The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 13, 2003 - 5B
Talkin' the talk
"The difference was whether we had
Daniel Horton on the floor."
- Michigan coach Tommy Amaker discussing his team's
ability to deal with freshman point guard Daniel Horton's
foul and injury troubles.
_ tPenn State 53
Players of the game
The freshman center pounded the
boards, grabbing 13 rebounds -
including six offensive - to go
along with 10 points.
Blanchard continued his spectacular
season, quietly leading Michigan with
15 points and eight rebounds in 35
minutes of action.
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
The biggest question facing Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker this season was how
to deal with the loss of center Chris Young.
Young's graduation cost the Wolverines
11.4 points and just less
than six rebounds a BASKETBALL
game, as well as deci- Notebook
mating any low-post
presence Michigan had.
Or so everyone thought.
As Michigan has run off its nine-game win-
ning streak, one of the most pleasant surprises
has been the rapid improvement of freshmen
centers Chris Hunter and Graham Brown.
Saturday's 66-53 win over Penn State was a
showcase of how effective Michigan can be
when Hunter and Brown are both on their
game. Brown started the game and finished
with seven points and four rebounds, while
Hunter continued to gain confidence, notch-
ing 10 points and seven rebounds.
"The guys on the team have more confi-
dence in me, and they're looking for me
more," Hunter said.
More importantly, the aggressiveness of
the two kept Penn State center Jan Jagla in
foul trouble and off his game all afternoon.
Jagla played just 15 minutes, finishing with
four fouls and a season-low two points.
"We tried to get them in foul trouble so we
could get to the line," Hunter said. "The only
way you can do that is to penetrate and go to
Brown agreed with his fellow center.
"By being able to get the ball down low, it
opens up outside shots," Brown said. "We
knew that their defense was slower down low,
so we got the ball down low and attacked."
Both players raised their points per
game average with their performances Sat-
urday. Brown now stands at 5.7 points per
game, while Hunter has pitched in with 5.2
The two have also combined to grab more
than eight rebounds a game.
The left-handed Brown has used his size to
pound down low, scoring at least seven points
in each of Michigan's last three victories,
while Hunter has found a rhythm with his
jump shot and posted double-digits Saturday
for the third time in the last six games.
"Chris played a very solid game," Amaker
said after the win. "He certainly did a better
job of getting the ball around the rim and fin-
ishing - he was very adamant about doing
that coming in."
Many of Michigan's problems during last
No time for rest in
fAer an emotionally draining win like Michigan had over
Wisconsin last week, coaches always worry about a let-
down. It's something that is extremely common in all
sports, but also something that can kill a
team's momentum - especially if it falls to a
The Wolverines played hard enough to
defeat Penn State on Saturday. They avoided aR
costly letdown. On the bright side, Michigan
succeeded in its first opportunity to show it
could get a win after an emotional and dra- .
matic victory. The Wolverines responded well
to success, and this is a positive sign for the NAWEED
current season, as well as the future. SWCORA
On the other hand, the energy, passion and .on
concentration that brought them back from a Blowin
15-point deficit against the Badgers was smoke
nowhere to be found. Michigan was tired,
and it showed on the court.
Of course, there's no reason why the Wolverines shouldn't be
tired. Freshman point guard Daniel Horton has been logging
almost 40 minutes per game throughout the nine-game winning
streak. He has done a remarkable job of running the team, but the
playing time is taking a toll on his energy and health.
Michigan as a whole is dressing just 10 players, three of which
(Sherrod Harrell, Chuck Bailey and Colin Dill) play limited minutes
(10 combined against Penn State). So who can blame the seven pri-
mary players from feeling a little weary from time to time?
But even though getting tired may be understandable, it certainly
won't get the Wolverines far in the Big Ten. As the season continues,
conference opponents will only get bigger, stronger and meaner.
Michigan must learn how to deal with the mental and physical
rigors of conference play if it wants to continue its impressive win-
ning streak and have a successful conference season.
Saturday, the Wolverines did a poor job of this, but were able to
get away with it. For the first time during the winning streak, the
Wolverines were outrebounded (42-35). They also allowed Penn
State to grab 22 offensive rebounds to their seven. They shot just
68 percent from the charity stripe, where they ended up with a 37-
8 shot advantage. And finally, they committed 11 second-half
fouls after just three in the first half. These numbers are all indica-
tive of a team with a lack of concentration.
Fortunately for the Wolverines, Penn State committed even more
fouls and turnovers than they did, giving them a chance to main-
tain the lead. The Nittany Lions also shot just 31.4 percent from
the field for the game.
But Penn State's performance was a poor representation of the
competition level Michigan will face in the Big Ten this year.
Wednesday at Ohio State, the Wolverines might face their
biggest challenge yet and no matter how tired they might be, they
need to be ready.
Through this amazing turnaround, Michigan has built up a
great deal of confidence. The Wolverines believe in themselves,
each other and coach Tommy Amaker. It's almost impossible to
believe that a team that began the season with six consecutive
losses could ever be feeling overconfident, so I don't think that
was the problem Saturday.
