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March 08, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-08

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SPORTS

michigandaily.com/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

FRIDAY
MARCH 8, 2002

9

Playing time
for team's

Bring on the

Buckeyes
Six-game skid ends for
Blue as Blanchard shines

,a

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor

vtI t~ JJU)/K) UJJ
NDIANAPOLIS - Michigan played the
best game of its season yesterday because
its five best players played 35 minutes (or
more) each. It's about time.
All season, coach Tommy Amaker has
tweaked his starting lineup depending on who
has been hustling in practice, who deserved
the honor of starting.
He has done so
because he wants to
create a program where
hard work is rewarded
and laziness is not. I'
applaud Amaker for
that.
But yesterday, in the
first round of the Big DAVID
Ten Tournament, HORN
Amaker put his five
best basketball players Tooting My
on the court, left them Own
there nearly uninter-
rupted for the entire game and watched
them mop the floor with a team - North-
western - which should never have been a
problem for the Wolverines in the first
place. Michigan won by 21 points and
allowed fewer points (51) than they have all
season.
I don't know who has been working hard
behind closed doors recently. I don't know if
LaVell Blanchard is making faces at Amaker
at practice, or if Chris Young is blowing off
team meetings to play video games, or if
Dommanic Ingerson is prank calling the
assistant coaches. I don't care, at least not
this weekend.
It's March, and if a team is not disciplined
by now, it probably won't happen; you might
as well go out there and try to make a mira-
cle. If Michigan was going to lose yesterday,
it was going to lose with its best players.
The injury to point guard Avery Queen in
last weekend's final regular season game gave
Amaker a chance to play the lineup he could
have been playing all season: Young, Blan-
chard, Bernard Robinson, Leon Jones and
* Ingerson. He could have played that lineup if
he were less vehement about instituting a sys-
tem of accountability.
In the long run, his vehemence will pay off
for this program. In the short run (this week-
end), Michigan would benefit from allowing
this lineup not just to start, but to play as
many minutes as they can without collapsing
from fatigue.

INDIANAPOLIS - Maybe it was because
LaVell Blanchard was not satisfied in his recent
third team All Big Ten selection by the media.
Maybe it was because Blanchard was sick of
people calling his
season a disappoint- MICHIGAN 72
ment.
Maybe it was just NORTHWESTERN 51
because six careers
and a season were on the line.
Either way, Blanchard led the Wolverines
with a season-high 26 points - 17 in the first
half alone - as the inspired 10th-seeded
Wolverines played their best game of the sea-
son. Michigan trounced No. 7 seed Northwest-
ern, 72-51, in a half-empty Conseco Fieldhouse
in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Freshman Dommanic Ingerson made his first
career start in the absence of Avery Queen, who
sat out the entire game with an ailing knee.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker played his
starting five - Ingerson, Blanchard, Chris
Young, Leon Jones and Bernard Robinson -
for more than 35 minutes for the first time all
season. His Wolverines responded by playing
with the most mental toughness and grit they
have all year long.
In doing so, Michigan (5-1.1 Big Ten, 11-17
overall) snapped its six-game losing streak and
will move on to play No. 2 seed and co-Big Ten
champion Ohio State tonight at 6:40 p.m.
Amaker says he expects Queen to play.
Northwestern (7-9, 16-13), committed an
uncharacteristic 16 turnovers and let Michigan
shoot 61 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
"This is not the way we wanted to finish our
year," said Northwestern forward Tavaras
Hardy, who scored 17 points. "Not the way we
played."
A lot of the credit should go to Blanchard,
however, who scored nine straight points early
in the first half to give Michigan a 12-point
advantage. And he didn't stop there.
Blanchard, who scored over 20 points for just
the first time this season, shot a scorching 5-for-
7 from 3-point range and did everything from
taking charges to grabbing offensive boards to
getting key defensive stops.
"It was nice for him to have a break-out type
of game," Amaker said. "You could tell he had
an extra bounce in his step, and once his first
few shots went down, he had a ton of confi-
dence and that spread throughout the entire
team."
After Northwestern cut the lead to four late in
the first half, it was Blanchard who drained two
consecutive 3-pointers to help give Michigan

some breathing room and a 36-28 halftime
cushion. Blanchard hit a jumper, took a charge
and hit a 3-pointer in three consecutive posses-
sions early in the second half to give Michigan a
17-point lead.
And when Northwestern made its final run,
cutting the lead back down to six points with
seven minutes to go, it was Blanchard who
took another charge and then tipped in a
Bernard Robinson miss to extend the lead back
to eight.
With such a slow-moving, deliberate offense
that depends on back cuts and 3-pointers,
Northwestern didn't have the firepower to come
back. The Wildcats beat the Wolverines on back
cuts just twice for layups and shot 26 percent
(8-for-30) from 3-point range.
. "This is the first time we've put an entire
game together,"Young said.

