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January 06, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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January 6, 2003







True freshman wide receiver Jason Avant (left) escorts senior safety Julius Curry (right) and senior defensive end Dan Rumishek (back)
off the field for the last time in their Michigan uniforms.
Michigan gets revenge on the SEC,
solidifies the Big Ten's supremacy

T AMPA, Fla. - For the Chinese,
2002 was the Year of the Horse.
For college football, 2002 was
the Year of the Darkhorse. No bowl
season in recent memory has seen as
many underdogs win
in games where they
were so outmatched
on paper. And in
dramatic style - it'
rose and fell, only to
rise again -- the Big
Ten is once again
the best conference
in college football. JEFF
As a conference, PHILLIPS
Big Ten teams went
5-2 in bowl games, Ramble
including Ohio On
State's improbable
victory over Miami (Fla.) to win the
national title. In those seven games,
only Penn State was favored, and in the
case of Minnesota, Purdue and Wis-
consin, their in-conference perform-
ance gave no indication of how they
would surprise their opponents.
This year in the Big Ten, the buzz-
word was parity. Now it's not just a word

that stupid coaches use to make them-
selves sound smart, it's actually applica-
ble, as the bottom-feeders showed
themselves capable of defeating the con-
ference's top teams. Illinois and Purdue
nearly defeated the Buckeyes, and the
Wolverines eeked out victories over the
Badgers and Boilermakers. Yet in the
end, Ohio State and Michigan (and
Iowa) were still at the top and everyone
else was left scrambling - and there is
little reason to believe that next season
will be any different.
Ending the season with a win always
gives fans hope for next season, but for
Michigan and Ohio State, their success
is secured. The day after defeating the
Hurricanes, the Buckeyes were already
talking repeat and they have returning
talent to do it. They lose six starters,
including All-America safety Mike
Doss and All-America linebacker Matt
Wilhelm, but only one on offense,
wide receiver Chris Vance. With the
return of running back Maurice Clarett
and all-everything performer Chris
Gamble, there is little reason to bet
against Ohio State.
The Wolverines, who nearly defeated

said Buckeyes in their own stadium,
gave the nation a little taste of what to
expect next season. Their offense
exploded for 38 points against Florida
and played nearly mistake free,
anchored by running back Chris Perry
and quarterback John Navarre. After
B.J. Askew left the game in the first
quarter with a broken hand, Perry
showed his versatility with six recep-
tions for 108 yards. He also rushed for
85 yards and four touchdowns to be
the game's most valuable player. It was
the kind of game that Perry had been
expected to produce ever since his
123-yard, three-touchdown game
against Washington.
Navarre was poised and efficient in
playing perhaps his best game for the
Wolverines. He completed 21-of-36
passes for 319 yards and a touchdown
and threw no interceptions. He with-
stood the pressure of the Florida
defensive line and linebackers and
showed none of the panic that had
plagued him in the past.
The offensive line remains intact
with Dave Petruziello being the only

Michigan running back Chris Perry (23) - the Outback Bowl Most Valuable Player - jumps into the air and'
meets a flying Ronald Bellamy (19) as senior fullback B. J. Askew looks on.

Hot hot hot!Cagers continue
winning streak against Jaguars

Freshmen propel icers
to much-needed sweep

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

On Dec. 8, a .500 winning percentage
seemed about as far away as the, sunny beaches
of Los Angeles to the Michigan basketball
team. But in the month since their 22-point
loss to Duke, the Wolverines have seen both a
record above .500 and the cool waters of the
Michigan started IUPUI 79
the season 0-6 as MH8
poor post defense was MICHIGAN 84
exposed by opposing
centers, while the Wolverines were not playing
within the system that the coaches had estab-
lished for them. But on the last day of the fall
semester, Michigan turned the trend around by
avenging last year's loss to Bowling Green with
an 83-57 win. The Wolverines carried that
momentum throughout break, capturing an 81-
76 win at UCLA and finishing their vacation
with an 84-79 victory over IUPUI on Saturday.
Michigan (7-6) hasn't looked back since the
win over Bowling Green, piling up wins like
snow on the ground. It has done so by playing
unselfishly on the offensive end, leading to an
increase in confidence for a team that is not
used to prolonged success. Over this stretch,
Michigan also learned how to deal with adver-
sity and overcome problems - things that it
had previously failed to do.
The Wolverines had to do both on Saturday
against IUPUI to bring their winning streak to
seven - giving them a perfect record over
winter break and their longest winning streak

