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December 01, 2003 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-01

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - December 1, 2003 - 5B

Talkin' the talk


Players of the game

"A lot of people don't understand - two
years ago, we would have lost this game."
- Michigan senior Bernard Robinson on pulling out
yesterday's close contest with Butler. The forward has been
one of the only constants during the team's recent growth.

. Butler

60 (OT)

Mike Monserez
Monserez shot 5-for-.3 from
three-point range en route to a
team-high 23 points.

Daniel Horton
Despite Michigan's second-half free-
throw problems, Horton stayed
poised and hit four huge free throws
down the stretch and in overtime.

Blue abandons
half-court trap
By Chris Burke and Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writers
INDIANAPOLIS - Michigan came out
yesterday hoping to follow up on its first
two games, in which the Wolverines forced
Oakland and High Point into a combined
38 turnovers.
The Wolverines

opted to utilize a half-
court trap in the first
half of the game,
applying double teams
to the Bulldogs' point


The strategy brought both good and bad
for Michigan. On the positive side, the
Wolverines forced 12 first-half turnovers
from the Bulldogs, but in return, Butler
was able to get several open 3-point looks.
Fortunately for Michigan, the shots failed
to fall, as Butler finished the first 20 min-
utes just 4-of-19 from behind the arc.
"We thought they would eventually
make some of the threes they were taking
in the first half," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "Certainly, we were doing a
lot of trapping and doubling - they were
getting some open shots."
In response to those uncontested looks,
Amaker opted to drop the Wolverines out
of the half-court trap. Michigan played
much of the second half in straight man-
to-man defense or a 2-3 zone.
"We tried to be a little more conserva-
tive (in the second half)," Amaker said. "I
don't know if that was the right decision,
but I thought it helped us down the stretch
because we felt we were fairly fresh."
Butler committed just four turnovers in
the second half and overtime, and finished
the game 9-of-33 on 3-pointers.
CONSEC-No: The fans were standing and
cheering throughout the game, but some-
thing was missing for Butler.
Being forced to transplant themselves
from their cozy Hinkel Fieldhouse, the
6,148 in attendance looked like a small
force in downtown Indianapolis inside
Conseco Fieldhouse, the home of the Indi-
ana Pacers.
The third decks were draped over on
both sides of the arena, and the fans were
just able to fill the lower deck and parts of
the second deck, making the venue seem
very out of place.
In order to secure just a home-and-home
against Michigan, Butler used Conseco as
a recruiting tool to drag in the Wolverines,
who could use the game as practice for
when they have to return in mid-March for

Michigan wing Bernard Robinson takes a jumpshot during last night's game. The Wolverines
played more conservative defense down the stretch, dropping out of their half-court trap.

Wolverines prove
they can win ugly
NDIANAPOLIS - There are those incredibly well-
played, error-free athletic contests about which tele-
vision announcers love to say, "You'd hate to see
either team lose a game like
This wasn't one of those
Butler shot 38 percent, missed
24 3-pointers and scored just
three baskets inside the are in the
first half.
Michigan turned the ball over CHRIS
21 times, shot under 70 percent BURKE
from the free-throw line and
posted a mere 20 points in the Goin' to Work
second half ... and won.
But when the Wolverines look back on yesterday's
hard-fought, if not somewhat ugly matchup with the
Bulldogs, they'll take away more than just a key non-
conference victory.
If there's anything that the Wolverines should have
learned, it's that, in spite of defensive lapses and forced
shots and seemingly endless field-goal droughts, they
have the ability to win ugly.
It's not an easy lesson.
It's definitely not a lesson that comes from destroying
a team like High Point by 35. It won't come in practice
or in film sessions. The only way to learn how to win
games like last night's is to do it.
"I was really impressed with the toughness of our
kids to battle through a lot of difficult things that hadn't
happened to us this year," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said.
And the fact that the Wolverines can finally face
adversity and come out smiling says something in itself.
"I don't know if a lot of people understand," Michi-
gan senior Bernard Robinson said. "Two years ago, we
would have lost this game - a lot of things would've
happened that would've went against us. For us to
come out this victory in a way like that shows a lot
about this team."
So this year's Wolverines have quickly proven that
they can win any type of ballgame.
Consider lesson number one learned.
Lesson number two is that this team has a long way
to go. Last night's performance was, at times, nasty.
Give some credit to Butler, a Sweet-16 team from last
year that played hard in front of its home fans.
But don't forget to give some credit to the fact that
it's just three games into Michigan's season, and the
Wolverines will be the first to tell you that they are far
from perfect.
"You can learn something from every game," Michi-
gan center Graham Brown said.
"But tonight we have a couple more things that you
can see came out - you're going to learn more stuff in
closer games."
We won't have to wait long to see how much the
Wolverines have taught themselves.
A very good North Carolina State team comes to Ann
Arbor tomorrow.
Then, Michigan has to venture into Vanderbilt to
battle with a much-improved Commodore team Satur-
It's not going to be an easy week to take study breaks.
"We're going to work real hard (today), and just do
the best we can and hope for the best," said Brown of
this week's tough schedule. "We'll prepare ourselves as
much as we can."'
In that preparation, while the Wolverines will tell you
that they can get better in all facets of the game, there
are certainly places where the focus will land.
Michigan's big man trio of Brown, Chris Hunter and
Courtney Sims looked like they had a huge advantage
against a Butler squad with one player over 6-foot-8.
Amaker went so far after the game as to say that he
expected Michigan to impose its will on the Bulldogs
But the Wolverines' three behemoths snagged just
five rebounds combined in the game, one less than
Michigan point guard Daniel Horton.
The Wolverines' were 5-of-l 1 from the free-throw
line in the second half, including three misses from
Robinson and two from wingman Lester Abram, two of
the team's best from the charity stripe.
Horton and fellow guard Dion Harris, the two run-
ning Michigan's offense from the point guard spot,
combined for 10 turnovers.
But ... Michigan won.
When it comes right down to it, at the end of the