AP PHOTO

Michigan center Chris Young's career was extended by at least a day, thanks to the gutty
performance by teammate LaVeli Blanchard, who finished with a season-high 26 points.

CONSECO FIELDHOUSE
What: No. 10 seed Michigan vs No. 2 seed Ohio State
When: 6:40 p.m.
Latest:Less than one week ago, Ohio State defeated
the Wolverines 84-75 at Crisler Arena to clinch a share
of the Big Ten title.
YESTERDAY'S GAME
MICHIGAN (72)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Robinson 36 3-9 1-2 0.7 2 3 8
Blanchard 39 9-14 3-3 3-6 0 4 26
Young 35 5-11 4-5 2-10 1 3 14
Jones 35 2-3 4-6 1-4 3 2 9
Ingerson 35 4-11 4-4 1-4 3 2 13
Gibson 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2
Bailey 6 0-1 0-0 0.0 0 0 0
Godfredson 9 0.1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Groninger 9 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Adebiyi 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 24.52 16.20 9-36 9 17 72
FG%:.462. FT%: .800. 3-point FG: 8-13, .615 (Blanchard
5-7, Robinson 1-1, Jones 1-2, Ingerson 1-3, Blocks: 2
(Young, Bailey). Steals: 8 (Blanchard 3, Jones, Ingerson,
Young, Robinson, Bailey). Tumovers: 11 (Robinson, Inger-
son 3, Jones 2, Blanchard, Groninger, Young, ). Technical
fouls: none.
NORTHWESTERN (51)
-FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Blake 34 4-11 2-3 0-3 2 4 12
Hardy 37 6-15 1-2 1-4 3 3 17
Jennings 22 0-4 2-2 1-3 5 2 2
Young 31 3-8 1-2 2-3 2 4 7
Drayton 16 0-1 0-0 3-5 1 2 0
Soltau 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Jenkins 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Vukusic 17 1-1 1-2 0-4 0 0 4
Long 11 0-5 0-0 0-1 0 1 0
Burke 32 3-6 2-3 1-4 1 3 9
Duvancic 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 17-51 9.14 8-27 1419 51
FG%: .330. FT%: .643. 3-.polnt FG:&830, .267 (Hardy 4-10,
Blake 2-6, Vukusic 1-1, Burke 1-3. Blocks: 6 (Hardy 3, Jen-
nings 2, Burke 1). Steals: 5 (Blake, Soltau, Vukusic, Long,
Burke). Turnovers: 15 (Blake, Hardy, Jennings 3, Young,
Long 2, Vukusic 1, Burke 1). Technical fouls: none.
Michigan....................36 36 - 72
Northwestern..................... 28 23 - 51
At: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

"I'll go play right now," Ingerson said
immediately after yesterday's game, regarding
when he would be next ready to play another
35 minutes.
Ingerson was the X-factor for the Wolver-
ines, as the other four had been regular
starters in most games. The absence of Queen
meant that he and Jones shared responsibili-
ties at the point, and the freshman played well
in that role, showing more patience and disci-
pline than he usually does.
He benefited from not having to look over
his shoulder for a substitute and not feeling
the need to score quick points to stay in the
game. The Wolverines benefited from his
constant presence on the perimeter, where the
Northwestern defense was forced to commit
attention that is ordinarily not needed for
Queen.

Amaker was able to keep his starters on the
floor for so long because of the style of bas-
ketball Northwestern employs: A slow,
methodical half-court game that does not
wear down the opposition physically. The
Ohio State team that Michigan faces tonight
will not be so forgiving, but it's March, so I
say you run these same five kids for another
35 minutes and see if they can steal another
win.
"We came here to be here for a few days,"
Amaker said.
Coach, if you're talking years, reward hus-
tle and hard work. If you're talking days,
reward your best ballers.
David Horn can be reached via e-mail at
hornd@umich.edu.

WRESTLING CH S IP CHAMPAIGN
CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wrestlersf ace nation s
best in Big Ten tourney

