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March 24, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-24

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Wednesday
March 24,2004
sports.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPORTS

9

Clutch shots
have Cagers
saying aloha
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Editor
There was just over three minutes left in Mon-
day's game and Oklahoma had taken control. The
Wolverines' nine-point lead was whittled down to
two, and Michigan coach Tommy Amaker needed
a timeout to talk to his players.
"I told them right away that I thought that we were
doing some really good things," Amaker said. "I did-

'M'fans: Show up at
The Fish or shut up

n't want them to get rat-
tled obviously at that
moment."
The Wolverines took
the confidence boost to
heart.
They made big shots
after the timeout, and
earned a trip to the quar-
terfinals of the NIT with
an 11-point win.

T0N~GUT
Ha~i at
Mkh~an.
time: 9p~m.
Oi~ler A~naw
ESPNZ

Tonight, Michigan (20-11 overall, 8-8 Big Ten)
will stride into Crisler Arena for a contest with
Hawaii (21-11 overall, 11-7 WAC).
Free throws were the key to Michigan's late push
against the Sooners. The team made its last 14 shots
from the charity stripe -10 of which came in the last
three minutes - to secure the victory.
Guard Daniel Horton said that the Wolverines
discussed missed free throws at halftime, after
they hit just 6-of-12 in the first half. Michigan got
rolling after the break, especially in the last few
minutes, when it needed to most.
"Basketball, I believe, is played in a contagious
way," Amaker said. "I think (our players) get con-
fidence when they see guys go before them and
knock them down."
The Wolverines have struggled at the line this
season, finishing seventh in the Big Ten at 69.7
percent. They also had trouble getting fouled to
begin with.
Back in January, Michigan made a horrid 32
percent of its foul shots in a win over Fairfield.
The Wolverines took just three free throws in a

TONY DING/Daily
Sophomore Daniel Horton scored four points in the final minutes against Oklahoma to help Michigan reach the
quarterfinals of the NIT.

home loss to Indiana a week later.
But on Monday, sophomore Chris Hunter and
freshman Dion Harris both stepped up and made
four free throws in the final minutes. Forward Brent
Petway added two more in his late trip to the line.
"We work on it religiously," said Amaker of the
foul shots. "It certainly paid dividends (against
Oklahoma)."
Horton also played big late in the game, driving
the lane against Oklahoma's zone defense to create
offense. He dropped a pair of runners in the paint
during the last two-plus minutes.
"I think I was being a little too passive against
their zone," Horton said. "(Late in the game), I
tried to penetrate, look for guys, and if they didn't
step up and take it, I had the little jumper."

Hawaii, which finished fifth in the WAC this
season, almost didn't make it to the quarterfinals.
The Rainbow Warriors let a 17-point lead evapo-
rate in the second half against Nebraska on Mon-
day. But they rallied to win by one at home.
Senior Michael Kuebler, a 6-foot-5 junior college
transfer, leads Hawaii with 18 points per game.
The Rainbow Warriors knocked off Utah State,
a team many people felt should have made it to the
Big Dance, to open the NIT.
Michigan sophomore Lester Abram, who has
missed the last three games with a shoulder injury,
is day-to-day. He'll probably dress tonight, as he
did Monday, but he may not play.
"We're fortunate to get the home game," Amak-
er said. "We seem to be fairly confident here."

JIM WEBER
The Realest
'm calling you out: If you're a true
Michigan fan, you'll be at The Fish
at 3 p.m. Friday for Michigan base-
ball's Opening Day.
So in other words, I'm not expecting
a much bigger turnout than last year's
attendance of 354.
Exactly how many students are actu-
ally loyal Michigan fans?
Yeah, you rocked the Big House for
the Ohio State game. That's expected -
it's the greatest rivalry in college sports.
And I doubt you would have turned in
that kind of performance if we hadn't
mocked you week after week with the
Hype-meter.
And yes, the Maize Rage has made
the last two NIT games feel like the
Final Four. Why was it difficult to fill
the bleachers during the regular season
against Indiana with hopes of an
NCAA bid? So the Ragers traveled to
Penn State this season and Northwest-
ern last year. The number of Maize
Ragers at the Big Ten Tournament was
slim to none. Awful big of you to travel
to the homes of Big Ten bottom feeders
and taunt their downtrodden fans. The
Michigan fan making the most noise at
Conseco Fieldhouse was a player's
mom, who made everyone miserable
throughout the Illinois game by
screaming "Dee Brown's loose -get
him!"
Now that's a super fan. Someone give
her that cape and mask.
Yost faithful: Where were most of
you two Sundays ago for the decisive
Game 3 against Nebraska-Omaha in the
CCHA first round? Sorry it wasn't con-
venient for you guys to spend your Sun-
day night supporting a team that could
have been facing its last game of the
season.
And then there's the baseballteam,-
it doesn't even have student fans. No
popcorning in the stands, no "Ohhhh,
see ya!" There's'an inside joke among
sports staffers that the Athletic Depart-
ment uses a random number generator
to produce attendance figures.
I can't speak for the hot girl that sits
by herself every game or Crazy Horse
(Michigan baseball's middle-aged
Super Fan), but I think it's pathetic. It's
not like you're being asked to attend a
regatta. I can't even begin to imagine
student attendance once the new base-
ball stadium is built next to the Varsity
Tennis Center.
What makes low attendance even
more inexcusable is that everyone
enjoys Opening Day. Even if you don't
watch the game, it's an opportunity to