game, the scoreboard showed Michigan with one more
point than the host Bulldogs.
And if the Wolverines are truly going to be a threat to
make it to the NCAA Tournament, no lesson that
Michigan will learn the rest of the year will be any
more important than yesterday's: a win is a win is a
Chris Burke can be reached at chrisbur@umich.edu.


Michigan (6)
Hunter 27 2-4 6-7 1-2 1 4 10
Sims 16 3-3 0-0 1-1 0 0 6
Abram 30 2-5 2-4 0-2 4 4 7
Horton 40 4-10 4-4 1-6 2 3 16
Robinson 36 4-11 3-7 0-8 1 2 11
Harris 32 3-7 0-0 1-4 3 3 7
Harrell 1 0-00-00-0000
Petway 17 1-1 0-0 1-5 0 1 2
Brown 21 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 1 2
Mathis 5 0-0 0-0 1-1 1 1 0
Team 2-4
Totals 225 204315-229-351319 61
FG%: .465. FT%: .682. 3-point FG: 6-17,
.353 (Horton 4-7, Abram 1-3, Harris 1-4,
Robinson 0-3). Blocks: 0 Steals: 9 (Harris 3,
Sims 2, Abram, Horton, Robinson, Brown).
Tunovers: 21 (Hortonn6, Harris 4, Robinson
3, Hunter 3, Sims 2, Abram 2, Brown). Tech-
nical fouls: Horton.

FG%: .385. FT%: .733. 3-point FG: 9-33
(Monserez 5-13, Horan 3-9, Sheets 1-4,
Smalligan 0-3, Lightfoot 0-1, Parker 0-1,
Crone 0-1, Brooks 0-1). Blocks: 0. Steals: 6
(Monserez 2, Horan 2, Lightfoot, Crone).
Turovers:16 (Monserez 5, Lightfoot 4,
Sheets 3, Parker 2, Gardner, Brooks). Techni-
cal fouls: none.


20 - 61
29 - 60

At: Conseco FieldhouseIndianapolis, IN
Attendance: 6,148

Michigan State
Penn State
Ohio State

Conference Overall
0 0 4 0
0 0 3 0
0 0 3 0
0 0 3 0
0 0 - -
0 0 3 1
0 0 2 1
0 0 2 1
0 0 2 1
0 0 2 2
0 0 2 2

40 2-5 3.4 4.7 9 4 7
43 7-19 4-4 1-4 3 1 23
12 1-1 1-3 0-1 0 2 3
40 3-9 2-2 0-1 1 2 11
41 3-7 0-0 0-1 3 4 7
7 0-1 00 0-0 00 0
1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
17 3-4 0-0 1-3 0 0 6
19 1-5 1-2 1-4 0 5 3
4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
225 20.5211-159261618 60

the Big Ten Tournament. Otherwise, as a
small school from the Horizon League,
Butler would have likely had to play two
games at Crisler Arena in subsequent years
to get the game scheduled.
"We'll certainly have fond memories of
returning to this great arena here, and that
was one of the reasons we wanted to come
and play," Amaker said. "I'm not sure we
would schedule Butler again in that sce-
nario, but they gave us a fine performance
in terms of their play."
Low POINT?: In Wednesday's game
against High Point, the Wolverines blitzed
the Panthers early and often, jumping out

