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
UCLA Outlasts Brisbane Bullets in Australia, 94-91 - 8 hours ago
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Aaron Holiday (6'1''-G-96) totaled a team-high 17 points to help the UCLA men's basketball team earn a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets before a capacity crowd at the Logan Metro Indoor Sports Centre on Monday night. Holiday, who made nine of 10 free throws, was one of four Bruins to score in double figures. Bryce Alford (6'3''-G-94) and Isaac Hamilton (6'5''-G-94) each had 16 points, while Ike Ike Anigbogu (6'10''-F/C) registered 13 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive bo... [read more]
Aaron Holiday (6'1''-G-96) totaled a team-high 17 points to help the UCLA men's basketball team earn a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets before a capacity crowd at the Logan Metro Indoor Sports Centre on Monday night. Holiday, who made nine of 10 free throws, was one of four Bruins to score in double figures. Bryce Alford (6'3''-G-94) and Isaac Hamilton (6'5''-G-94) each had 16 points, while Ike Ike Anigbogu (6'10''-F/C) registered 13 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. Thomas Welsh finished two points shy of a double-double, logging eight points and a team-leading 11 rebounds. Brisbane's Daniel Kickert (6'10''-C/F-83, college: St.Mary's, CA) registered a team-high 17 points for the National Basketball League squad that was playing its first preseason game since resurrecting its organization. The Bullets left the NBL in 2008 and will rejoin the league this season. UCLA's win came after some an interesting final sequence. The Bruins led 94-91 after Holiday made a pair of free throws with five seconds to play. Brisbane inbounded the ball and raced down the court before guard Ryan Vines (5'10''-G-91, college: Co.Georgia) heaved a wild desperation three-point shot, but UCLA's Bryce Alford was whistled for the foul. That sent Vines to the free throw line with a chance to even the score. Vines missed each of his first two free throw attempts and appeared to intentionally miss the final shot before UCLA's Ike Anigbogu grabbed the rebound to seal the victory. With Monday night's win, UCLA closed its three-game trip to Australia with two wins and one loss. "This is what we really needed and wanted in a foreign trip," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "Our guys were tested. I'm really glad that we won this last game. Even had we lost, it would have been a really good trip for us. But obviously, I'm glad that our guys got some momentum with this win tonight." Earlier in their overseas trip, the Bruins earned a 123-76 win at Sydney University on Aug. 23 before dropping an 89-84 decision to the Melbourne United of the NBL on Aug. 27. UCLA's three games in Australia will help the team prepare for its preseason practices in October. "We're further ahead with what we want to do offensively and with the basis of what we'd like to do on defense," Coach Alford said. "We'll come home with three games of really good film, particularly with those last two games against Melbourne and Brisbane. Between those two games against pro teams, we will have 80 minutes of really good film to show our guys and break down with one month before our preseason gets started." Monday's victory didn't come easy for UCLA. The host Bullets led throughout much of the first half and entered halftime with a 51-49 cushion, only after Alford nailed a 3-pointer with one second left in the second quarter to trim the gap to two points. In fact, the Bruins trailed by as many as 11 points with 4:18 to pay in the second quarter. The first quarter featured three lead changes before Brisbane claimed a 19-17 lead with 4:46 remaining. The Bullets never trailed until early in the third quarter. Down by a 52-51 margin just 25 seconds into the third quarter, Brisbane used a 6-0 scoring run to lead 57-52 and pushed its cushion to as many as 10 points - 66-56 - with five minutes left in the frame. Ike Anigbogu converted an old-fashioned 3-point play at the 1:07 mark, making the score 71-66 in Brisbane's favor. A basket by Hamilton with one second left in the third followed by another score from Hamilton to open the fourth quarter reduced Brisbane's advantage to 75-73. But the most notable sequence to lift the Bruins came from Bryce Alford and Lonzo Ball. Alford pulled the trigger on a sensational step-back 3-pointer to tie the game, 79-79, with 7:26 remaining and Ball immediately followed with a deep ball of his own, giving UCLA an 82-79 lead. The Bruins never trailed from that point. Brisbane twice tied the contest - at 82-82 and 84-84 - before Ike Anigbogu scored with 4:26 remaining to push UCLA ahead, 86-84. "We didn't play too well in the beginning," Holiday said. "But we started to really dig in during that second half, started to play tougher on defense, and we got going. It's great that we got the win." Holiday's tenacity on both sides of the ball was critical for the Bruins. The sophomore guard stuffed the stat sheet for UCLA, totaling four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists. "I thought that he was a pitbull," Coach Alford said. "He really competed. With Isaac in some foul trouble there in the second half, I thought that Aaron really fought through, having to play some extended minutes. He did some great things for us at both ends of the floor." Monday's win helped the Bruins cap the basketball portion of their 10-day trip abroad. As for Tuesday, the team's final full day in Australia, the surf and sand is on the team's itinerary. Staying at a hotel adjacent to the shores of the Gold Coast, members of the Bruins' travel party will have opportunities to partake in surfing lessons on Tuesday afternoon. As for the chance of a "surf-off" contest between any coaches or players? "Spending the day at Surfer's Paradise, some of us are trying to get a surf-off going between Alec Wulff and Coach Broussard," Coach Alford joked. "And I can't wait to see that." Courtesy of: uclabruins.com
Brescia defeat Santa Clara in test game - 16 hours ago
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Brescia - Santa Clara University 72:68 Brescia continued their preparations for the upcoming season. They faced Santa Clara University in the latest exhibition clash. The Italian team eked out a narrow victory at the end. Lee Moore (193-G-95, college: UTEP) came up with 19 points to pace the winners. Santa Clara jumped to a 25:21 lead ten minutes into the game. They maintained the lead throughout the second period. Santa Clara established a 42:35 halftime advantage. The students secured... [read more]
Brescia - Santa Clara University 72:68
Brescia continued their preparations for the upcoming season. They faced Santa Clara University in the latest exhibition clash. The Italian team eked out a narrow victory at the end. Lee Moore (193-G-95, college: UTEP) came up with 19 points to pace the winners. Santa Clara jumped to a 25:21 lead ten minutes into the game. They maintained the lead throughout the second period. Santa Clara established a 42:35 halftime advantage. The students secured a narrow 56:55 lead heading into the fourth frame. But Brescia stepped on the gas in the final stanza to seal the victory. Michele Vitali (196-G-91) delivered 15 points, while Alessandro Cittadini (207-C-79) added 11 points for the Italian team. KJ Feagin (185-G) responded with 17 points for Santa Clara. Jared Brownridge (190-G) contributed 16 points in the loss.
