Wolverines Feed Off Energy From Maize Rage Student Section - Dec 12, 2012
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With the University of Michigan men's basketball team's 67-39 home victory over the Binghamton Bearcats on Tuesday night (Dec. 11), the Wolverines are now 22-1 over the past two seasons while playing at Crisler. In addition to having a talented and deep roster, Michigan can attribute a lot of this success at Crisler Center to the loudly energetic Maize Rage, the U-M student section present at every home game.
Founded in the mid-1990s, the Maize Rage is a student-run organization on campus that is open to all students who have purchased season tickets. Since its humble beginnings more than a decade ago, the Maize Rage has continued to grow in both number and spirit.
"We started with about five students total," Maize Rage vice president Sasha Shaffer reflected. "We are now up to over 2,500 students. We create a loud atmosphere, and for a lot of visiting teams, they don't experience that much noise anywhere but here, so it makes it harder for them to play."
Colin Fitzner, a mechanical engineering graduate student, has similar memories of the Maize Rage's earlier years. "My freshman year, in order to get more people to come they gave the students free pizza," Fitzner laughed. "There weren't enough students there to eat all of the pizza, so everyone got their own box. Now, for big games we get here two hours early; we make our plans around basketball games. It's a lot more fun now."
What stood out most about Fitzner, however, was the unusual outfit he was proudly showing off in the front row of the student section. Dressed head-to-toe in maize and blue, a grey mask on his face and long claws on his hands, Fitzner sported a costume that was the perfect Michigan choice. "I am the comic book character Wolverine!" Fitzner remarked. "My mom actually bought this costume for me. I told her I wanted a costume that was a little funny, goofy and yellow. This was the perfect choice."
In addition to Fitzner's Wolverine costume, other characters such as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch could be found in the Maize Rage Tuesday night, along with Santa hats and maize and blue overalls.
"The Maize Rage has been great," senior guard Matt Vogrich commented. "We won all but one game at home last year, and so far this year we are undefeated as well. We're just trying to protect Crisler, and we really appreciate how loud and supportive they have been."
The one loss that came for the Wolverines last season was against Purdue on Feb. 25. "As you can see, that loss to Purdue last year was over break when the Maize Rage was not here," senior 'super fan' Jarrett McFeters pointed out. "That shows how effective we are. Every game this year, everyone is going to be here."
With the fall semester winding down, the Michigan students are beginning exams this week but not letting that keep them from cheering on their beloved Wolverines. One student in the middle of the sea of maize held up a sign that read, "Basketball over studying!"
"That really says it all," Shaffer commented. "We would all rather be here than studying."
"It helps that we have a really good team this year," McFeters added. "These guys have been phenomenal this year. We want to bring the energy every night and get this place rocking."
Senior/junior Jordan Morgan also spoke about the homecourt advantage that the Maize Rage creates at Crisler Center. "It's like having a sixth man on the court," Morgan remarked. "It's great having so much support, especially in the big games. Being loud and intimidating, it's a huge advantage for us. When we have everyone in the arena standing up and yelling, it makes a big difference."
With meetings every week, in addition to attending all of the home games and a few of the away games, the Maize Rage also participates in social gatherings together.
"Honestly, it has brought us all together and made us friends," remarked Shaffer on what the Maize Rage means to her. "There is no one else on campus that I am closer to than the people sitting around me right now."
"We are more like a group of friends that likes to go to sporting events, rather than a sports group that are friends," McFeters added.
As Vogrich mentioned, an important team goal for the Wolverines is to "protect Crisler" by staying undefeated at home. Michigan is off to a good start, beginning the 2012-13 season with a perfect 7-0 home record.
The Wolverines and the Maize Rage will next return to Crisler on Dec. 20 against Eastern Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations Courtesy of: http://www.mgoblue.com
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road. Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. [read more]
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road.
Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. The Zags came out even more focused in the second half and shot an astounding 74 percent from the field including 8-of-11 from 3-point range. Gonzaga hit 13 3's on the night while USD managed just 14 made buckets, a recipe for disaster. The Zags imposed their will defensively challenging every shot and staying solid. Combine that effort with smart play and you get that type of performance as they only committed 12 fouls in the game.