Michigan began the Big Ten season with two consecutive wins
last year, but without the talent to compete in the Big Ten it was
eventually pushed near the bottom of the standings. This season, the
talent is there, and Michigan has the potential to put together an
impressive conference season. But will the streak continue?
"You have to play extremely well in this conference," Amaker
said. "It's hard to win on the road in this league. It's certainly a
very difficult task. We have to be rested, healthy and prepared, and
we have to play well in order to get a victory (at Ohio State)."
Concentration is fragile. It can be broken very quickly and easi-
ly - especially on the road. Michigan must find a way to set aside
its fatigue and play with focus and concentration all the time. If the
Wolverines can do this, they will move one step closer to becom-
ing a force in the Big Ten.
Penn State (53)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Riley 32 2-10 0-0 2-5 0 4 6
Egekeze 13 1-2 2-3 0-2 1 2 4
Jagla 15 1-5 0-0 0-1 1 4 2
Watkins 37 7-17 1-2 1-2 4 3 16
Chambliss 34 3-11 0-0 0-0 1 3 7
Vossekuil 8 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0
Summers 25 5-6 0-1 6-13 1 2 10
Johnson 20 2-10 2-2 5-6 0 2 6
Cameron 9 1-6 0-0 0-0 1 3 2
Mcdougald 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Fellows 3 0-2 0-0 1-2 0 1 0
Totals 200 22-70 5.8 22.42 9 26 53
FG%: .314. FT%: .625. 3-point FG: 4-20_ 200 (Riley
2-6, Watkins 1-5, Chambliss 1-7, Jagla 0-1, Cameron
0-1). Blocks: 2 (Summers, Mcdougald). Steals: 4
(Riley, Jagla, Summers, Fellows). Turnovers: 17
(Watkins 4, Riley 3, Jagla 2, Johnson 2, Chambliss,
Vossekuil, Summers, Cameron, Mcdougaid, Fel-
lows). Technical fouls: none.
FG%: .465. FT%: .676. 3-poInt FG: 1-9 (Blanchard 1-
3, Horton 0-4, Abram 0-1, Groninger 0-1). Blocks:
Hunter 2. Steals: 9 (Robinson 3, Abram 3, Blan-
chard, Brown, Groninger). Turnovers: 15 (Robinson
8, Horton 2, Abram 2, Blanchard, Brown,
Groninger). Technical fouls: none.
Penn State ..........25 28 -53
Michigan ...............29 37 - 66
At: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor
BIG TEN STANDINGS
W L W L
2 0 12 1
2 0 10 3
2 0 9 6
1 0 9 3
1 1 11 3
1 1 9 5
1 1 8 5
0 1 8 4
0 2 10 4
0 2 8 5
0 2 5 8
Graham Brown has been steady on defense all year for Michigan, but it's been his and fellow
center Chris Hunter's offensive production that have helped improve the Wolverines' offense.
year's abysmal season resulted from the
team's inability to cope when Young would
suffer a scoring drought or find himself in
foul trouble. But with the Wolverines enter-
ing Big Ten play in the midst of the rapid pro-
gression of Brown and Hunter, Amaker, at
the very least, finds himself with two options
in the low post.
BANGED UP BLUE: The crowd of 9,748 at
Crisler Arena on Saturday held its collective
breath when freshman Daniel Horton went
up for a block with 17:20 left in the game and
came down hard on his left wrist.
Horton stayed on the ground for a moment
and then walked to the Michigan bench in
obvious pain. He had his wrist examined,
wrapped and - much to the delight of the
Wolverine faithful - returned to the game
just three minutes later.
But the nagging injury that Horton says
has been bothering him since Michigan's win
over San Francisco Jan. 2 has Amaker wor-
ried about his newest star.
"I'm very concerned," Amaker said. "He's
not at 100 percent and we need everyone at
100 percent for this time right now."
Horton isn't the only Wolverine recently
banged up. Senior tri-captain Rotolu Adebiyi
has not dressed for the last few games after
tearing a ligament in his knee during a prac-
tice over winter break.
"Graham fell on my knee going for a
loose ball - he didn't get off, and he's a big
country boy, so it was not a good feeling,"
Adebiyi said. "The doctor said two-to-three
HEAT WAVE: Michigan's win over Penn State
kept the Wolverines among the country's
Only 13 teams in Division I basketball
have had winning streaks of nine or longer
this season. Undefeated Duke, Syracuse and
Oklahoma State are the only teams that cur-
rently have streaks of 10 or more.
