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November 04, 2002 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-04

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4

6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 4, 2002

Cagers struggle
against lesser foe

6

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan sophomore Tarn Leach helped lead the Wolverines to a third-place at the
Big Ten Championships yesterday.
Harriers take third
in West Lafayette
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY 115 1EN WEST LAFAYETTE

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Coming into this weekend's exhibi-
tion against Wayne State, Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker was hoping to
answer some questions about his
y o u n g
Wolverines. WAYNE STATE 68
Instead, he
found out M MICHIGAN 79
he has to
add to the laundry list of problems his
team needs to work on.
The Wolverines came out flat
against the Warriors and trailed the
Division II team by as many as nine
points in the first half. Eventually,
Michigan took the lead and finished
off Wayne State, 79-68. But the
Wolverines led by as few as five
points with less than seven minutes
remaining, failing to pull away from
the Warriors.
Amaker refused to make excuses
for the way his team played. In his
opening statement to the media, he
made his displeasure with his team's
performance clear.
"Certainly it was not a very pretty
performance by our ballclub," Amaker
said. "I didn't think we played very
close to what we're capable of and we
didn't resemble the way we've been
practicing."
Michigan committed 24 turnovers
on the night, seven of which came
from point guards Avery Queen and
Daniel Horton. Turnovers were a
major problem for the Wolverines last

year. After committing 16 turnovers in
last year's exhibition opener, they
barely improved that number, averag-
ing 14.2 per game.
Queen, who started the game over
the freshman Horton, split time at that
position throughout the first half. But
Queen led the team for the majority of
the second half, playing 26 minutes
total, as Horton showed his inexperi-
ence and looked shaky at times.
The Wolverines were weak on the
defensive boards, allowing the under-
sized Warriors to grab 21 rebounds
and score 36 points inside the paint.
"I was not pleased with our ability
to keep them off the backboard, and
the 24 turnovers is too many turnovers
for a team to have any chance of being
successful," Amaker said. "We have a
lot to work on. I thought Wayne State
did everything necessary to put us in
position to lose the game."
The Wolverines also struggled to
finish on the fast break all night, blow-
ing many opportunities for easy transi-
tion baskets because of mistimed
passes.
One of the bright spots for the
Wolverines was the play of freshman
guard Lester Abram. Abram and cen-
ter Chris Hunter were the only fresh-
men to start the game for the
Wolverines. Abram, en route to 13
points and seven rebounds, displayed
the athleticism and ability to drive to
the basket that he is known for.
"Abram gives (Michigan) a great
deal of versatility," Wayne State coach
David Greer said. "He is the type of

TONY UDIG/Daily
Senior captain LaVell Blanchard was one of the bright spots against Wayne State
Friday. Blanchard finished the night with a team-high 18 points.

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE - The No. 12
Michigan men's cross country team
faced a deep field at the Big Ten
Championships yesterday and finished
in third place with 80 points, one point
shy of Ohio State. Wisconsin won easi-
ly with 25 points, beating out tough
competition that included seven teams
ranked in the top 30 in the nation.
Sophomore Nathan Brannen and
freshman Nick Willis finished third
and seventh, respectively, to lead
Michigan. Brannen and Willis, who
both run 800 meters during track sea-
son , stayed back with a larger group
of runners but ended the race with a
burst to finish in the top seven and
receive All-Big Ten first team honors.
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst came
away from the meet impressed by
Brannen's and Willis' continued
improvement. Both set personal bests
yesterday.
"At 6,000 meters (of an 8,000 meter
race) Wisconsin was one through six,
and Nate and Nick were about 200
meters back," Warhurst said. "For
young guys that are half-milers, they
ran great. Every race they have more
confidence and experience and just
keep getting better."
Junior Tom Greenless, Junior Ryan
Hesselink and redshirt freshman Sean
Moore finished 15th, 26th and 29th for
the Wolverines, respectively.
The ease with which Wisconsin
won did not surprise Warhurst. The

