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March 31, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-31

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Wednesday
March 31, 2004
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

SPORTS

9

Garden Pa

Once again,
guards excel
in New York
By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Editor
NEW YORK - Michigan's backcourt
must really like Madison Square Garden.
In the Wolverines' 66-43 win over Fair-
field on Jan. 3, all four of Michigan's
perimeter players finished the game in
double figures, combining for all but six
of the team's total points. The game was
played at Madison Square Garden, a neu-
tral site.
Yesterday, in Michigan's 78-53 win over
Oregon, the entire Wolverine backcourt
narrowly missed finishing in double fig-
ures again. Lester Abram was the only one
to fall short, finishing with nine.
The Wolverines were led by sophomore
guard Daniel Horton, who has been playing
his best basketball of the season as of late.
Horton scored 15 - which is also his aver-
age over Michigan's last six games - on 5-
for-11 from the field. Horton missed just
one of his five shots in the first half.
In addition, Michigan benefited from
hot shooting by its backcourt players:*
Lester Abram, Dion Harris and Bernard
Robinson. Abram finished the contest
connecting on 4-for-6 from the floor,
while Harris and Robinson finished with
14 and 13 points, respectively, both hitting
on 5-of-10 field goals.
Horton attributed the team's shooting
success to everyone working the ball
around to find the best shots.
"I think the ball movement was great,"
Horton said.
"We've been playing really unselfish,
and guys have been getting open looks ...
Of late, we've been knocking down our
open looks."
The sophomore was also quick to point
out that unselfishness spreads exponential-
ly amongst teammates.
"I think once one or two guys (works the

One-man show vs. team
attack: The choice is easy

N EW YORK -
Call it the
one-man show
versus the team
game.
That's what the
Michigan vs. Oregon
NIT semifinal came DAN ROSEN
down to at Madison
Square Garden last Days of Thunder
night: Luke Jackson
against the Wolverines. And in a match-up
like that, I'll take the balanced attack any-
time.
Sure, Jackson was the game's leading
scorer, with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
But Michigan made him the only Oregon
weapon thanks to some of the best pressure
defense it has played all year. When the
Ducks couldn't get the ball into the hands of
their star player, they looked like a flock
without direction - standing around, hop-
ing someone else would step up and guide
the pack.
And with the way the Wolverines were
draped all over Jackson for most of the night,
that seemed to happen a lot.
"Guys have been doing stuff to me all
year long; taking me out, rotating three or
four different guys on me," Jackson said
after the game. "That's something that I'm
used to."
I counted five different Wolverines that
took a turn camping out in Jackson's back
pocket. They put everyone from 6-foot-4
Dion Harris to 6-foot-l1 Chris Hunter on
the Oregon star to keep his game out of
sync.
As much as the Naismith Player of the
Year Award finalist says that he's used to
that type of swarming defense, the Ducks
certainly looked flustered without their star
dominating the game.
Most importantly, Michigan kept Jackson
from creating offense for his teammates. By
night's end, the Wolverines had forced him to
commit six turnovers; many on errant passes
to other Ducks. Jackson had just.two assists,

less than half of his team-leading season
average of 4.6.
As a result, just one other Oregon player
scored in double figures - Ian Crosswhite,
who had 12.
At halftime, just four Ducks had managed
to make the scorer's sheet, and Jackson had
13 of the team's 32 points.
"It's one of the first times this year that we
played hard (on defense) the whole 40 min-
utes," forward Brent Petway said.
On its own offensive end, Michigan was
the opposite of the Ducks. Four players
scored in double figures for the Wolverines,
and two others had nine points. The Wolver-
ines baffled Oregon with their accuracy
from the perimeter (47 percent from 3-point
land), and then burned them on the inside
when the Ducks swarmed out on Michigan's
guards.
"Their big men surprised me, with some of
the moves that they did," Oregon guard
Aaron Brooks said. "And with Horton, Har-
ris, and Abram off the bench, they have a
nice core of guards."
It doesn't hurt when you shoot 53 percent
from the field. But a lot of that is a result of
how well Michigan moved the ball to get
open looks. Last night, the Wolverines were
passing as crisply and effectively on offense
as they have all year - dishing out 18 assists
on 29 made field goals.
Tomorrow's championship game poses a
similar type of challenge for the Wolverines
on defense, since they're up against another
one-man attack. Rutgers lives and dies by
guard Quincy Douby, who torched Iowa
State for 35 points in his team's overtime
win last night.
If Michigan plays the same type of team
game on both ends of the floor, though, that
type of individual output may not make a
difference.
Just ask Luke Jackson.
Dan Rosen can be reached at
danielsr@umich.edu