Last Saturday's results:
MICHIGAN 66, Penn State 53
ILLINOIS 69, Wisconsin 63
IOWA 68, Michigan State 64
OHIO STATE 81, Indiana 69
PURDUE 82, Northwestern 68
Minnesota at Purdue
Michigan at Ohio State
Northwestern at Indiana
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Illinois at Iowa
Michigan at Northwestern
Purdue at Penn State
Michigan State at Minnesota
Illinois at Indiana
Wisconsin at Ohio State
Continued from Page 16
Part of the reason that Harris wasn't able to get to
the hoop in the second half was because of a defen-
sive switch by the Fighting Irish, leaving James
man-to-man on Harris.
"I love Dion Harris. He is one of my real good
friends who I talk to a lot. I just had him contained
today," James said. "He is averaging 28 points per
game and today he had 18. I hope that he continues
to work hard and continues to play hard and go on to
In the third quarter, the Fighting Irish put up 26
points in what James professed to be one of the best
quarters his team had played all year.
The quarter was highlighted by a play in which
James stole the ball at halfcourt and slammed down
a thunderous dunk, sending the crowd into an
Later, in a similar situation, James would lay the
ball up, causing many in the stands to boo the senior
for having done the unexpected - not giving them
something to cheer for.
"I do the unexpected," said James with a smile,
indicating that he was in control. "You do the unex-
pected, like last week when I went between my legs
- nobody was expecting it. Today, everybody
thought I was going to dunk - and I didn't."
While Harris was disappointed to leave Ohio with
his fourth-straight loss to his good friend, he prom-
ised that it would not be the last time they see each
other on the court.
"Yea, I think we will probably meet back up in the
league a couple of years from now," said the typical-
ly bashful Harris.
Naweed Sikora can be reached at email@example.com.
Continued from Page 1B
and our ability to get to the line, which was tremendous, but we
did not convert at the normal rate that we have been in the past."
The ability to score from the foul line allowed the Wolverines
to stay ahead, even though they went 10 minutes without a basket
in the second half. It looked liked Penn State was applying the
Hack-a-Shaq technique to the entire Michigan team after halftime
as it committed 23 fouls in the second half.
The result of all the whistles was that many Lions found them-
selves in foul trouble, including Jan Jagla. The 7-foot center
looked like he would be able to dominate inside, because of
Michigan's inexperience and depth problems down low. But he
was almost a non-factor in the game due to foul trouble. Jagla,
who averages 10 points per game, finished with just two points
and collected four fouls in just 15 minutes of play.
When Jagla was forced to sit, Michigan's freshmen big men,
Graham Brown and Chris Hunter, were able to be more pro-
ductive on the inside. Hunter finished with 10 points, seven
boards and two blocks, but he credits Brown's defense for
"I think Brown did an excellent job of posting him up and get-
ting some quick fouls on him, and that took him out his game
early;' Hunter said.
LeBron James (left) and his teammates - well, mostly James - defeated Michigan
recruit Dion Harris' Detroit Redford High School team yesterday in Cleveland.
The banged-up Buckeyes were sti-
fled by Michigan State, but
rebounded with animpressive win
over Indiana Saturday. Guard Brent
Darby leads the defending Big Ten
champions with an average of 18.1
points per game.
Perennial Big TenadoormataNorth-
western is off to an 8-5 start, one
of its best in recent years. The
Wildcats have dropped games to
Iowa and Purdue, but they are
always more dangerous at home.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
No. 11 FLORIDA 66, No. 20 GEORGIA 63: Florida needed
all 40 minutes on Saturday to dispose of a red-hot
Guard Anthony Roberson hit a 3-pointer - his seventh of
the game - at the second-half buzzer to give the
Gators a three-point victory over their SEC rival.
Florida (13-2) led 58-49 late, only to watch
the Bulldogs (9-4) string a rally together,
led by Jarvis Hayes, who scored 25 Anthony
points, including four 3-pointers in the Roberson
game's final minutes. AP PHOTO
The Bulldogs actually pulled ahead 63-
61 after Hayes' sixth trey of the game, Y.,
but David Lee dunked to tie it.
ket with 2:34 left in overtime and was unable to recover.
VANDERBILT 70, No. 4 ALABAMA 69: For the first time since a
victory over UCLA in Nov. 1995, Vanderbilt (8-5) was able
to upend a top-5 opponent.
The game was nip-and-tuck all the way until the Com-
modores' Russell Lakey nailed a 3-pointer with 18.8
seconds left in the second half to put Vanderbilt on
Alabama (11-2) trailed 36-30 at the half, but
was able to hang tight with the host Com-
The Crimson Tide were unable to pull out a
crucial SEC victory.
5. Notre Dame
7. Mississippi State
This weekend's results
Beat No. 17 Wake Forest 74-55
Beat Washington 79-61
Beat Miami (Fla.) 83-80 (OT)
Lost to Vanderbilt 70-69
Beat Seton Hall 74-64
Beat Rutgers 70-63
Lost to Louisiana State 85-72
Beat Iowa State 70-50
Beat Colorado 69-54
Beat Wisconsin 69-63
Beat Georgia 66-63
Lost to Stanford 81-57
Beat Baylor 77-69
Beat Nebraska 92-59