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December 01, 2003 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-01

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December 1,2003

SECTION B)

'M' musters escape from Indy

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By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - Going against a
squad without a starter taller than 6-
foot-6, Michigan was looking to pound
the ball inside and
roll over the Butler 1 GER6®
Bulldogs.
What it got was a dogfight.
The Wolverines (3-0) survived a slug-
gish and sloppy offensive performance
to escape from Conseco Fieldhouse yes-
terday with a 61-60 overtime victory.

Michigan turned over the ball 19 times,
pulling down just six total rebounds
from its top four post players and getting
very few fast-break points.
"We grew up a little bit tonight,"
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said.
"There's no question about it."
In overtime, guard Daniel Horton
gave Michigan the momentum with an
NBA-range 3-pointer with 1:57 remain-
ing to put the Wolverines up by three,
but Bruce Horan hit an open 3-pointer
later on, which put the Bulldogs (2-1) up
by one with just 35 seconds to go.
Lester Abram drove down the baseline
was fouled by Bruce Horan on the next
Wolverine possession and made both free
throws to retake the lead. But Duane
Lightfoot found Avery Sheets wide open in
front of the basket, and Sheets put in an
easy lay-up, putting the Bulldogs up 60-59.
Then, Horton drove inside and appeared to
knock over guard Avery Sheets with 6.7
seconds left, but Sheets was called with a
blocking foul, giving Horton two free
throws. Horton made them both, leaving

Butler with the final possession.
"I told myself I was going to make
those free throws, and I told my team-
mates I was going to make those free
throws so they could stop worrying
about that and worry about playing
defense,' Horton said.
Forward Brandon Crone found him-
self with a wide open 3-pointer at the
buzzer. It missed, and Brent Petway
pulled down the rebound, leaving the
Wolverines with a deep breath to take on
the bus ride home. Michigan had just
two field-goal attempts in overtime, as it
relied on a perfect 6-for-6 from the line
to lead it to victory after shooting 56.3
percent from the line in regulation.
"It wasn't a pretty game," Amaker
said. "But (it was) a game we fought
hard to win."
Butler also had a chance to win the
game in regulation - as well as numer-
ous opportunities to take the lead
throughout the second half - when it
had the ball with 38 seconds left. The
See BULLDOGS, Page 5B

JASON COOPER/Daily
Sophomores Graham Brown and Chris Hunter celebrate during the Wolverines' 61-60 victory over Butler yesterday.

Freshmen: Take
my advice, savor
this precious time
hris Perry summed it up. Surreal, he called it. As stu-
dents poured onto the Michigan Stadium turf to cele-
brate an outright Big Ten championship last Saturday,
he was thinking the same thing I was.

'Embarrassing'

Wisconsin 3, MICHIGAN 1

Minnesota 4, MICHIGAN 2

Somebody, pinch me.
I don't know about the rest of
you seniors, but even today, nine
days later, it still hasn't sunk in
for me. We've been through it all
together, haven't we?
I won't spend time regurgitat-
ing the past four years. We all
know what happened. Way too
many losses to teams Michigan
shouldn't have lost to. That just
about sums it up.
But somehow, someway,
these Wolverines, built on
heart, determination and a butt-

J. BRADY
MCCOLLOUGH
The S ortsMonday
olumn

load of talent, have sent us out on top.
And it's the sweetest feeling ever. Why? Because we've
suffered. Because we've endured three years of frustration
and heartache.
Watching the pandemonium on the field last Saturday (I
can't celebrate, I'm supposed to be an objective journalist), I
felt like a kid again. But oddly, at the same time, it made me
feel old - like a proud father realizing his firstborn son had
finally come of age.
I began to think about what it would be like to be a fresh-
man watching the celebration from row 89.
Imagine it, seniors. Imagine how different our four years
would have been if Michigan had met our expectations and
won the Big Ten title outright our freshman year.
Would we have appreciated it? Would it have felt this
good? No way.
As an out-of-stater, I remember not caring that much
about the Big Ten championship when I was a freshman -
all I wanted was a national title. Michigan winning the Big
Ten was to be expected, especially with Drew Henson,
Anthony Thomas and David Terrell leading the offense.
After last Saturday, the class of 2007 must be thinking
big. Two or three national championships, definitely three
more Big Ten titles, a Heisman Trophy for Braylon
Edwards, a Heisman for Stevie Breaston the next year,
another Heisman for Matt Gutierrez his senior season and at
least five or six more rushes of the field before it's all said
and done.
Please, freshman, let me give you some friendly advice.
Slow down. Don't get ahead of yourself. Soak this one up
and realize how lucky you are to win a Big Ten champi-
onship in your first try. Six years went by before this one,
and another six could expire before Michigan wins another
one (2009?!). So gloat like you've never gloated before.
Savor it like a senior would.
The same goes for everything you do until you lose that
once-in-a-lifetime title ... college freshman. I'm serious. It's
sad to say, but the best memories I have from college will be
from freshman year - because they were novel memories,
See MCCOLLOUGH, Page 6B