Badgers were finally able to move
past a myriad of injuries and boast
their full lineup.
"Even though you never know what
will happen, I was confident that Wis-
consin was not going to get beat,"
Warhurst said. "I thought it would be a
five-team race for second and as it
played out all five of those teams were
right there running for second. "
Michigan heads back to West
Lafayette for the NCAA Great Lakes
Regional Championship on Nov. 16.
The top two teams at the regional qual-
ify for the NCAA Championships,
while the rest of the teams hope for at-
large bids.
The Wolverines will face an even
deeper field at regionals. Joining the
seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top
30 will be No. 7 Eastern Michigan,
No. 8 Central Michigan and No. 19
Butler. Warhurst is well aware it will
difficult to qualify for the NCAA
Championships.
"We don't have to think we need to
finish first or second to get the auto-
matic bid," Warhurst said. "This is a
race where eight or nine of the top
teams in the country are going for a
few spots."
To reach the top spots, several run-
ners will have to change their strategy.
"So far this season we have been
trying to stay together as a group,"
Brannen said. "At the regionals, we'll
probably have to split up. Willis and I
will stay close to the lead and the other
guys will stay with each other. We def-
initely need to be closer to the front."

kid who can impact a game and not
even score a basket.
"Lester is a winner. Anytime you
are a two time state champion you are
going to know how to win."
Michigan's other starters, Blanchard
and junior Bernard Robinson, led the
Wolverines with 18 points apiece and
ripped down nine and seven rebounds,
respectively. Both clearly appeared to
show the confidence and control of
upperclassmen as they combined to go

13-for-24 from the field.
With a little more than seven min-
utes remaining in the first half, Dom-
manic Ingerson and Wayne State's
Kendall Lesure collided when going
for a rebound, sending both players to
the floor.
Ingerson walked off under his own
strength but would not return. After
the game, Amaker said the sophomore
had just banged up his knee and that
he did not think it was serious.

Swingman Abram shines in exhibition

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
In his debut with the Michigan basketball team,
freshman swingman Lester
Abram spent the first half try-
ing to find his shot. But after
the Pontiac native stopped
pressing and knocked down a
few baskets, it was obvious he
belonged on the court.
"In the first half I was
looking for my shot," Abram
said. "In the second half, I let
the shots come to me, that's
how I got better shots in the Abram
second half."
While many speculated that a freshman would
start at center, Abram started at the shooting
guard position, where the Wolverines have signif-
icant depth with senior captain Gavin Groniger
and sophomore Dommanic Ingerson. Abram
logged 29 minutes for Michigan, second only to
junior Bernard Robinson, who tallied 33 minutes

in the exhibition.
"I didn't expect to get all the minutes but I
expected to play a lot," Abram said. "I expect to
have a big role on this team."
Abram proved he could fill that role, scoring 13
points in the game. The freshman slasher was able
to drive to the basket and get himself to the foul
line as well, where he was a perfect 6-for-6.
Michigan was second in the conference in free-
throw shooting last year and much of that was due
to the importance placed on foul shots by coach
Tommy Amaker.
"We work real hard on our free throws in prac-
tice," Abram said. "That's one of the things coach
stresses."
Another element the team works hard on in
practice is rebounding. Abram's seven defensive
boards tied senior LaVell Blanchard for tops on the
team, but overall the Wolverines were out-
rebounded and the practice did not seem to pay off.
"We practice that a lot in practice, boxing out,
then it seemed like, when the game was going
on, we just forgot to box out," Abram said. "I
was frustrated a little bit because we worked on

it so hard.
"When you come into the game and don't do it,
what's the purpose of even working on it in prac-
tice? You're just working on it for no reason. If you
aren't going to do it in a real game, then there's no
purpose in doing it any way."
Abram's play was for the most part exempla-
ry, but he would be the first to point out some of
the mistakes he made in his first action as a
Wolverine.
"I had a couple of defensive lapsesi where I let
my man get past me when I shouldn't have,"
Abram said. "I had a couple of turnovers I should-
n't have had, but other than that I played pretty
well I think."
Fortunately for Amaker, he not only has young
talent like Abram on his team, but he also has the
experience of players like Blanchard. After one of
Abram's defensive lapses, Blanchard went over to
the freshman to help him get the matchups the
team was looking for.
"I try to focus on helping guys," Blanchard
said. "I know when I was a freshman, guys tried
to help me."