Sluggish performance in 1-0 win motivates icers

By Rohnt Shave
Daily Sports Writer
In the 2002 Big Ten Wrestling
Championships this weekend, top-
ranked Minnesota, No. 2 Michigan, No.
3 Iowa and No. 5 Ohio State will butt
heads. The victor earns bragging rights
in the nation's premier wrestling confer-
ence.
Michigan coach Joe McFarland has
tapered workouts so his team can peak.
"Our guys will be strong, and they
will be fresh," said McFarland.
Because tournament scoring rewards
dominant performances, the Wolverines
need favorites like Otto Olson and Andy
Hrovat to win their weight classes.
Michigan certainly has other
wrestlers capable of making the finals.
Aside from top-seeded seniors Hrovat
and Olson, the Wolverines boast seven
wrestlers seeded in the top four of their
weight classes. These include second- '
seeded freshman Ryan Bertin, and No.
3 seeds A.J. Grant, Foley Dowd, Mike
Kulczycki and Kyle Smith.
"We have to have guys fighting to get
into the finals," said McFarland.
The performances of the five other
highly-ranked Wolverines will deter-
mine Michigan's chances. Fortunately
for the Wolverines, these five have been
Collecting momentum heading into Big
Tens, using their intensity and killer
instinct to win matches decisively.
Instead of simply trying to advance to
the next round, Michigan wants to keep

Nick Velissaris will compete hard, but
his inexperience will hurt Michigan.
But McFarland points out that "there
are a lot of other factors thrown in," the
Big Ten tournament.
Something plaguing McFarland's
team in its fourth-place finish last year
was inexperience. This year, Michigan
has an abundance of battle-hardened
veterans ready to thrive under pres-
sure.
"Four of our starters will be wrestling
their last matches as Wolverines," said
senior captain Olson. "That pressure
will cause all of us to have high expec-
tations of going out with a bang."
TEEKE
CHAMPAIGN
What: Big Ten Wrestling Championships
When: 1 p.m. tomorrow. noon Sunday
Latest: Michigan could be hurt by the absence
of Clark Forward (141 pounds), who won't
compete because of a staph infection.

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan coach Red Berenson
watched the tape of his team's 1-0 victo-
ry over Lake Superior on Feb. 2, he
concluded that "it probably should have
gone the other way."
His Wolverines, who were fresh off a
5-0 stomping of the Lakers in Sault Ste.
Marie, couldn't muster any offense at
Joe Louis Arena. After defenseman Eric
Werner's goal just over two minutes into
the contest, the Lakers' defense
clamped down, and goaltender Lance
Mayes stoned 29 shots to keep the
Wolverines at bay.
"They had more chances than we
did," Berenson said. "They played a bet-
ter game, a smarter game. But they did-
n't capitalize on their chances. We were
lucky - really lucky."
"We did a lot of things that we
shouldn't have done," forward Milan
Gajic said. "It showed us that they could
play with us. It's a big motivation."
Motivation will be useful for Michi-
gan when it hosts the 12th-place Lakers
this weekend in a three-game series that
will determine which team advances to
the CCHA Super 6 Tournament at Joe

Louis Arena next weekend.
"They've got nothing to lose, and
we've got the world to lose," said junior
Mike Cammalleri, who returned last
weekend after being sidelined with
mononucleosis.
The Wolverines, the CCHA regular
season titleholders, have won nine
straight conference games heading into
their clash with the Lakers - a far cry
from Lake Superior's 0-8-1 record in
that span. Michigan moved up to No. 4
in the pairwise rankings (which mirror
the NCAA Tournament selection
process), which means any loss would
hurt its chances of earning a possible
first-round bye in the NCAA West

Regional at Yost Ice Arena.
"We know what's at stake and what
the consequences are," Gajic said. "We
have to take care of business."
Berenson feels that the Lakers match
up well with his team "when you throw
out the stats and everything else."
Lake Superior coach Frank Anza-
lone, who led the Lakers to their first
National Championship in 1988, has
instilled "the Lake Superior work ethic"
in this year's team - even though the
numbers may not show it.
"For a team that seems like it had a
tough year and not a lot of wins, I was
impressed with how hard they actually
played," said Michigan associate head

YOST ICE ARENA
Who: Michigan (19-5-4 CHA, 22-9-5 overall)
Lake Superior (4'22-2), 7-25.2)
When: 7:35 p.m. tonight, 7:05 p.m. tomorrow,
7:35 p.m. Sunday (if necessary)
Latest: Saturday's game will be televised on
Fox Sports Detroit beginning at 7:05 p.m.
coach Mel Pearson of his team's 1-0
victory at Joe Louis Arena. "They skat-
ed hard, they checked hard, they stayed
in the game. They still think they have a
chance to come down here and beat us."
The Wolverines will be without
freshman forward Jason Ryznar, who is
out with an injury to his hand.

00 v

Enjoy;
exper
featui
Show
Admis
the Ar
Sundaye
Afternati

a night of Ann Arbor's high-energy
imental jazz fusion on Saturday March 9th
ring:
Lotus / Jake Woorly-Hood
starts at 8 p.m.
sion is $5, $3 for students, with proceeds benefiting
nn Arbor Hunger Coalition
evening Jazz Mass at 5 p.m.
ive worship featuring live music by Stephen Rush and Quartex

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the stoy o redempion from the Exodus to Cavary
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