Every night it can be one of several players leading the way for the Zags and on this night the first standout was Johnathan Williams III (6'9''-F-95). The 6-9 junior transfer from Missouri made his presence known early on both ends of the floor. USD was determined to quickly double Przemek Karnowski on every touch and he was more than willing to pass out of the traps. Williams found himself on the receiving end of passes out of the rotations resulting in 10 first half points despite missing 4-of-6 free throws. He was more dominant on the defensive end grabbing 13 first half rebounds while USD only grabbed eight as a team. Williams was aggressive and used his size and athleticism to attack everything coming off the rim. His performance allowed the guards to leak out in transition and push the pace offensively leading to several of those open 3-point looks. Williams finished the night with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 19 rebounds. He is now shooting 61 percent from the floor on the year.
The Tritons came out determined not to let the 7-1 Karnowski beat them and he was held to just three field goal attempts notching just five points and three rebounds. But he became a facilitator in successfully passing out of the post and initiating the offensive attack. It has been the calling card all year long of the unselfish Bulldogs who made it look easy all night long in shooting 66 percent for the game.
Leading scorer 6-5 junior Nigel Williams-Goss had a typical game for him with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. The player of the year candidate is averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He is always in control, is a vocal leader on the floor and plays extremely hard on the defensive end. He had the ability to get to the rim whenever he wanted yet he displayed patience by working the offense and finding even easier shots for his teammates. Many of those open looks went to Josh Perkins and Zach Collins. Perkins (6-3 soph.) knocked down 5-of-8 from 3-point range and seemed to be unguarded all night long. He also chipped in five rebounds and led the team with six assists, which shows he was not forcing shots up.
The Bulldogs also have the luxury of bringing a 7-foot McDonald's All-American off the bench in freshman Collins. Collins is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game despite only playing 17 minutes per game. He has the look of a future lottery pick written all over him. He has a great combination of size and athleticism to go along with polished post moves and a soft touch. He can score on either block with either hand. He made one play where he caught the ball at the high post in a high-low set, saw the pass was not there then took one hard dribble to his left and finished it left handed like a guard. He is also a good defender and has 3-point range (43.8%).
There were not many bright spots for USD on a night where they shot just 24 percent, which was not their worst performance of the year on their home court (19 percent vs. St. Mary's). Sophomore 6-2 guard Olin Carter was the only player in double figures for the Tritons finishing with 15 on 6-of-16 shooting. He worked hard offensively trying to find cracks in the Bulldog defense but mostly had to settle for contested jump shots. When given good looks he can knock down shots consistently, but those opportunities were rare on this night. Brett Bailey leads the team averaging 15.6 points but he was held in check tonight. The 6-6 forward out of Spokane could not find his stroke going just 3-of-11 for seven points. He created a few scoring opportunities using his ability to put the ball on the floor against the bigger defenders but was unable to finish around the rim.
The Bulldogs proved once again that they are in the national title hunt with this dominating performance. According to Synergy Stats they are No. 2 in offensive points per possession and No. 1 in defensive points per possession. They are big, athletic, deep, unselfish and play with poise and purpose on both ends of the floor. They are going to be a tough out in March. Gonzaga will host BYU on Saturday and try and finish the regular season undefeated. San Diego will host Portland, also on Saturday.
Tempe, AZ - The fifth- ranked UCLA Bruins came into Tempe and pounded the Arizona State Sun Devils 87-65. UCLA's size was just too much for ASU. TJ Leaf(6'10''-F-97) led the way for the Bruins scoring 25 points and hauling down nine rebounds. In the first half both teams started off slow, but traded baskets early on. Leaf led the way early for UCLA with his presence in the post. Leaf (16.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) had 16 points in the half. Torian Graham of the Sun Devils came into this game as the... [read more]
Tempe, AZ - The fifth- ranked UCLA Bruins came into Tempe and pounded the Arizona State Sun Devils 87-65. UCLA's size was just too much for ASU. TJ Leaf (6'10''-F-97) led the way for the Bruins scoring 25 points and hauling down nine rebounds.
