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October 15, 2001 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-15

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 15, 2001 - 7B

Wolverines to place
priority on defense

'M' starts out "
flat, loses to / ::".
By Chris Burke *={
Daily Sporits Writer,.

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Editor
Dunks and fast breaks excite fans,
but Michigan basketball coach Tommy
Amaker is more concerned with how to
stop those plays than with how to create
The adage that defense wins games
is a driving force behind Amaker's phi-
losophy for this year's Wolverines.
Stopping opponents is the team's priori-
"It's going to be very important that
we become better defensively,' Amak-
ersaid. "I think we have some of the
ingredients to do that within our ball-
After spending several years at Seton
Hall, Amaker is trying to-bring the
same defensive mentality that has often
characterized the Big East to Michigan.
Last season, Michigan allowed an aver-
age of 78 points per game.
This year, Amaker wants the Wolver-
ines to be a team known and feared for
a stingy defense.
If Michigan can bring a tenacious
defense to the court, Amaker thinks the
new look could prove beneficial to the
players in terms other than the final
"I thinkif we can show that you can
become a fairly good defensive team,
there are so many things that go into
becoming a good defensive team that
help you become a team," Amaker said.
Bernard Robinson is a known com-
modity on offense - he was Michi-
gan's second-leading scorer last season
with 14.4 points per game. But he also
was one of the more dangerous Wolver-
ines at the other end of the court.
His 33 steals were seven more than
the total of any other Wolverine. Even
so, Robinson is ready to put more of an
emphasis on defense.
"This year I'm really stressing the
defensive end," Robinson said. "Coach-
said I have a chance to be the best

defensive player. He's built a lot of con-
fidence in me."
A common belief among the Michi-
gan players and coaches is that once the
Wolverines develop a tenacious
defense, their offense will naturally fol-
low. By frustrating the other team and
creating turnovers, Michigan expects to
feed off that energy and find good scor-
ing chances.
"If we can strive to adopt to that phi-
losophy to have that identity, I think our
offense will flow. I think we'll be a
team that takes advantage of early
opportunities," Amaker said. "We need
to be able to do a couple things. One
will be to block out and to rebound the
basketball, to give us an opportunity to
go down the floor. But we're going to
use the secondary style of break, if we
don't have anything in what we consid-
er a primary break.
"I think that will give us good struc-
ture, good balance in being able to
move the ball and try to create good
opportunities to score."
If big men Josh Moore and Chris
Young are on the court together, Michi-
gan may have the size to compete with
tall teams in a half-court defense,
which Amaker said he wants to use.
But in a small lineup - which Michi-
gan will likely have to put on the floor
frequently - the Wolverines may need
to find other ways to defend.
"We'll have to beat them coming up
the floor" Young said.
Amaker believes that by proving to
themselves and to others in the Big Ten
that their defense is a forced to be reck-
oned with, the Wolverines will find a
new way to improve in other aspects on
and off the court.
"That's what our goal is, is to have an
identity, become a better defensive
team where we're taking more pride in
defending people on the other end of
the floor," Amaker said. "I think that
will help us in so many areas of our
play and our program."

EAST LANSING - In the second half of yester-
day's Michigan men's soccer game at Michigan State,
the Wolverines played like a team on a mission. They
were able to control the ball, create several scoring
chances and dictate the
game's pace. . MICHWGAN 2
But the first half of the
Big Ten showdown fea- Mi:IGi(AN ST. 4
tured a lethargic Michi-
gan team that saw its normally stiff defense exploited
several times en route to a 3-1 halftirne deficit to its
in-state rival. That poor start proved too much to over-
come despite the energetic second half response, as
the Spartans handed the Wolverines their third con-
secutive loss, 4-2.
"Dr. Jekyl appeared for our team." said Michigan
coach Steve Burns of his team's first half perfor-
mance. "We played flat and lifeless, and I really have
no answers for it. I was extremely upset at the players
in the first half"
Michigan State capitalized on two golden opportu-
nities early in the game. Nick DeGraw made good on
a penalty kick in the 8th minute after a Michigan foul,
and then Anders Kelto repeated the feat during the
21st minute, finding the net after Michigan was called
for a second infraction inside the box.
The Wolverines cut the lead in half during the 37th
minute of play, as Robert Wurth beat Michigan State
goalie Mike Robinson for an unassisted goal.
But, little more than two minutes later, Michigan
State forward Jeffery Krass took a feed from Steve
Arce and beat Michigan goalkeeper Joe Zawacki to

TOM l-Lt.'DAM-/Uaily
Michigan fought hard to tie the game at three, but their aggressive play burned them in the end.