Duke's Lands first commitment for 2017 Courtesy of cbssports.com Four-Star Alex O'Connell Becomes Duke's First Commitment of 2017 Alex O'Connell officially committed to Duke University today. The four-star wing became the first member of a potentially loaded mega-class for the Blue Devils in 2017. O'Connell was offered Wednesday night, but has visited the campus many times before and his father, Dave O'Connell, played for Duke in the mid-70s. Alex chose Duke over high-major programs, in... [read more]
Duke's Lands first commitment for 2017
Courtesy of cbssports.com Four-Star Alex O'Connell Becomes Duke's First Commitment of 2017
Alex O'Connell officially committed to Duke University today. The four-star wing became the first member of a potentially loaded mega-class for the Blue Devils in 2017. O'Connell was offered Wednesday night, but has visited the campus many times before and his father, Dave O'Connell, played for Duke in the mid-70s. Alex chose Duke over high-major programs, including Louisville, Syracuse, Connecticut, UCLA, Miami, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, and Ole Miss.
6'6" Alex O'Connell is an athletic, three-level scorer, who has been blessed with good genes. Although he's lived in Baltimore and California, he's been raised in Georgia. The junior helped Milton High School reach the state Final Four in Georgia's AAAAAA (largest classification) playoffs. At 22.3 per game, O'Connell, who was a All-Metro Atlanta North Fulton selection, not only lead the team in scoring, but to twenty-five victories. In all likelihood, he will become the all-time leading scorer at Milton, which has won 2 state titles since 2010.
Alex' father, Mike, was a hyper-athletic guard, who suffered knee injuries, while playing for Bill Foster at Duke. The depth of athletic talent in the O'Connell gene pool doesn't end there as Alex' uncles played at Notre Dame and Xavier, while his older brother, Shawn, is a 6'8" forward at Georgia Southern. (Photo: 247Sports)
This AAU season, Alex decided to show what he was capable of on the toughest AAU league, Nike's EYBL circuit. While suiting up for Team United, O'Connell quickly proved he could score on anyone. The confident junior finished in the top 25 in three-pointers made, while easily leading the inexperienced United team in scoring, averaging over fourteen points.
Earlier in the year, O'Connell said of Duke, "It would definitely be a place where I have to see if I fit. I talked to him and he told me how that 2016 class, most of them would either be gone by the time I get there or have one more year left. I think if it comes down to it, I could really see myself fitting in with that class just depending on who commits and who sees themselves playing there too."
(Photo: Andrew Slater, 247Sports)
The four-star wing said earlier of his areas for improvement, "I gotta work on my ball handling. I'm getting a lot better on my ball handling. And then I have to be able to finish through contact. I'm really athletic. I'm really bouncy. Surprisingly though. I can finish above the rim, if necessary." Positionally, the first Duke commit said, "As of now, it doesn't matter, two, three, wing, it's the same thing. So, when it comes to college, I don't think it matters there either. Whether I'm on the left wing or right wing, a lot of coaches tell me there's no distinction between two and three." (Photo: Andrew Slater, 247Sports)
At the time, O'Connell said of the prospect of being a part of a deep, elite recruiting class, "Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think I could do really good things there. I could do just the same thing as Grayson Allen or Luke Kennard does now. I think I could do that too."
Arizona-Texas A&M, Texas-Arkansas doubleheader set for Lone Star Shootout
College basketball is taking on yet another neutral-court early season event.
The Lone Star Shootout has its matchups set. The doubleheader will go down on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Houston's Toyota Center. Arizona will play Texas A&M; Texas will play Arkansas.
So while it's a Texas-themed event, there will be two schools from outside the Lone Star State participating. Arizona has top-10 potential next season, too. Texas and Arkansas are way-back rivals from the days of the Southwest Conference. The Longhorns are expected to be an NCAA Tournament team again under Shaka Smart.
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston," Smart said in a statement. "It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.
Arkansas will have Moses Kingsley, who could be a national breakout player in the SEC, while A&M is fully loaded and should remain a top-three team in the SEC.
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