since the 1997-98 season.
The Jaguars gave up an early nine-point lead
to the Wolverines but would come back and
pester a lackluster Michigan team all day.
IUPUI led by four with less than 10 minutes
remaining and tied the game with less than
four minutes to go before a baseline dunk by
Michigan forward Lester Abram put the game
out of reach.
"This is the time of year that you look
around college basketball and you see a lot of
teams slip up. We were fortunate that we
weren't one of those teams (Saturday)," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said. "This very
well could have been a game that last year or a
couple of years ago that maybe we would not
have been able to pull out."
Michigan was dealt a blow before the game
when junior Bernard .Robinson was scratched
due to a knee injury suffered during practice.
Compounding this problem was foul trouble
for Abram that kept him on the bench for a six-
minute stretch late in the second half. Abram
finished the game with five rebounds and a
career-high 20 points, but his absence clearly
affected Michigan's offense.
"I liked seeing the good offensive perform-
ance (from him), but he was picking up silly
and immature fouls that put him on the bench,"
Amaker said. "Especially in a game like this
where 'we didn't have Robinson - we really
need Abram."
Missing the duo also weakened Michigan's
perimeter defense, allowing the Jaguars to pen-
etrate the Wolverines' frail zone defense.
Michigan also had problems rotating on

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
All season long the Michigan hock-
ey team has been forced to play with-
out some of its
best players - MIAMI 2
and all season
long the fresh- MICHIGAN 5
man class has
responded with big contributions.
Last night's 5-2 win over Miami
was no different.
Three freshmen scored goals for the
Wolverines. And 17-year-old freshman
goalie Al Montoya made 34 saves,
including a number of big stops to
protect Michigan's 3-2 lead in the
third period.
"Things hadn't been going my way
but it clicked tonight," Montoya said.
"I was in the right place at the right
time and things were going my way. I
was seeing the puck real well tonight."
Michigan freshman Andrew Ebbett
opened the game's scoring off of a
crisp series of passes by the Wolver-
ines on the powerplay. Defenseman
Nick Martens fired the puck through
the Miami zone to center David Moss'
down low. The Dearborn native quick-
ly redirected the play across the crease
to Ebbett, who jammed it past Miami
goalie David Burleigh for the score.
Miami fought back twice in the sec-
ond period to keep the game close.

With the Redhawks trailing 2-1, for-
ward Taylor Hustead skated around a
Michigan defender and fired a pic-
ture-perfect wristshot from the right
faceoff circle into the top right.corner
of the net.
But the Wolverines got the last
laugh. Three third-period goals,
including an empty-netter by Jason
Ryznar, pushed the game out of
Miami's reach.
On the weekend, the freshman class
scored six of the team's eight goals.
Forward Jeff Tambellini had apair of
game-winners, including a slapshot
from the blueline last night to make it
3-2. Saturday he scored the winning
goal in the 3-2 overtime win.
"We had our freshman class lead
(the team in 'The Victors' after the
game) and that was a statement to
their contribution this weekend,"
coach Red Berenson said. "It was a
big weekend for (them)."
The freshmen's output was especial-
ly important because the Wolverines
were without three of their top scor-
ers. Sophomores Dwight Helminen
and Eric Nystrom missed the series to
represent the United States at the IIHF
World Junior Championship - the
two will come home without a medal
unfortunately, as the United States lost
3-2 to Finland in the bronze medal
game yesterday. Forward Michael

Michigan swingman Lester Abram scored 20 points
in Michigan's 84-79 victory over IUPUI.
defense and getting to the weak side to help
teammates take players off the dribble, allow-
ing IUPUI to easily slash to the basket. The
Wolverines gave up 36 points in the paint as
the Jaguars went 18-of-24 inside.
"I was disappointed in our ability to guard
their perimeter players off the dribble," Amaker
said. "They exploited us in the post and off the
See JAGUARS, Page 6B



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