Continued from Page 1B
Bulldogs held for the last shot, bu
best shot the Bulldogs could get w
fadeaway 3-pointer near the sidelin
Mike Monserez.
Despite their struggles offensi
the Wolverines had the lead for mo
the game as Butler was unable t
nearly anything from behind the
The Bulldogs went 4-of-19 froi
point land in the first half and 4-o
in the second half, as they were ab
pass the ball around the perimet
gain a number of open shots.
But Michigan was unable to cai
ize, as it could not create the quick
kets it had its last few games.
Wolverines also could not get anyt
going inside the paint against an in
or Bulldog frontline. This cat
Amaker to change toward a more
letic lineup as Bernard Robinson
Brent Petway received significant7
utes in the second half after not re
ing them in the first.
"We were hoping that we c
impose our will on them and use
size, but we went the other w
Amaker said. "We felt that we ha
match up with eventually with
perimeter players and their shoote
wasn't a great night for some of
post players to contribute as muc

to a 21-2 lead within the first eight min-
utes and never looking back. Michigan led
the contest 47-19 at the half thanks mostly
to its defensive intensity.
"We weren't prepared for their defensive
pressure," High Point coach Bart Lundy
said "In the first half; they took us out of
everything we wanted to do."
It was more of the same after the break.
High Point hit a three to start the second
half, cutting Michigan's lead to 25, but the
Wolverines' defense proved to be too
much. The Panthers were held scoreless
over a nine-minute span in the half while
the Wolverines coasted to a 84-49 victory.
they normally would."
Horton and fellow guard Dion Harris
were the only Wolverines to pull down
t the more than one rebound in the first half,
vas a and starting forwards Chris Hunter and
ie by Courtney Sims finished with just five
combined field goals.
vely, "It's always tough going against
st of guys with a lower center of gravity,"
o hit Hunter said. "They do a good job of
arc. getting up under you. (The Bulldogs)
n 3- were doing a good job helping, because
)f-11 sometimes our perimeter players didn't
le to want to throw it in there."
er to Michigan now must regroup quickly
before it will face North Carolina State
pital- tomorrow at Crisler Arena in the Big
bas- Ten/ACC Challenge.

Sunday's results:
MINNESOTA 91, Furman 84
Today's games:
Northwestern at Florida State 7 p.m.
Tomorrow's games:
Indiana at Wake Forest 7 p.m.
North Carolina St. at Michigan 7:30 p.m:
Wisc. Green-Bay at Iowa 8:05 p.m.
Illinois at North Carolina 9 p.m.
Wisconsin at Maryland 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday's games:
Georgia Tech at Ohio State 7 p.m.
Cleveland State at Penn State 7:30 p.m.
Clemson at Purdue 7:30 p.m.
Bucknell at Northwestern 8 p.m.
Duke at Michigan State 9 p.m.
Minnesota at Virginia 9 p.m.
Saturday's games:
Arkansas at Illinois 12 p.m.
Oklahoma at Michigan State 12 p.m.
Northwestern at Bowling Green
1 p.m.
Virginia Tech at Ohio State 2 p.m.
Western Illinois at Minnesota 2 p.m.
Penn State at Pittsburgh 4 p.m.
Missouri at Indiana 4 p.m.
Detroit at Wisconsin 8 p.m.
Michigan at Vanderbilt 9 p.m.

ray "
ad to
rs. It
f our
ch as

Michigan 84, High Point 49
Before Wednesday's gamne, coach
TomBy Amaker promised to give the
players a day off on Thanksgiving if
they performed well against the lan-
thers. The team respponded, After an
834-49 rout, the Wolverines were free
to eat their turkey in peace.
High Point was coming off of a strong
showing against the Clemson Tigers
ust two nights before. The Panthers
Ioat 88-81 in that contest.
"I am very impressed by the way our
kids approached this game," Amaker
said. "We wanted to get out of the
blocks and play well, and I think we
did that tonight."


Michigan guard Daniel Horton, left, and center Courtney Sims
chase down Butler guard Avery Sheets. The Wolverines forced
16 turnovers in their overtime win.



GEORGIA TECH 77, No. 1 CONNECTICUT 66: Connecticut
couldn't make it out of the Preseason NIT with its
number one ranking.

On Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets used an up-tempo
style of offense and a hounding defense to hault the
Huskies. Connecticut was held to just 37.9 percent
shooting from the field, going 25-for-66.
Emeka Okafor, the leading vote-getter for B
the preseason All-America team, was
nursing a sore back and was held to just
nine points and 13 rebounds for Con-
necticut (4-1). The junior still managed

upset win.
Kenneth Lowe, the 2003 Big Ten Defensive Play-
er of the Year, sparked the Boilermakers with 22
points and was named the tournament MVP.
Freshman Luel DGeig and sophomore Sheldon
Williams led Duke with 15 points each.
No. 5 MISSoURI 90, OAKLAND 85: The Gold-
en Grizzlies hung tough with the Tigers,
cutting the Missouri lead to just one with
* a less than three minutes left.

1. Connecticut
2. Duke
3. Michigan State
4. Arizona
5. Missouri
6. Kansas
7. Syracuse
8. Florida
9. North Carolina
10. Kentucky
11. Texas


This weekend's results
Beat Utah 76-44
Lost to Purdue 78-68
Beat DePaul 89-81
Lost to No. 8 Florida 78-77
Beat Oakland 90-85
No game
Beat Rhode Island 69-65
Beat No. 4 Arizona 78-77
Beat Cleveland St. 82-76
Beat Tennessee Tech 108-81
Beat Centenary 94-59

Julius Hodge



The Wolfpack storm into Ann
Arbor on Tuesday as part of the
Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Junior

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