chill with friends outdoors - when's
the last time you got to do that?
After a month of playing baseball on
the road, the team deserves a warm wel-
come home. In honor of all the games
its already played away from The Fish,
here are 14 reasons why the baseball
team and The Fish are two of the best
parts of Michigan athletics:
14) The athletic department dubbing
this weekend's dual series against
Detroit and Oakland as the "Michigan
Classic," framing creampuffs as histori-
cal intrastate rivals.
13) Unlike last week, March Mad-
ness doesn't start until 7 p.m.
12) Nicknames like "Long-ball Lol-
lio" (former outfielder Gino Lollio) for
a guy that hit 16 career home runs.
11) Tradition. The baseball program
has been around longer than football at
Michigan and won more national titles
than basketball.
10) Watching an opponent crush a
pitch, turning to your buddy "Major
League"-style and telling him "it's too
high," then watching it careen off the
Indoor Track and Field Building.
9) Five-foot-six Matt Butler walking
to the plate to the Rocky theme song.
8) The aforementioned hot chick I
vow to meet before graduation.
7) Sports Information Director Jim
Schneider assigning hits instead of
errors on plays a tee baller should make.
6) Wondering if your car windows
are still intact after each foul ball.
5) Brandon Roberts coming to the
dugout during a 2002 game in the mid-
dle of the seventh inning screaming
about being disrespected at home after
Oakland extended its lead to 14-2 on an
RBI bunt - then watching Oakland go
on to win 17-3.
4) It's Daily style to call it "The Fish"
'instead of "Ray Fisher Stadium."
3) Schneider pulling double duty as
stadium DJ, playing a variety of '80s
hits and country music. I always picture
Schneids in the press box lip-syncing
like the Zamboni driver from Happy
Gilmore.
2) It's free for students.
1) Second-year coach Rich Mal-
oney, who increased the team's win
total by nine games in his first cam-
paign. Unlike most coaches around
here, Maloney tells it how it is. One of
Maloney's keys to turning around the
program after he was hired two years
ago?
"Right now, we need to get some bet-
ter players in there."
I would give anything to have seen
the face of Associate Athletic Director
Megan McCallister at that exact
moment.
Three p.m. Friday at The Fish. Me,
the hot chick and Crazy Horse will see
you there?

Rogers will feel right at home at Regional

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer

While the 798-mile trek to New
eHampshire may seem like a long way to
go for, at most, two hockey games, there
is at least one player on the Michigan
hockey team who won't mind the voy-
ge at all.
Junior defenseman and alternate cap-
tain Brandon Rogers is a native of
Rochester, N.H. - a small town about
45 minutes north of Manchester, where
the Wolverines will play their first game
in the NCAA Tournament. The game

will provide a rare opportunity for his
family members, most of whom live in
New Hampshire or Vermont, to see him
play in person.
"It's going to be an event - that's for
sure," Rogers said. "I've already talked
with my family about how many people
are going to be going to the game. It's a
big deal for them and a lot of my
friends."
Seeing familiar faces in the stands is
not the only thing that will bring back
memories for Rogers when he takes the
ice Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines'

opponent is New Hampshire, a team
that Rogers followed in his childhood
days.
"That was the team that was right
down the road, that I could go to with
my family," Rogers said. "So I kept tabs
on them,"'
Rogers was quick to point out that,
while he may have been a Wildcats fan
growing up, he always knew that he
wanted to suit up for Michigan. He had
seen the Wolverines play several games
on television and was also aware of the
storied success that the program was
having under coach Red Berenson.
"With those two combined things,
and knowing that I could get a great
education, (coming to Michigan) was a
no-brainer," Rogers said.
Rogers is similar in several ways to
his Michigan teammates. Like nearly
one-third of the team, Rogers has had at
least one relative who has participated in
athletics at the collegiate level or higher
- in his case, his sister Molly, who
played lacrosse at Merrimack. Nearly all
the Wolverines have also been exposed
to hockey for most of their lives, and
Rogers is no exception.
"When I was a small kid, my dad
started making a rink out in our back-
yard, and I spent all day out there,"
Rogers said. "My parents would make
me come inside (at the end of the day)."
But one thing that separates Rogers

from most of the team is his playing
experience prior to coming to Michigan.
Rogers is one of just three players on the
team to come to Ann Arbor directly
from a preparatory school.
For Rogers, the institution was The
Hotchkiss School - a boarding school
of about 550 students in northwest Con-
necticut. The school, which is known for
its academic excellence, is not an athlet-
ic powerhouse. Rogers noted that when
he graduated, he was the only player on
his team to go to a Division I hockey
program, and he estimates that only a
few players each year he was there had a
shot at making it on a collegiate roster.
Rogers also said that, because of this,
his adjustment when he got to Michigan
was somewhat more difficult than that
of the normal college hockey newcomer.
"When you're playing in the USHL
(United States Hockey League), or some
of the junior leagues, the talent is better,"
Rogers said. "There's more depth in the
teams and there's more good players.
Sometimes the players are older and
more experienced."
Despite his disadvantage coming in,
Rogers has made the most of his time in
Ann Arbor. He's been a mainstay on
Michigan's first powerplay unit and has
played well enough this season to earn
second-team All-CCHA honors from
the media. He is tied for first in points
among Michigan defenders, with 23.

Jim Weber can be reached at
jamesmw@umich.edu

-0 0-

The Kichi n Dai
DSSIFIEDCRvM e

".._

^' +"_.

FILE PHOTO
Michigan defenseman Brandon Rogers is a native of Rochester, N.H.
The U of M Synchronized Swimming Team
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2004
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