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Mar 27, 1997

Seminoles' Rally Falls Short In NIT Championship

Michigan ends Florida State run, 82-73

NEW YORK -- Robert Traylor had 26 points and 13 rebounds and keyed a late 10-2 burst as Michigan held off Florida State for an 82-73 victory in the championship game of the National Invitational Tournament in Madison Square Garden in New York.

Maceo Baston added 20 points for the Wolverines (24-11), who captured their second NIT title. Michigan, one of 11 schools to win both an NCAA and NIT title, also captured this tournament in 1984. The Wolverines are 15-4 all-time in the NIT.

Traylor, who matched his season high in points, was named Most Valuable Player.

"It's a great honor looking at the long list of names," said Traylor about the MVP award. "I could've had zero points and zero rebounds as long as we won the game, I would've been proud."

James Collins scored 20 points and LaMarr Greer added 15 for Florida State (20-12), which almost rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit.

This was the first meeting between the schools.

Florida State held an 8-6 lead 3:15 into the contest before Baston keyed a 14-4 run with six points and capped it with a dunk to give the Wolverines a 20-12 lead with 10:45 left in the first half.

Michigan extended the lead to 32-19 after a 10-2 run, which ended on a three-pointer from Louis Bullock at the 4:45 mark of the first half. The Wolverines held a 41-31 lead at intermission and used an 8-0 run at the outset of the second half to bump the lead to 18 after two free throws from Baston with 17:05 remaining.

A three-point play by Traylor gave Michigan a 54-37 lead with 14:33 remaining, but the Seminoles responded with a 12-0 tear as Collins scored five points. A dunk by Kerry Thompson pulled Florida State within 54-49 with 12:19 left.

Florida State drew within 68-66 on a free throw by Corey Louis with 4:46 remaining, but Traylor's layup triggered a 10-2 burst that put the game away. Maurice Taylor had a dunk before Collins hit a jumper to make it 72-68 with 2:11 remaining.

"I'm extremely proud of the way the kids fought coming back," said Florida State coach Pat Kennedy. "They showed great character and we were exhausted at the end."

But Bullock responded with a layup, Brandun Hughes hit a jumper and Traylor capped the run with a fast-break dunk to give the Wolverines a 78-68 lead with 29.8 seconds to play.

"I'm proud of my teammates for laying it all on the line," said Traylor. "I'm just proud of the opportunity to do the things I wanted to do. They gave me a chance to do some things to control the game, both offensively and defensively."

Michigan shot 43 percent (28-of-65) from the floor and pulled down 25 offensive rebounds and 43 total.

"The thing I was very concerned about was their size and physical strength," added Kennedy. "We just couldn't challenge them like we wanted to early in the game. I don't think I've coached against a team in all my 17 years that has been so physically imposing as they are. They literally manhandled us around the basket."

The Seminoles shot 44 percent (23-of-52), but made 8-of-20 from three-point range. Florida State had only 23 total rebounds.

FLORIDA ST (73)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Greer           38   5-8   2-2   0-3  2  5   15
Jackson         32  5-10   1-2   2-2  1  2   11
Luchman         22   1-2   3-4   2-4  0  4    5
Collins         40  6-14   5-7   3-3  4  4   20
K Thompson      39  4-12   4-5   2-7  6  2   14
Louis           26   2-4   4-6   1-3  1  3    8
Hale             3   0-2   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-52 19-26 11-23 14 20   73
_______________________________________________
Percentages: FG-.442, FT-.731. 3-Point Goals:
8-20, .400 (Greer 3-5, Collins 3-7, K Thompson
2-7, Hale 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots:
1 (Jackson). Turnovers: 13 (Collins 4, K Thompson
4, Greer 2, Louis 2, Jackson). Steals: 8 (Collins
2, Louis 2, Greer, Jackson, K Thompson, Luchman).
MICHIGAN (82)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Baston          25  6-10  8-13   5-7  1  3   20
M Taylor        28   4-8   1-2   5-8  1  4    9
Traylor         38 11-22   4-6 10-13  1  3   26
Bullock         31  5-15   5-5   1-4  2  0   17
Conlan          33   1-2   0-0   0-5  6  4    3
Hughes          30   1-5   3-4   1-2  3  4    5
Ward            12   0-2   2-2   1-2  0  2    2
Vignier          3   0-1   0-0   2-2  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 28-65 23-32 25-43 14 21   82
_______________________________________________
Percentages: FG-.431, FT-.719. 3-Point Goals:
3-14, .214 (Bullock 2-9, Conlan 1-2, Hughes 0-2,
Ward 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3
(Traylor 2, Bullock). Turnovers: 14 (Baston 3,
Conlan 3, M Taylor 3, Hughes 2, Bullock, Traylor,
Ward). Steals: 3 (Traylor 2, Conlan).
__________________________________
Florida St         31   42  -   73
Michigan           41   41  -   82
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 15,849. Officials:
Steve Silverman, John Cahill, Rick Hartzell.

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