In the first half both teams started off slow, but traded baskets early on. Leaf led the way early for UCLA with his presence in the post. Leaf (16.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) had 16 points in the half. Torian Graham of the Sun Devils came into this game as the second leading scorer in the Pac-12 Conference at 18.5 ppg. He had great first half with 17 points. UCLA shot 51.4 percent from the field, getting contributions off the bench from Aaron Holiday (7 points) and Ike Anigbogu (8 points). UCLA was able to take advantage of the smaller Sun Devils, outrebounding them 25 to 13 in the half with ten offensive rebounds giving them second chance opportunities. Three of the top four leading scorers for the Bruins, Lonzo Ball (15.4 ppg), Bryce Alford (16.2 ppg) and Isaac Hamilton (14.3 ppg) all had quiet half. Ball had two points, Alford had six points and Hamilton was held scoreless. For ASU, Obinna Oleka (12 ppg, 10 rpg) had eight points and seven rebounds at the half. ASU's Tra Holder and Shannon Evans struggled shooting from the field, Holder 0-of-5 and Evans 1-of-5 with just three points. The Sun Devils shot 37.5 percent from the field. At halftime the Bruins led 45-36.
The Sun Devils came out with some fire going on a 7-0 run to start the second half. ASU's Kodi Justice started finding his stroke from behind the arc, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the half. However. that run ASU was trying to build on would soon come to an end. UCLA's Aaron Holiday started to heat up from behind the arc, finishing the game with 17 points. Ike Anigbogu impacted this game with his ability to run the floor, block and contest shots at the rim, he finished with 12 points. UCLA shot 45.2 percent from the field in the second half. Graham put on a show tonight trying to keep the Sun Devils in the game, but it wasn't enough. He finished with 28 points. ASU shot 40 percent from the field in the second half. Whenever ASU tried to make a run, UCLA would go back to Leaf. Leaf had it all together tonight, showing off his post moves, taking advantage of smaller defenders and in his soft touch on his shot in the pick and pop game.
The UCLA Bruins improved to 25-3 on the season and 12-3 in conference play. The Bruins next game is against the fourth-ranked Arizona Wildcats Saturday in Tucson. As for the Sun Devils, they fall to 13-16 on the season and 6-10 in conference play. They play next against USC at home on Sunday.
No. 15 Cincinnati extends home streak, beats Memphis 87-74 - 1 day ago
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After a dominant first half, No. 15 Cincinnati relaxed and wound up sweating one out. Jacob Evans III (6'6''-G-97) III scored 12 of his 15 points during the Bearcats' lopsided first half on Thursday night, and they let most of a big lead slip away before holding on for their 25th straight home victory, 87-74 over Memphis. Cincinnati (25-3, 14-1 American Athletic) led by as many as 24 points during its highest-scoring opening half in conference play this season, pulling ahead 51-32 at the... [read more]
After a dominant first half, No. 15 Cincinnati relaxed and wound up sweating one out. Jacob Evans III (6'6''-G-97) III scored 12 of his 15 points during the Bearcats' lopsided first half on Thursday night, and they let most of a big lead slip away before holding on for their 25th straight home victory, 87-74 over Memphis. Cincinnati (25-3, 14-1 American Athletic) led by as many as 24 points during its highest-scoring opening half in conference play this season, pulling ahead 51-32 at the break. The Tigers cut the lead to six points before fading. "We got off to a big lead, and in the second half I feel we started to coast a little bit," Evans said. "We can't do that. If we want to make a deep run in March, we can't take a half off against any team. Our energy on defence went down." The Bearcats' front line dominated on offence. Gary Clark (6'7''-F-94) had 13 points and nine rebounds while Kyle Washington (6'9''-F-93) had 16 points and six rebounds. The problem was the sluggish defence in the second half, which left shooters open. "For about 30 minutes, I thought we played about as well as we can play," coach Mick Cronin said. "My halftime speech gets an F. I talked to our guys about defence. Our defence was nonexistent for most of the second half. We learned our lessons." Memphis (18-10, 8-7 ) has dropped a season-high three straight. Jeremiah Martin (6'3''-G) led the Tigers with 23 points and 11 assists. Dedric Lawson (6'9''-G-97) had 21 points with 10 rebounds. "They were a little bit intimidated to start the first half because (Cincinnati) was making shots," Memphis coach Tubby Smith said. "And when you get in a hole like that, it's tough." The Tigers cut the lead to 75-69 on Martin's three-point play with 5:18 left. Evans' 3-pointer - his only basket of the second half - ended the comeback. It was his only 3-pointer of the game. Courtesy of: insidetoronto.com
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