send the Spartans into halftime with a cushion.
"I thought we came out pretty good early - we
had some jump in our legs and created a couple
chances that we were able to finish," Michigan State
coach Joe Baum said. "When we got that third goal, I
felt better, but at halftime I told the players that it was
far from over."
Michigan proved Baum to be prophetic, dominat-
ing the flow of the game for the first 20 minutes of the
second half. Jody Keeling eventually made the
Wolverines' hard work pay off, tallying a goal in the
61-st minute to draw the visitors within a goal. Mike
White fired a shot from the right side of the box that
was turned away, but Keeling was waiting alone for
the rebound and put it in the gaping net.
"I was calling fbr the ball on the back post," Keel-
ing said. "White took the shot and the goalie coughed

it up - luckily I was ahead of my defender so it was
a pretty easy goal."
The Wolverines' best chance to notch the equalizer
came with 12 minutes to go when they received a cor-
ner kick. Defender Kevin Taylor was denied on a
header as Spartans' goalkeeper Mike Robinson dove
along the ground to keep the Spartans ahead.
On the counter-attack off of Robinson's save,
Michigan State broke forward Thomas Trivelloni
behind the Michigan defense. The pass sent to Trivel-
loni turned into a race between himself and Zawacki,
as Michigan's goalkeeper came well out of his net in
an effort to steal the ball. But Trivelloni won the battle
and punched the ball around Zawacki, at which point
the goalie tackled the attacking forward - Zawacki
was given a red card, forcing backup goalkeeper Brad
King into action and leaving Michigan down a man.

Aggressive style hurts Michigan in the end

By Rohit Bhave
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - In sixth place
in the Big Ten prior to the game, Michi-
gan (1-3 Big Ten. 7-4-1) badly needed a
win over third-place Michigan State (3-
1, 8-2-1) yesterday. As the underdog, it
would normally be assumed that the
Wolverines would approach the game
with hunger and determination.
But to Coach Steve Burns' dismay,
Michigan came out uninspired against
the spirited Spartans, losing 4-2 after
surrendering three goals in the first half.
Defensive breakdowns, especially in the
defensive midfield area, allowed Michi-
gan State to exploit the Wolverines.
Burns' fiery halfilme speech fIcused
on the need for more passionate play

and fewer letdowns on defense. While
adjustments centered more on the
team's attitude than strategy, the coach-
ing staff's switch of sweeper Kevin Tay-
lor to defensive midfield appeared to
tighten up the team's leaky defense in.
the second half
Coming out of halftime, a rejuvenat-
ed Michigan team kept the ball in the
Spartans' end and applied heavy pres-
sure on its defenders.
"We felt that i f our forwards and
attacking midfield players could work
hard to put pressure from behind, it
would disrupt their rhythm and they
would give the ball right back to us."
Bsurns said.
Michigan's improved intensity result-
ed in more balls being won at midfield,
causing better opportunities on offense.

Following Jody Keeling's goal with 29
minutes left, his teammates continued
to press the Spartans and assert control
over the midfield area.
Down just 3-2 at that point, "we
thought one goal could possibly break
them;" midfielder Knox Cameron said.
When Burns inserted attackers
Robert Turpin, Mychal Turpin and
Keeling with 13 minutes left, it seemed
the hard-driving Wolverines would
probably tie the game.
Unfortunately for Michigan, the
same aggressive mentality that led to its
'comeback attempt also led to its
demise. While pressing the Spartans,
the goal-hungry Wolverines left them-
selves vulnerable to the counterattack.
Thomas Trivelloni's fateful break-
away with ten minutes left forced

Michigan goalkeeper Joe Zawacki to
break up the play by tackling the Michi-
gan State forward and earning a red-
card ejection. Ironically, Michigan's
Taylor nearly missed tying the game
moments earlier.
"They caught our defenders out of
position," a disappointed Keeling said.
The momentum of the game sudden-
ly shifted to Michigan State as the
Wolverines had to play with 10 men for
the last 10 minutes of the game. Still
gambling, Michigan defenders allowed
Craig Hearn to penetrate the right flank
and find an open Trivelloni, sealing the
game at 4-2.
In the end, the Wolverines learned
that only one strong half is not enough
for victory -- especially against a
strong tearnlike Michigan State.

Michigan sophomore Bernard Robinson is focusing on his defense for the
upcoming season.
Walk-On Try-Outs
For the Michigan .;
Tuesday, October 16,2001- 8:00 I.M
at Crisler Arena
You must be a full-time student registered for a minimum of 12
credits. You must register with the basketball office in Weidenbach
Hall. You must also submit a physical to the same office. For further
information, please contact the basketball office at 734-763-5504.
Th Ses 30b o Campu
a '
:i". -

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You are cordially invited to the Second Annual
Lecture in memory of Tamara Williams (1976-1997),
a University of Michigan senior killed by her
boyfriend, September 23, 1997.

auria Wiu iams
<'7> w< 2976-1997
The Struggle
Dating andf
Staying On T
Speaker: Lydia W

to End the Oppression of
Domestic Violence:
alker, M.A.
clinical psychologist and social worker who has

Lydia Wacker is a


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