leers swept
In Showcase
for first time
By Gennaro Flice
Daily Sports Writer
During the second intermission of Friday's Michi-
gan-Wisconsin College Hockey Showcase matchup, a
small pocket of Yost Ice Arena attempted to start
Michigan's football wave. The infamous wave quickly
died at the beginning of the third period, but it was a
sign - when the Yost faithful have to reference Michi-
gan Stadium, they're off their game. Unfortunately for
the Wolverines, the lackadaisical approach in the
stands reflected Michigan's play on the ice.
"I don't know if it was the week off or too much
turkey last night, but they were ready. to go, and they
took it to us," Michigan captain Andy Burnes said fol-
lowing the Wolverines' 3-1 loss to the Badgers of the
Western Collegiate Hockey Association. "They took it .
to us."
Although Michigan players and fans alike exponen-
tially increased their energy for Saturday night's contest
against Minnesota, in the end, the result was the same:
another close loss, 4-2, at home to a WCHA team.
The WCHA's collective sweep of the Wolverines
marked the first time in the 11-year history of the Col-
lege Hockey Showcase that Michigan lost both games.
It also gave the Wolverines their first three-game los-
ing streak since 1999.
"We're not as good as we think, and we've got a lot -
of work to do," Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
As cited by Burnes, the Wolverines looked like vic-:
tims of bird overdose on Friday, sleepwalking through -
the weekend opener against Wisconsin.
The Badgers entered this weekend with a 1-8-1 -
record against Michigan in the Showcase.
"I don't like reading our record against Wisconsin:
in this Showcase because that's just ammunition for
the other team, and it makes our team think we're just
going to roll over them, and obviously that's not going
to happen,' Berenson said.
The Badgers lit the lamp first with 2:13 left in the
first period. Robbie Earl grabbed a loose puck and
started a 2-on-1 down the right side of the ice. Earl
tried to flick the puck cross-ice to John Funk, but
See SHOWCASE, Page 4B

TDD
TONY DING/Daily

Michigan's Eric Nystrom dives toward the boards for the puck in Michigan's 3-1 loss to Wisconsin.

Blue 's

offensive inconsistency must be addressed

BRIAN SCHICK
ON IE HOcKEY
Sitting at the press conference after Saturday's 4-2
loss to Minnesota, Brandon Rogers and Al Montoya
had blank looks on their faces, trying to figure out
what had happened this past weekend. Both players
obviously didn't want to be talking to the media about
how they and their teammates had become the first
Michigan team in the 11-year history of the College
Hockey Showcase to be swept.
The most troublesome aspect of this weekend's
games is the inconsistent play that has plagued the
team, and the powerplay has been the perfect incarna-
tion of Michigan's inconsistency. With a 9-5 record, it
may appear that nothing is seriously wrong and that

strength, and the powerplay was the only thing keeping
the team afloat. The last time Michigan scored a pow-
erplay goal was when it scored all three of its goals on
the man-advantage in a 3-2 win over Ferris State on
Nov. 8. In the four games since then, Michigan is 0-
for-16 on the powerplay.
Coach Red Berenson has admitted that the power-
play has struggled because players are trying to do too
much. After the initial success earlier in the season had
run out, Berenson began to tinker with the powerplay
units in hopes of finding a spark.
"We've got to find the right mix and the right chem-
istry too on our powerplays," Berenson said on Satur-
day. "That's why I've been changing it around, because
I didn't like the chemistry. I think it's a work in
progress."
It seems to be pretty late in the season to be blaming

the best win of the season - two weeks ago when the
Wolverines traveled to Columbus to take on a steadily
improving Buckeye club. On Friday night, Michigan
put forth its most dominant performance of the season
with a convincing 4-0 win. Montoya was nothing short
of spectacular, making 30 saves and standing on his
head several times to protect the shutout. Four differ-
ent players scored a goal - all at even strength - and
three of the four lines had a hand in scoring them. Dur-
ing that game, Michigan played like it was the best
team in the country.
Fast forward to the next night. The momentum from
such a victory would crush any attempt by Ohio State
to salvage the weekend. Michigan scored the first goal
just 21 seconds into the game and seemed to close the
door. But somewhere, Lee Corso said "Not so fast, my
friend." Ohio State went on to score the next five goals
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