RYAN WEINER/Daily
The Michigan bench celebrates a 3-pointer during the second half of the Wolverines' 78-53 victory
over Oregon in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

ball for an assist), it gets contagious," Hor-
ton said.
"If they make an extra pass and someone
knocks down a jumper, it makes everybody
confident."
Abram said that one of Michigan's plans
was to use its offensive game to tire out
the high-energy Ducks. The Wolverines
hoped that making extra passes on the
perimeter would force Oregon to run
around more on defense and expend more
energy.
That strategy appears to have worked, as
the Ducks managed just 53 points last
night, 22 below their season average of 75
points per contest.
"We just felt like we needed to make
them chase us on defense," said Abram,

who is still less than 100 percent healthy,
playing in his second game since returning
from a shoulder injury. "(With) a good
offensive team, you can get them kind of
tired if you make them play defense, too.
Our goal was to move the ball around,
penetrate and try and stir it up a little bit
before we took our shot."
Moving the ball around well also led to
one of Michigan's best team marks of the
season in assist-to-turnover ratio. The
Wolverines dished out 18 assists and gave
the ball away just 11 times.
Horton alone accounted for half of
Michigan's assists - tying a career high of
nine - while turning the ball over just
once. He also tied another career high with
six rebounds.

I

Wolverines adjust, hit
boards in second half

0 SOFTBALL
Michigan gets dose
of Schock treatment

By Chdis Buke
Daily Sports Editor
NEW YORK - There were few nega-
tives for Michigan in its 78-53 trouncing
of Oregon last night, but the Wolverines
did express concern over their inability
to keep the Ducks off the offensive glass
- especially in the first half.
Using a rotation of four big,
physical forwards, the Ducks
grabbed 12 offensive rebounds
in the game, including nine in
the first half
"I think in the first half we

OQ

weren't satisfied (with the we way played
inside)," Michigan center Chris Hunter
said. "I thought we came out in the sec-
ond half and did a better job. They were
getting too many offensive rebounds in
the first half- they were just pushing us
around."
Michigan was able to counter Ore-
gon's inside game after the break, as the
Wolverines grabbed eight offensive
rebounds in the second half, giving them
13 for the game. The Wolverines' big
men - Hunter, sophomore Graham
Brown and freshmen Courtney Sims and
Brent Petway - combined for 27 points
and 14 boards.

"We were just trying to do whatever
we could," Brown said. "They have a
bunch of guys that they can rotate in and
out, and we were trying to play defense
and keep them off the glass."
LEARNING TO SHARE: The Wolverines'
offense was at its best in last night's
game, and much of that can be attributed
to the impressive assist-to-
turnover ratio of 18-to-11 that
Michigan posted.
On the contrary, Michigan's
aggressive defense forced Ore-
gon into 16 turnovers compared
to just eight assists. Oregon for-
ward Luke Jackson, the recipient of
much of Michigan's defensive attention,
coughed the ball up six times on the
evening.
For Michigan, guard Daniel Horton
played, without question, one of his most
complete games of the season. The soph-
omore complemented his 15 points and
six rebounds with a whopping nine
dimes, and just one turnover.
Whether he'd admit it or not, what
made the stellar evening even sweeter for
Horton is the fact that his performance
came against Oregon coach Ernie Kent,
who cut Horton from the U.S. World
Junior Championship team over the

By Janie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

The No. II Michigan softball team
has struggled offensively in the bottom
half of its order of late. In Michigan's
win against St. Louis on March 20, bat-
ters five through nine only managed
two hits out of 11 at-bats. After last
weekend, though, it became clear that
all the Wolverines needed was some
kind of 'shock' to get them out of their
slump. Enter senior Monica Schock.
"We need Monica Schock to hit the
way she is capable for us to have a
chance to get after that Big Ten
(championship)," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said.
Michigan's starting catcher had a
field day in a doubleheader against
Valparaiso on Sunday, hitting out of
the seventh spot. She hit 1-for-2 in

game one and 2-for-3 in game two.
Schock also tallied a season-high
three RBIs in Michigan's 7-0 win in
game two.
Though Schock's hitting perform-
ance in the first game was nothing to
be ashamed of, Hutchins told Schock
she needed to step it up in the second
contest.
"In the first game, Coach said I had
a lazy swing," Schock said. "I've tried
to work on some things. So in the sec-
ond game, I was just more aggressive
and took my cuts."
In practice, Schock said that she has
been working on getting out in front
of pitches instead of waiting for the
ball to get in on her hands.
"Before the (second) game, I told
(Schock), 'It's time. Get up there, and
get mean,' " Hutchins said. "And she
See SOFTBALL, Page 10

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Michigan sophomore Chris Hunter had 10 points and four rebounds against Oregon.

summer.
"He knows I can play," Horton said.
"The conversation we had after he cut
me wasn't any ill feelings toward each
other - I just wasn't the type of player
that fit well in his system. He knows I'm
a good player."
NOTES: While most of last night's
crowd of 12,630 was composed of Rut-
gers' fans, th6 Michigan faithful also
made their voices heard, with somewhere
between 1,500 and 2,000 Michigan fans

in attendance ... The fan favorites last
night? The Oregon cheerleaders, who
were treated to several standing ovations
from the Garden crowd ... Michigan's
win last night makes the Wolverines 3-0
all-time against Oregon, with the last win
coming in 1971 ... Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker finally responded to his
fashion critics last night, ditching the
Michigan golf shirt he has worn all year
in favor of the mock turtleneck he sport-
ed in his first two years in Ann Arbor.

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