The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 29, 2004 - 5B
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
"It's real tough. I'm not used
- Injured Michigan junior Lester
Abram on not being able to play
in the Preseason NIT Tournament.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Sophomore guard Brewington
matched his career high with 23
points against Michigan on Friday.
In just 13 minutes on the floor, Hunt-
er contributed eight points and four
rebounds, as well as a spark off the
Playing teams close
wont cut it this year
championship was the fact that they might
have been one win away from earning an
at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
One win. It could have been at home
against Indiana or at Minnesota. Maybe
even Boston University at home in
December. But it didn't happen. The Big
SHARAD MATTU Ten, which usually sends five or six teams
to the Tournament, sent just three.
Mattu fast, Mattu furious But last year, Michigan's absence from
the NCAA tournament, while disappoint-
W YORK - When asked what ing, was excusable. It had just one upper-
he had learned about his team classman, Bernard Robinson, and three
following Michigan's one-point freshmen. For one reason or another, the
loss in overtime to Arizona, head coach Wolverines weren't quite ready.
Tommy Amaker said he was pleased with But then they won the NIT title, and
the toughness it showed, especially with- the stage was set for a season of high
out Lester Abram. expectations.
Then he was asked if, down the road,
he would be able to look back at this In New York, Michigan looked like the
game and be happy. Initially he said he same team it has always been. The solid
wasn't sure, but then he admitted that the defense was there, but the Wolverines
answer was no. were practically searching for ways to lose
And Amaker is absolutely right. With on offense. They struggled against the
their losses to Arizona and then Provi- zone defense, carelessly turning the ball
dence two days later, the Wolverines blew over and settling for jump shot after jump
a chance to establish themselves on the shot. And they struggled at the foul line,
national stage. Both games could have, converting on just half of their attempts in
maybe should have, gone their way. Fortu- the two games (18-for-36).
nately, Amaker realizes that coming close It is early in the season, and this team
against good teams this year just won't be will undoubtedly look a lot different in
good enough. February. At this stage in the football
season, Michigan looked as if it would be
In the movie "Traffic," Michael heading to the Alamo Bowl.
Douglas's character, a judge appointed to But I expected to see a different team
head the fight against the nation's drug than the one I saw at Madison Square
war, is given the following advice, relating Garden. I thought Michigan had come a
to Nikita Khruschev's rule in the Soviet long way since last March and would look
Union: even better than the team that won the
"You know, when they forced Khrus- NIT - that just isn't the case.
chev out, he sat down and wrote two let- But if last year was a disappointment,
ters to his successor. He said: 'When you there were people to point at and reason-
get yourself into a situation you can't get able explanations that could be made.
out of, open the first letter, and you'll be Last season, Michigan finally put the past
safe. When you get yourself into another behind it and legitimately earned a banner
situation you can't get out of, open the that could be raised to the Crisler Arena
second letter.' rafters.
"Soon enough, he gets into a tight situ- This year, the Wolverines are still
ation, and he opens the first letter. It says, going to the NCAA Tournament. They're
'Blame it all on me.' So he blames it all on talented and will improve. But maybe
the old guy, and it worked like a charm. those dreams of cracking the Top-25 and
When he got himself into a second situa- making the Sweet 16 were a little prema-
tion, he opened the second letter. It said, ture. And this year, there won't be any
'Sit down, and write two letters.'" excuses.
The point is the Wolverines did all the
learning they needed, and more, last year. Sharad Mattu can be reached at
Lost in the joy of their postseason NIT email@example.com.
N IT' "Especially in the first half, we got a lot
of shots that we wanted," Horton said. "We
Continued from page 1B just weren't able to knock them down."
Gomes, holding the forward to 11 points On Wednesday, Michigan was just a
on 4-of-9 shooting. point away from avoiding the consolation
"If you had told me before the game game altogether. The Wolverines jumped
that Ryan Gomes would score 11 points, out to an early 21-11 lead over Arizona,
we would have been fairly happy and but the Wildcats clawed back to set up a
pleased," Amaker said. "But it shows back-and-forth second half which includ-
you the kind of player (Gomes) is - he's ed 12 lead changes.
unselfish. It was a better afternoon for With Arizona hanging onto a 55-53
some of his teammates, and he played lead, Harris's layup sent the Wolverines to
right to those guys." overtime. Michigan had a chance for the
Michigan's strong defensive effort victory in the extra session, but Horton's
against Gomes was offset by its lack of running underhand layup didn't fall, and
productivity in the backcourt. With junior the Wildcats came away with the victory.
Lester Abram sitting out with a shoulder "I'm sure it wasn't a very pretty game
injury, Horton shot just 4-of-I5 from the at times," Amaker said. "But both teams
floor, and Coleman connected on just one were really doing everything they could
of his 11 shots. Even sophomore Dion to come up with a victory. Sometimes it's
Harris, who led Michigan with 17 points, tough when you have a game like that and
wasn't sharp - he made just one of five the team has to come up on the short end
3-pointers. of the scoreboard."
