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March 11, 2002 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-11

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igJbe ait uJ&

PORTS

Sports desk: 763-2459
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SECTION B

------------- --- - ---- ---- - -1--l- --I- I - I - - I I I I ;) n - - - - - - ---- ---- -- -
www.michigandaily.com/sports Ann Arbor,

ust a little
Second half
surge comes
up abt short w
By David Hnor
Daily Sports Editor
INDIANAPOLIS - You.don't know what you've
got till it's nearly gone. This week at the Big Ten Tour-
nament, the Michigan basketball team - knowing that
its season was slipping away, grasped at the last few
grains of sand before it slid through the hourglass. With
a sense of urgency and an emotion that has been all but
absent from the team this
season, the Wolverines put ~ MICHIGAN 68
together what was probably RIO STATE 75
their most impressive loss, a O
75-68 defeat at the hands of
Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tourna-
ment.
Ohio State went up 15-2 to start the game, but could
not build on that lead despite maintaining offensive
pressure.
"We could have had an opportunity to be up by dou-
ble figures at the end of the half," Ohio State coach Jim
O'Brien said. "But they (Michigan) hung in there."
Coming out of the lockerroom after halftime, Michi-
gan took control of a game that it trailed at that point,
42-35. Junior forward LaVell Blanchard led his team
for the second straight game with 13 second-half points
and 24 for the game. Over a stretch midway through
the second half, Blanchard scored 11 of Michigan's 17
points as the 10th-seeded Wolverines hung with the
conference's co-champions, eventually working the
Ohio State lead down to one point.
After a dunk by Ohio State's Velimir Radinovic
brought the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd (most of who
wore scarlet rather than maize and blue) to its feet and
another Radinovic field goal increased the Ohio State
lead back up to five, Michigan junior guard Gavin
Groninger knocked down a 3-pointer to keep Michigan
within two with under three minutes to play.
Following the Groninger 3-pointer, Ohio State guard
Brian Brown and Blanchard traded field goals. With
less than 40 seconds to play, Michigan could see the
See BUCKEYES, Page 5B
comes months too late

behind

LAUREN BRAUN/Daily
Michigan freshman Ryan Bertin was one of Michigan's more pleasent surprises as
he fought his way to a final round 5-3 loss to Minnesota's No. 1 Luke Becker.
'M' wrestlers struggle,
fihtidat Big Tens
WRESTLING I 0 . CHAMPAIGN
CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Rohft Bhave
Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - The 2002 Big
Ten Championships belonged to No.
1 Minnesota. In the process of win-
ning the Big Tens by a 45-point
margin, the Golden Gophers had
seven finalists and four individual
champions.
While Minnesota monopolized
first place with 174 points, the sec-
ond-place slot was clearly up for
grabs between No. 2 Michigan, No. 3
Iowa and No. 5 Ohio State. With
seven wrestlers seeded third or better,
No. 2 Michigan had an excellent
chance of staking its claim as the Big
Ten's second-best team. But seedings
mean little when you underachieve.
Iowa, the victor of this second-
place free-for-all, won close match-
es and scored upsets over favored
opponents.
As their loud fans cheered surpris-
ing performances from young
wrestlers like No. 6 seed Luke
Eustice (second place at 125 pounds)
and No. 6 seed Luke Moffitt (141
pound champion), the Hawkeyes won
two individual titles and beat out the.
disappointing Wolverines 129-121.5.
"They had a lot of young guys step
up," said McFarland..
The Wolverines, even with all their
high seeds, appeared tentative and
emotionally flat. With 133-pounder
Foley Dowd and 125-pounder A.J.
Grant seeded third in their draws, it
appeared that Michigan would get off
to a strong start in the quarterfinals.
Instead, a 4-1 upset loss by No. 3
seed Dowd to Illinois' No. 6 Chad
Hay left the Wolverines staggering
out of the gate.
Afterwards, McFarland admitted
the quarterfinal upset "affected us
right off the bat."
While Dowd struggled to a sev-
enth-place finish and Grant finished

fourth, Michigan staved off Ohio
State for third place by relying on its
veterans. Undefeated and top-ranked
174 pounder Otto Olson continued
his streak by beating Iowa's Taylor
Nixt, 3-2. Although Olson appeared
uncomfortable wrestling defensively
in the final, the senior won his second
consecutive individual Big Ten title
by scoring a takedown early and rid-
ing the lead until the end.
Senior captain Andy Hrovat landed
in the final against Minnesota rival
Damion Hahn by handily winning the
quarterfinals and semifinals, 13-1
and 10-4. Locked in a tight match,
Hrovat needed a takedown in the third
period, behind 5-3. Although Hrovat
took shot after shot at Hahn, the Min-
nesota wrestler refused to yield.
Instead, Hahn took advantage of
the lunging Hrovat with counter-
moves and scored a clinching take-
down with one minute left, winning
8-4.
While Hrovat expected to be in the
final, freshman Ryan Bertin (157
pounds) turned some heads as he bat-
tled his way to a finals showdown
with Minnesota's No. 1 Luke Becker.
Bertin, down 5-3, made a furious
effort to score on Becker, but the
favorite used his strength to hold off
Bertin and win. Despite the loss,
Bertin's teammates were optimistic
about his future prospects.
"The kid's going to be outstanding
- he'll be competing for the title the
next three years," Olson said. Bertin
typifies "what the Michigan athlete is
about."
On another positive note, Michigan
senior heavyweight Matt Brink over-
came his midseason knee injury and a
difficult draw to finish fourth.
Brink's narrow consolation semifi-
nal loss to Minnesota's No. 3 Garrett
Lowney indicated that the senior
could make noise against top compe-
tition at nationals in two weeks.

