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February 20, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-20

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 20, 2004 - 9

Cagers look to build on
trends against Badgers

Yost serves as possible
Falcon 'springboard'

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
In a season that has had its share of trends, the
Michigan men's basketball team hopes it has just
begun some new ones.
The Wolverines were able to accomplish things
they haven't done much of this season in their vic-
tory against Penn State on Wednesday. Those are
going to have to continue if they plan to compete
with No. 12 Wisconsin on Sunday at Crisler Arena.
The Badgers (8-3 Big Ten, 17-5 overall) pulled
away from the Wolverines (5-6, 14-8) in the second
half of the two teams' first meeting in Madison on
Jan. 21, as the Wolverines' offense stalled in the
game's final 10 minutes.
But Michigan's second-half performance on
Wednesday yielded hope that it is ready for its three
upcoming home games over the next week. Instead
of allowing the Nittany Lions to cut into their
seven-point halftime lead, the Wolverines went on a
24-8 run to start the second half and opened a 24-
point lead.
"I think it was the best second half that we've
played in a long time," sophomore Daniel Horton
Two major reasons for the performance were
Michigan's balanced scoring attack and its defen-
sive pressure. Suffering from deep scoring droughts
during many games this season, the Wolverines fea-
tured a balanced attack by not forcing outside shots
and getting the ball inside. But doing the same
against the Badgers is not going to be easy against
experienced post players Mike Wilkerson and Zach

"They have defense that is real good and they
have big men that are very good," freshman Court-
ney Sims said.
Michigan also forced Penn State into 16
turnovers by pressuring guards Marlon Smith and
Ben Luber, creating many opportunities for easy
"We wanted to make sure that we brought the
energy first," senior guard Bernard Robinson said.
"I think we did a good job of forcing the tempo, try-
ing to wear those guys down."
Michigan will try to continue that against a team
that has failed to establish itself on the road. While
Wisconsin is 13-0 at home, it is 3-5 on the road.
The Badgers relinquished the Big Ten lead on
Wednesday night in a 65-57 loss at Illinois. In that
game, Wisconsin had a season-high 17 turnovers.
Wisconsin has been the only team in the conference
to establish itself in the national polls, but Michigan
believes that it can hold service at home.
"Skill-wise, we're there; talent-wise, we're there
- it's just that we need to stay focused that whole
game," Sims said. "I just think (Wisconsin) is a lit-
tle more focused at times, and we just need to stay
focused and not turn the ball over."
After two games in which they coughed up the
ball more than 20 times, the Wolverines had just 11
turnovers against Penn State, and have done a better
job holding onto the ball at home than they have on
the road.
"The goal is to get through the first half of the
game without too many turnovers," Horton said. "If
we take care of the basketball, we know we're going

By Gennaro FMijec
Daily Sports Editor
Last March, Bowling Green capped
off an 8-25-3 (5-20-3 CCHA) campaign
by losing two games at Yost Ice Arena in
the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
Michigan swept the Falcons and went on
to win its sixth conference tournament
in the last ten years. But Bowling Green
gained much more from the series than
just closure to a subpar season that saw
it finish 11th in the CCHA.
After losing the first game of that
weekend, 3-1, the Falcons trailed Michi-
gan 4-1 late in the third period with just
over a minute left. Instead of throwing
in the towel, Bowling Green attacked
the Michigan net, and scored two quick
goals, making the score 4-3 with 13
seconds left. Although the Wolverines
held on for the win, Bowling Green
coach Scott Paluch -who was in his
first season as head man for the Falcons
at the time - believes his team really
benefited from the losing effort.
"That Michigan series last year was
kind of a turning point in the sense that it
was our last game and our season was
over, but we knew that we could establish
an identity and that identity was, 'We're
going to keep going, as long as there's
time on the clock, we're going to keep
playing and coming hard,'" Paluch said.
In his second season behind the
Bowling Green bench, Paluch has led
the Falcons to a modest 9-14-8 mark.
With five games left, Bowling Green's
already exceeded its win and point total
from last year.
"We're a much better all-around team
than we were a year ago," Paluch said.
"We really love the way our team com-
petes, day in and day out, in practice
and into the games."
But the once-proud program still has

