Fife’s father, Dan, captained the Michigan team in 1970-71.
Fife’s 3-pointer put Michigan ahead 39-33 with 1:24 left in the half. Nine seconds later, after a steal, Fife made an acrobatic layup for a 41-33 lead, and James Voskuil followed with another 3-pointer moments later.
Michigan opened a 69-46 lead with 13:17 remaining. But the Russians, with Igor Grachev scoring 24 of his 29 points in the second half, cut the Wolverines’ lead to 77-69 with 7:34 left to play.
Webber then scored six points in a 13-4 spurt to ice the game.
The taller Wolverines finished with a 41-29 rebounding edge.
The Russians, 1-3 on this trip, were defeated 94-70 the night before at Michigan State.
″We could have played better,″ said Denis Petenev, who scored 11 points before fouling our for the Russians. ″It wasn’t so much that we were tired. But we have trouble against the American style and rules.″
Michigan coach Steve Fisher said the Wolverines, who will play one more exhibition game before opening the season Dec. 1 at Rice, played just about the way he expected.
″We’re better than at this time last year. You always want to be better,″ said Fisher, who guided the Wolverines to the NCAA championship game, where they were defeated by Duke last season.
″We’re a good team trying to be a great team. We’ve got miles to go, but we’re going to get there.″
Still, the Wolverines flashed a little brilliance, especially with their rebounding and passing. Michigan had 25 assists, led by Webber’s six.
″It was our first game,″ Rose said. ″We’re not going to play as well now as we are in two weeks. They were a tired team, no doubt. But we were maybe too rested, too. We just needed to play.″