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March 04, 2004 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-04

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.

Thursday
March 4, 2004
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

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Tourney hopes likely
dashed in loss to Indiana

IT?
Blue fails to capitalize on
numerous Hoosier errors

By Daniel Bremmer
Baily Sports Editor
#BLOOMINGTON - Michigan's
read woes have been the story of its
ceason. And in a must-win game last
night in Bloomington, the plot was
no different.
'The Wolverines struggled to capi-
t*Iize on oppor-
tunities late in " cH GAN 56
tie game enN A
rmute to a 61-56
loss to Indiana at Assembly Hall.
The defeat dropped Michigan (7-8
Big Ten, 16-10 overall) to just 1-6
on the road this season in confer-
ence play and all but ensured that
Michigan will not earn an at-large
bid come Selection Sunday.
The Wolverines will, most likely,
need to win the Big Ten Tournament
next week in Indianapolis to receive
a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
"It's real tough," Michigan fresh-
man Courtney Sims said. "We
planned to win these two road
games."
Michigan had its chances down
the stretch, but failed to capitalize.
With just over a minute left and the
Wolverines down 58-56, senior
Bgernard Robinson stepped on the
baseline while driving to the basket
and turned the ball over to Indiana.
On the ensuing possession, Indi-
ana guard Marshall Strickland
missed a jumper, but he and Hoosier
guard Bracey Wright out-battled
several Wolverines in the paint. The
loose ball was knocked back to Indi-
ana's Donald Perry near midcourt,
and Michigan immediately had to
foul.
Perry hit one of two free throws to
put Indiana up by three. Michigan

then had two chances in the final 30
seconds to tie the game, but sopho-
more Daniel Horton and senior
Bernard Robinson both missed des-
peration 3-pointers in the final
minute.
"It felt good when it left my hand,
but it just didn't go down," Horton
said of his attempt to tie the game in
the final minute.
"I thought it was going in, but it
hit the back of the rim."
Robinson struggled all night for
Michigan, hitting on just 1-for-9
from the floor for two points, nearly
11 below his season average. Robin-
son's numbers were down all across
the board, as he grabbed a mere
three rebounds, dished out one
assist and had no steals.
"It was one of those nights where
you're just off," Robinson said. "I
didn't necessarily want to stop
shooting - if I had a shot I was
going to take it. (I tried to) play my
same game."
Sims and guard Lester Abram led
the Wolverines with 13 points and
seven rebounds apiece. Horton con-
nected on 4-for-7 from behind the
arc for his 12 points, but was score-
less in the game's last 15 minutes.
Abram scored just two points in
the second half after accumulating
11 in the first stanza.
Michigan allowed Indiana (7-8,
13-13) to shoot 8-for-15 from 3-
point range. And the Wolverines
committed several ill-timed, non-
shooting fouls in the game's final
few minutes, allowing the Hoosiers
extended time at the charity stripe.
"We put them on the line late,
with the shot clock running down,"
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
See HOOSIERS, Page 12A

DAN ROSEN
Days Of Thunder
B LOOMINGTON - As I left
the court at Assembly Hall
last night, I overheard a
relieved Indiana fan venting some of
the frustration that had been build-
ing during his team's recent skid.
"Well, they tried to give that one
away, too," he said of his Hoosiers.
Indiana had lost four straight at
home and seven of its last eight
games overall before Michigan'
came to town. Five of those defeats
came by less than five points. As
Indiana coach Mike Davis said on
Monday, his team just wasn't exe-
cuting down the stretch.
And they weren't exactly clutch
last night.
The Hoosiers gave the Wolver-
ines multiple opportunities to win
a road game, staying true to their
recent trend.
The only problem was that Michi-
gan wasn't sharp enough to snatch
up the victory - one that it needed
a lot more than Indiana.
"It was a great time to beat a
team like this," senior Bernard.
Robinson said. "We let one go."
Holding the ball and a two-point
lead with 1:39 remaining, the
Hoosiers had a good chance to give
themselves some breathing room.
But 6-foot-I 1 senior George Leach
had it slapped out of his hands in

the post.
At the end of an ensuing timeout,
the center ran back on defense,
even though his team had the ball
- a clear sign that he wasn't exact-
ly dialed in late.
Indiana again allowed Michigan
to stay in contention at the end
when guards Donald Perry and
Bracey Wright missed three of four
free throws in the final minute.
Wright, who was eighth in the
Big Ten from the line at 79.5 per-
cent going into last night, missed
both of his shots with 13 ticks on
the clock.
So, within one possession, Michi-
gan had two chances - 3-point
attempts by Daniel Horton and
Bernard Robinson - to tie the
game.
Neither of those shots went down.
But a major problem was that
Michigan might have been able to
secure a victory before it came to
that. The Wolverines had Indiana
over the foul limit down the stretch,
meaning that they would get to the
charity stripe every time they were
fouled.
And Indiana hacked the Wolver-
ines repeatedly. But Michigan did-
n't hit the shots, making just five
of nine free throws in the final six
minutes.
On a night when Michigan
turned the ball over just seven
times, the few mistakes the
Wolverines made were critical.
With the Wolverines down two
points and 1:05 remaining, Robin-
son, who had an uncharacteristical-
ly off night, stepped on the baseline
on a drive to the hoop.
On the next possession, Indiana's
See ROSEN, Page 12A

AP PHOTO
Indiana center George Leach takes it inside against Michigan center Courtney
Sims. Leach was a major factor Inside, blocking seven shots.

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