INDIANAPOLIS -There were
definitely some red, puffy eyes in the
Michigan lockerroom after the Wolver-
ines' heartbreaking 75-68 loss to Ohio
State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten
Tournament.
And for once,
the tears weren't
just falling from
the face of senior
captain Chris
Young.
Whether it was
the six seniors,
whose careers JOE
ended that night S
- most of whom
were playing in The One and
their final game ')nly
of organized bas-
ketball - or the freshmen who tasted
their first-ever postseason defeat at this
level, there were definitely feelings of
disappointment.
This time, the Wolverines were actu-
ally visibly upset that they didn't win.
They were disappointed that they put it
all on the line, played their hearts out
and had nothing to show for it.
It was a feeling that Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker said his team hasn't
felt in "a long time."

And why shouldn't they feel like
that?
When Ohio State jumped out to a
15-2 lead and was scorching from the
floor, Michigan didn't buckle. Even
when the Wolverines shot a dismal 1-9
to start the game, they didn't lay down
and die like they have in the past.
Instead, they dug deep, took some
pride and as Amaker said "played to
win" instead of playing "not to lose."
Not that it makes up for another
frustrating season, another ugly record
(11-18), or another 10th-place finish in
the Big Ten. But it put some warm,
fuzzy feelings in the hearts of Michi-
gan fans and gave them some optimism
for the future.
"They get credit for battling at a time
where people were giving us up for
dead - thinking that we'd thrown the
towel in," Amaker said. "We knew that
we hadn't done that all year. They
responded very well and made our fans
very proud of an ending to a season
that wasn't necessarily a great one for
us."
It's easy to give credit to a team play-
ing inspired basketball for six seniors,
who have been so instrumental to the
team the past four years. It's easy to lay
it on the line when your own season is

in danger of ending. It's easy to get
motivated when the slate is wiped
clean and you're playing in a "new sea-
son," as most of the Wolverines called
it.
It's easy to feel desperation when
"your backs are against the wall."
But good teams - the Dukes,
Marylands and Kansas of the sport -
don't wait until their season is on the
line to play inspired basketball. They

don't need to wait until the final game
of the season to play for the seniors.
And a "new season" for them is the
one that begins in early November, not
March.
And therefore, their backs aren't
against the wall in the first round of a
conference tournament.
"We took the approach that we all
were seniors, and that it was all of our
See SMITH, Page 5B

Hockey survives upset, advances to Super 6

By SeO tKlempnsr
Daily Sports Writer
When the No. 6 Michigan hockey team went to bed
last night, it was sure to thank the hockey gods for the
return of junior Mike Cammalleri in time for the CCHA
playoffs and for last-place Lake Superior's (4-22-2
CCHA, 8-27-2 overall) inability to muster enough
offense to pull off an upset.
Lake Superior entered this weekend on a 10-game
winless streak (0-9-1) and held the worst record in the
CCHA, with just four conference wins all season. The
Lakers had been playing the worst hockey in the CCHA
and had only faint dreams of upending CCHA regular
season champion Michigan (19-5-4, 24-10-5).
"Right now we are a 12th-place team trying to get into

can with what we've got."
But despite these obstacles, Lake Superior was able to
put up a fight and push the best-of-three series to the
limit before falling 4-1 in last night's deciding game.
Michigan, which lost the first game 4-3, bounced back
Saturday night 4-1to even the series at one game apiece.
Yesterday, after 19 minutes of scoreless hockey and
with Michigan on a 5-on-3 advantage, Cammalleri faked
a shot from the right faceoff circle that sent Lake Superi-
or goalie Matt Violin to the ground. This allowed Cam-
malleri to walk in for his fourth goal of the weekend.
Cammalleri went on to score once more to complement
his hat trick the night before.
Cammalleri "is obviously a special player," Michigan
captain Jed Ortmeyer said. "He just adds that much more
depth to our team and it is a huge bonus to have him back

offense, Lake Superior hung around until it was able to
draw within one early in the third period. Aaron Davis
made the score 2-1 after slipping a weak wrist shot past
senior goaltender Josh Blackburn, who was possibly
starting his last home game.
Less than three minutes later, the Lakers had a strong
chance to tie the game, but a two-on-one was wiped out
by an offside call.
Five minutes later, Michigan freshman Eric Nystrom
cemented the win for the Wolverines when he scored on
a 3-on-2 with a backhand shot from the circle.
"We had to have a 'live to see another day attitude'
today," Cammalleri said after yesterday's game. "I think it
helps our team when we have to play with desperation.
When a team has its back against the wall and can find a
way to win, it shows some character."

4I/

-' /I

TOM FFDKAMP/Dally

F

I

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