a ways to go.
In the '80s, the Falcons won four
CCHA championships and one national
championship (1984). Dawning the
orange and brown as a defenseman
from 1984 to '88, Paluch was a big part
of this success, and earned All-America
honors as a senior team captain.
"We don't like the position that Bowl-
ing Green has been in the last couple
years," Paluch said. "Our goal is to make
improvements and keep moving up."
This season's team is led by its stellar
netminder, Jordan Sigalet. The junior
leads the nation with 924 saves (29.8
per game) and boasts a .914 career save
"(Sigalet) really has been outstanding
all year," Paluch said. "He's got a
tremendous head for the position. He's
big for the young guys as far as show-
ing the way and how hard you have to
work to be successful."
Michigan (16-5-1 CCHA, 21-8-1
overall) holds an all-time record of 61-
30-3 against the Falcons, including a 34-
14 mark at Yost. Paluch thinks his team
needs to concentrate on puck control in
order to be successful this weekend.
"We do skate well, and with Michigan
being the best skating team in our
league, we need to use our speed to have
the puck as much as we can," Paluch
said. "I think if Michigan has the puck
the entire weekend, they're so skilled,
they're going to make a lot of plays."
Tonight is Bowling Green's first trip to
Ann Arbor since last year's playoff loss,
and Paluch knows the valuable opportu-
nities that a series in Yost provides.
"With Michigan playing so well, any
team that can come into Yost and have
some success, it can really go a long
way in a team's progress," Paluch said.
"Having success at Yost is a good way
for a program to springboard."

Freshman Courtney Sims, who went 6-for-6 from the floor
against Penn Sate, will be challenged by Wisconsin.
to score."
With five games remaining, Michigan is probably
going to have to win at least four to have a chance
for an NCAA Tournament bid. After disappointing
losses against Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa, the
room for error has gone away.
"We know what type of team we are capable of
being," Robinson said. "We know what it takes, we
just have to go out there and do it."

Lounis, Ellerton take unusual paths to track

By James V. Dowd
Daily Sports Writer
At times, you find runners in the
funniest places. Looking through the
Michigan men's track and field ros-
ter, you will find former football
players, swimmers, basketball play-
ers and even a cheerleader. Two of
the Wolverines' blossoming stars
formerly could have been found on
the ice of northern Ontario or the
field turf of Birmingham's Seaholm
High School.
Success in track is nothing new
for Michigan sophomore Andrew
Ellerton - an ice hockey player
turned Canadian 800-meter runi
Junior National Champion - and
freshman Sebastien Lounis - a for-
mer soccer player who finished
fourth in the 800-meter run at the
Michigan High School Athletic
Association's Division II state meet.
But their total focus on running
has been a bit of an adjustment,
albeit a worthwhile one.

"I miss playing soccer a lot, but
there is also a benefit which comes
from focusing so much on running,"
Lounis said. "I can see what I am
capable of doing and I have kind of
committed myself to
Lounis was a hard i...s
worker throughout high >
school track. He slowly <: .x
but surely climbed his
way up the state rank-
ings. Ellerton's success'
was more immediate. He >nd<, Th
had run casually as he
grew up, but only began
taking it seriously after
his 12th grade year.
He finished eighth in the Canadi-
an Junior Nationals that year, and
made it his goal to win the following
year. He did, earning a berth in the
World Junior Championships. Such
success made giving up hockey a
"I was never going to go anywhere
in hockey," Ellerton said. "I was

never good enough to go to like a
Michigan or something. I am the
best in high school in Canada at the
(800-meter run), and I am good in
the city for hockey. It was almost a


common sense thing."
After dominating
their respective levels of
pre-collegiate track, the
adjustment to Michigan
was not an easy one for
the pair. Having been
the ones with the targets
glued to their backs for
so long, they were now
back at the bottom of
the pile. At times it was

surpass already established Michi-
gan runners. As a walk-on, it was
difficult for him to immediately gain
the respect of his teammates. Lounis
pointed to a specific workout when
he remembers finally being seen as
bona fide team member.
"I remember a specific day where
we were doing a workout at the Arb,
where it was the first time the guys
acknowledged me and slapped me
high fives," Lounis said. "That
helped my confidence a lot."
Under Warhurst's guidance, both
Lounis and Ellerton have improved
dramatically. Lounis has already
improved his high school time by
more than a second, and Ellerton has
earned an automatic bid to the
NCAA Championships for the 800-
meter run.
Both Lounis and Ellerton are
preparing for this weekend's Harold
Silverston Invitational and the Big
Ten Championships the following
weekend. Both meets will be held at
the Indoor Track Building.

a bit difficult to swallow.
"It was definitely a humbling
experience," Ellerton said. "Where I
was from, I had no competition. The
only race I didn't win was World
Juniors. It was a little bit of a reality
Lounis was frustrated during the
first month of his career, unable to
reach his own potential, let alone

Sophomore Brandon Kaleniecki fights for position against Bowling Green last season.

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