Wake claims Prese
NEW YORK (AP) - Justin Gray scored 21 points for 1:26 left on a 3-po
the second straight game, and No. 1 Wake Forest beat Gray missed the
No. 18 Arizona 63-60 on Friday night in the champion- left. Arizona had o
ship game of the Preseason NIT. Shakur dribbled the
The Demon Deacons ended an 11-game winning his move with seve
streak at Madison Square Garden for Arizona coach Lute eight feet was shor
Olson. The Hall of Famer's run started in 1973, when he Eric Williams m
was coaching at Long Beach State. with 1.2 seconds l
Gray, overshadowed in his own backcourt by sopho- when Adams' turn
more sensation Chris Paul, was the only player who bounced off the ri
scored for the Demon Deacons (5-0) during the first 10 The loss ended
minutes of the second half. the Preseason NI
When his teammates started to find their stroke, the the last three time
Demon Deacons went on a 13-2 run to go up 59-51 with It was the first
5:28 left. Arizona (4-1) rallied to get within 61-60 with which finished sec
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Gomes 40 4-9 1-3 4-13 3 1 11
Kotti 36 2-10 1-4 3-9 2 4 5
Hanke 7 1-3 0-0 2-2 0 2 2
McGrath 30 2-9 2-2 0-0 5 0 7
Brewington 37 9-18 3-4 2-7 6 3 23
White 19 3-7 2-2 5-6 1 2 8
Brown 25 7-11 2-2 12 2 3 16
Hill 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0
Totals 200 28-6711-1718-411916 72
FG%: 41.8 FT%: 64.7 3-point FG: 5-
19, .263 (Brewington 2-9; Gomes 2-3;
McGrath 1-5; Brown 0-2). Blocks: 5
(Brewington 2; Hanke 2; Kotti 1) Steals:
10 (Brewington 4; Kotti 2; McGrath 2;
Brown; Hill). Turnovers: 9 (Brewington
3; Kotti 2; White 2; Gomes; McGrath).
Technical fouls: None.
M-A 0-T A F PTS
0-0 3-5 2 0 2
1-2 4-7 0 2 5
2-8 3-10 0 3 10
1-2 1-6 5 1 12
2-3 2-5 3 4 17
1-2 0-1 0 1 3
0-0 2-2 0 0 0
0-0 1-5 0 3 6
2-2 4-4 1 2 8
Totals 200 25-64!
FG%: 39.1 FT%: 47.4 3-point FG: 4-19,
.211 (Horton 3-7; Harris 1-5; Coleman
0-5; Andrews 0-1; Hunter 0-1). Blocks:
4 (Sims 2; Brown; Petway). Steals: 6
(Brown 2; Coleman; Horton; Petway;
Sims). Turnovers: 14 (Horton 4; Sims
3; Harris 2; Petway 2; Brown; Coleman;
Hunter). Technical fouls: none.
Providence.........30 42 - 72
Michigan .............30 33 - 63
At: Madison Square Garden, New York
Arizona's Jawann McClellan drives past freshman Ron Coleman in Arizona's 61-60 win in overtime over Michigan on Wednesday.
Coleman saw significant minutes in the absence of junior wing Lester Abram, who was out because a lingering shoulder injury.
Blue suffers as Abram sits
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
16 1-1 0-0 1-3 0 3 2
22 3-5 0-0 1-4 0 1 6
37 4-9 3-5 0-2 6 2 13
44 6-22 2-4 0-4 4 3 16
14 1-3 1-2 0-2 0 0 4
21 0-2 0-0 2-3 2 0 0
29 4-5 0-1 3-8 0 5 8
19 4-10 3-4 1-4 0 2 11
200 23-619-17 12-4112 1760
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Editor
NEW YORK - In uniform but
stuck on the bench because of a
shoulder injury, Lester Abram had
a difficult time watching Michigan
lose to Arizona and Providence in
the Preseason NIT.
"It's real tough," the junior swing-
man said. "I'm not used to sitting
out. I'm really not used to sitting on
the bench and watching."
But the frustrations that come
with not playing may be something
Abram will have to get used to.
Since aggravating his left shoulder
in a win over Colorado on Nov. 17,
Abram has sat out Michigan's last
three games and may not be back in
the lineup tomorrow against No. 3
"I think that if you ask him,
he would have said, 'Yeah, I can
go right now,' " Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker said. "But it's a
long season, and we recognize that
he needed to keep strengthening
his shoulder, and we were just con-
cerned if he takes one wicked shot
for this tournament, that it could
inter by Hassan Adams.
front end of a 1-and-1 with 24 seconds
ne timeout left but Olson didn't call it.
he ball at the top of the key and started
en seconds left. His jumper from about
made two free throws for Wake Forest
eft, and Arizona's chance to tie ended
naround 3-point attempt at the buzzer
Arizona's 15-game winning streak in
T. The Wildcats won the tournament
s it participated - 1990, '95 and '99.
