February 12, 2004
Big Ton Standings
*Badrs coke t Nrthwestem,.
. 2. 1nois 7-3
" Best team in Big Ten? Illini have
four straight Big Ten wins and blew
out Michigan State on Tuesday.
3. hg anSt. 7-3
4. Indiana 6-4
J Note to Davis: Don't bench Ewing
Jr He may follow in dad's footsteps
just not into the strip clubs.
Cagers are close to being
knocked out of contention
6. Iowa 5-5"
. Alford has team overachieving
despite losing Sonderleiter.
7- lorthwestelrn S55
i kll *(C, had, Duvanci4?
Tr ilton: We pset Wiscnsirn
8. Michigan 4-5
. Blue got Monson-ed.
" in earler atonMirhigan 35,
S10. Penn State 3-6
" Might as well just blame Joe Pa
g for this too.
Michigan senior Bernard Robinson displays his disappointment after an 81-78 loss to Minnesota last night.
Goin' to Work
MINNEAPOLIS - When it
was over, when the Min-
nesota players were
singing their fight song with the crowd
for the first time this conference sea-
son, you could just see it in the Michi-
gan players' eyes.
Every player resembled a boxer who
had just gone one too many rounds.
For most of this game, amidst all of
the turnovers and missed shots, the
Wolverines were in control. Up 14 in
the first half, and by 11 at halftime.
Still up seven with less than 12 min-
utes to go.
Then Minnesota unleashed a bar-
rage of punches that left Michigan
reeling. Four straight possessions, four
AP PHOTO straight 3-pointers.
The seven-point lead vanished in a
matter of seconds, and when the dust
" settled, 10 minutes later, Michigan had
jln suffered a loss that all but knocked out
its Big Ten title hopes, and may have
done the same to its NCAA Tourna-
ther an ment dreams.
e Gold- After nine Big Ten games, the
;an for- Wolverines find themselves on the
d up his ropes ... and so far, they haven't done
,ning in a very good job of fighting back.
to fall "I think we lost a little confidence
here," Michigan forward Graham
kmaker Brown said.
d a real- All season long, this team has been
ertainly up-and-down, and everybody has
n't help. assumed (or is it hoped?) that the real
ade the Michigan team was the one that
iked to showed up when everything was going
'age 12 But, too often in this season,
things have gone wrong. Against
Indiana, Michigan failed to show up
in the first half. At Michigan State,
Wisconsin, Illinois and now Min-
nesota, it's been the second half
that's undone the Wolverines.
Time and time again, this Michi-
gan team has had the glorious oppor-
tunity to position itself among the
Big Ten's elite.
Time and time again, that opportuni-
ty has slipped away like so many
turnovers did last night.
After thedGophers' victory, the
thought shared by players, coaches and
fans alike in Williams Arena was that
maybe Minnesota isn't that bad.
Lurking in the shadows, though, is
the possibility that maybe Michigan
isn't that good - 4-5 in the Big Ten
would seem to hint at that fact.
The Wolverines had every opportu-
nity in the world to beat Minnesota last
night. In the first half, Minnesota
looked like it might not have gotten
through an intramural tournament, let
alone win a Big Ten conference game.
In that half, the Gophers turned it
over 12 times, shot 9-for- 17 from the
free-throw line and looked absolutely
lost when Michigan didn't turn the ball
over. When the Wolverines kept center
Jeff Hagen and forward Kris
Humphries from getting good looks,
the rest of the Gophers looked like -
well - players on a team without a
The problem, of course, is that
Michigan didn't take full advantage.
Instead of opening up a 20 or 25-point
halftime lead like they could have, the
Wolverines themselves coughed it up
13 times in the first stanza, 19 times in
all. When Minnesota turned up the
defensive pressure, Michigan respond-
ed by taking wild shots or, worse yet,
And, eventually, the underdog began
"They were a lot more aggressive
See BURKE, Page 12
11 ?4Innsota I9
_Ten in HumpBoes (22f3 ppg).rs' i en w
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor
MINNEAPOLIS - Following a
pattern that has become all-too-
familiar, the Michigan basketball
team put itself in MNNE__TAs__
perfect position M__HGAN_ 78_
to pick up a rare
Big Ten road win, only to fall apart
in the second half.
Despite leading by 11 at halftime,
the Wolverines (4-5 Big Ten, 13-7
overall) suffered a huge blow to their
NCAA Tournament hopes, becoming
the first conference victim of Min-
nesota (1-9 Big Ten, 9-13 overall),
"It's no question that (Minnesota is
better than its record)," Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker said. "Being
at home, they've been very tough
here - we knew this would be an
emotional evening for their club."
Michigan was able to wea
early second-half surge by th
en Gophers. But after Michig
ward Bernard Robinson picke
fourth foul with 11:25 remai
the game, the wheels started
off the Wolverines' wagon.
"That certainly hurt us," A
said. "I thought (Bernard) playe
ly good basketball game, but c
not having him on the floor didn
You wonder if that would've m
difference, but we would've li
have taken our chances with him
See GOPHERS, P
i _ _ , ..-hH.
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