Gators no match for Blue's undefeated tankers

By Waldemar Centeno
Daily Sports Writer

The leaders of a team emerge in
many different ways and situations.
Coaches prefer to have more than
one leader on a certain team, but
that isn't always possible.

A few unexpected athletes led the
Michigan men's swimming team
against Florida.
When the Wolverines and the
Gators met on Friday night at
O'Connell Center Natatorium in
Gainesville, Fla., freshmen Peter
Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater, and

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Chris Dejong accounted for four of
the Wolverines' event wins.
Although these young swimmers
were an odd bunch to lead Michi-
gan, coach Jon Urbanchek was not
surprised.
"I was not surprised by the per-
formance of the freshmen. They
usually lead the team in practice,"
Urbanchek said. "I'm glad that they
already recorded their personal best
times this early in the season."
The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines
(4-0) remained unbeaten after their
win (132-109) at No. 7 Florida (3-1)
this weekend.
Despite an expectedly close
match, the meet soon became a lop-
sided victory for the Wolverines.
"The two teams were definitely
evenly matched," said Urbanchek.
"Obviously we thought that the
meet was going to be close, howev-
er, it did not end up to be that way."
The match contained four excit-
ing event wins from the freshman
class and five 1-2 finishes.
Vanderkaay and Andrew Hurd
both contributed to two of those

five 1-2 finishes. Vanderkaay came
in first in both the 1,000-yard
freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle,
with Hurd coming in a close second
in both of those events.
With extra support, Tarwater, Dan
Ketchum, Chuck Sayao, Tony Kurth
and Zayd Ma also contributed to
many of the team's 1-2 finishes.
Dejong, Tarwater, Jeff Hopwood,
and Garrett Mangieri combined to
post a NCAA consideration time of
3:18.11 to finish second in the 400-
yard medlay relay. Mangieri record-
ed his first NCAA consideration
time with a time of 44.74 in the
100-yard freestyle as well. Dusty
Garwood also led the diving effort
with a runner-up finish in the 3-
meter springboard.
The all-around team effort
allowed the Wolverines to begin the
season on a hopeful and exciting
note. With matchups with several
high-quality opponents left on the
schedule, the Wolverines are hoping
that their win over the Gators is
only a start.

'I

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Erin Moore and the Michigan volleyball team upset No. 11 Penn State Saturday
night 3-2.
..
Si kers upIC set 11th
ranked Nittany Lions,

By Robert Dean
Daily Sports Writer

U U

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Michigan volleyball coach Mark
Rosen has maintained all along that his
team is capable of beating anyone in the
Big Ten.
The Wolverines lived up to their
coach's words Saturday night by beating
the best, upsetting No. 11 Penn State in
five games to win 3-2.
Game five came down to who could
catch momentum early as the fifth game
is only played up to 15. Things didn't
look good as the Wolverines' first attack
was blocked at the net. But Michigan
built a lead with back-to-back kills by
Chantel Reedus and setter Lisa Gamals-
ki. Penn State played tough all match,
trading games with the Wolverines, but
couldn't muster a comeback as Michi-
gan cruised to a decisive 15-10 win.
"It's a huge win for the season,"

streak at home this season.
No sooner did Michigan (8-4 Big
Ten, 14-8 overall) win a game in the
match than the Nittany Lions pulled
themselves back into contention. Michi-
gan put together 22 digs and two
blocks, all while limiting the Nittany
Lions to just 13 kills on offense. The
first game was close and came down to
a final attack by Chantel Reedus to give
the Wolverines the game 31-29.
Game two was equally close, but this
time the Nittany Lions came out the
victors, 30-28. Both teams were strong
defensively, and as a consequence, nei-
ther team hit well. For either team to
win, it would have to rely on a string of
a couple points at the end of each game.
After intermission, Michigan got out
to a run and never looked back. The
Wolverines were successful in nearly
half of their attacks. Particularly, Jennifer
Gandolph and Nicole Poquette shined

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