Preseason NIT title for Wake Forest,
cond in 2001.
21 points in the semifinal win over
elected tournament MVP.
had 11 points and 10 rebounds for
h became No. 1 this week for the first
story earlier this week, while Jamaal
ints and 12 rebounds.
ng vote-getter on the AP's preseason
a, had four points on 2-for-i1 shoot-
nded all game by Arizona's Mustafa
four assists, three during the Demon
gave them the lead in the second half.
oints and eight rebounds for Arizona,
amire had 16 points.
the game with an 11-2 run and was
me. The Wildcats kept the lead until
have set him back for a long time.
So I think we erred more on the cau-
Abram's troubles date back to last
March, when he partially dislocat-
ed his shoulder against Iowa in the
Big Ten Tournament. He sat out the
next three games, but then played in
the final three games of the season,
helping Michigan win the Postsea-
son NIT Championship.
During the offseason, Abram
opted not to have surgery, but
instead focused on strengthening
"I did everything possible,"
Abram said. "Rehabbed the whole
But Abram's shoulder didn't
improve as much during the sum-
mer as he had hoped, and now he
may have to endure lingering pain
all season long.
"I think it's going to be an ongo-
ing issue with him all year," Amaker
said. "It just depends on how severe
it could be for him. I think, right
now, we're trying to see if we can
get it as strong as we can."
Said Abram: "It's just an ongoing
problem. There's always a little bit
of pain. I just hurt it worse against
Losing Abram, who led the Wol-
verines in scoring last year, for an
extended period could be a tough
blow for Michigan. Without former
Wolverine Bernard Robinson, who
is now in the NBA, Amaker planned
to rely heavily on Abram and guards
Daniel Horton and Dion Harris this
season. Though Abram had strug-
gled in Michigan's first two games
- shooting just 5-for-22 and miss-
ing all eight of his 3-point attempts
- he had played all but three min-
utes in those contests.
In New York, Amaker relied on
the inexperienced trio of sophomore
John Andrews, freshman Ron Cole-
man and junior Sherrod Harrell. The
group got plenty of open looks but
shot a combined 3-for-24 and scored
just nine points in the two games.
Last season, Abram shot 49 percent
from the field and led Michigan in
3-point percentage (.412) and free-
throw percentage (.843).
"Lester's really reliable, and we
miss that," Horton said. "Coming
into every game, we know what to
expect from him."
FG%: 37.7 FT%: 52.9 3-point FG: 5-21,
.238 (Harris 2-10; Horton 2-4; Harrell
1-2; Coleman 0-2; Hunter 0-2; Petway
0-1). Blocks: 4 (Harrell; Harris; Hunter;
Petway) Steals: 8 (Horton 3; Andrews 2;
Petway 2; Hunter). Turnovers: 16 (Horton
4; Coleman 3; Harris 3; Andrews 2; Hunt-
er; Petway; Sims). Technical fouls: None.
Adams 41 4-14
Radenovic 33 5-15
Frye 25 2-14
Rodgers 20 0-5
Shakur 44 5-12
Fox 6 0-0
Stoudamire 30 3-6
McClellan 20 3-4
Totals 200 22-70 12-2023-54 121961
FG%: 31.4 FT%: 60.0 3-point FG: 5-
19, .263 (Stoudamire 2-5; Radenovic
1-4; Shakur 1-3; McClellan 1-2; Adams
0-3; Rodgers 0-2). Blocks: 2 (Adams;
McClellan). Steals: 6 (Rodgers 2; Shakur
2; Stoudamire 2). Turnovers: 16 (Stou-
damire 5; Shakur 4; Adams 3; Radenovic
2; Frye; McClellan). Technical fouls:
Michigan ..........27 28 5-60
Arizona............25 30 6 -61
At: Madison Square Garden, New York
ACC/Bis' TEN CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
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AP TOP 25
Gray, who had
Providence, was se
Wake Forest, whic
time in school his
Levy had eight poi
Paul, the leadin
ing as he was hou
Shakur. Paul hadf
Deacons' run that
Adams had 19 p
while Salim Stoud
up 37-29 at halftin
Week 2 (Nov. 22- Nov. 28)
1. Wake Forest
3. Georgia Tech
6. Oklahoma State
10. Michigan State
11. North Carolina
14. Mississippi State
17. North Carolina State
Beat Arizona, 63-60
Beat St. Joseph's, 91-51
Beat AR Little Rock, 79-54
Beat Siena, 78,56
Beat Gonzaga, 89-72
Beat Sam Houston State, 73-57
Beat Buffalo, 90-68
Beat Georgia State, 77-59
Beat N.C. Greensboro, 98-44
Beat Nicholls State, 102-52
Beat Iowa 106-92
Beat Stanford 82-67
Beat Memphis 84-61
Beat UMKC, 82-64
Beat Tennessee, 95-70
Beat Loyola (MD), 93-57
Beat Campbell, 99-44
18 FOR 36
The number of free throws made
and attempted in both games.
F fu. .
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