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January 06, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

January 6, 2005
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily. com

S ORe dSdigDng


Cagers pull out
thriller in Iowa




crucial in return

By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
IOWA CITY - First, it was the
miraculous four-point play in the first-
Then, the jumper off a curl that
ended a 17-4 second-half run.
Next, a run-
ning floater that
squashed the half-
empty, yet spirited
Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd with
just under four minutes remaining in
the game.
And with under a minute to play, a
mid-court turnover that led to two John
Andrews free throws.
That pesky Daniel Horton is back.
And so are the Wolverines.
The junior returned after missing the
past six games with a left-knee sprain
and led the Wolverines (1-0 Big Ten,
9-5 overall) to a stunning 65-63 win
over No. 14 Iowa (0-1, 12-2) last night
to open the Big Ten season.
Before the game, Horton didn't even
know if he was going to play. Yet,
he finished with 13 points on 5-of-8

shooting in 26 minutes. But it was his
presence on the court that willed the
Wolverines to victory.
"Even though he played a real good
game, I think emotionally he's even
more of a presence for us," forward
Courtney Sims said. "He's our team
leader on the floor. He holds us togeth-
er. He's our glue."
But with under a minute remain-
ing, it was walk-on John Andrews who
sealed the victory for the Wolverines.
The sophomore hit four free-throws
with under a minute remaining in the
Andrews - who had shot just 57
percent from the free-throw line this
season coming into the game - was
stopped by Horton before the first
"I looked at (Andrews), and I was
going to say something to him but he
just looked at me and told me 'I got it,'
" Horton said.
Iowa guard Pierre Pierce didn't get
Trailing by three, Pierce was fouled
on a 3-point attempt by Dion Harris
See HAWKEYES, page 10A

Forward Courtney Sims fights for the ball in the Wolverines' 65-63 win last night.

Blue looks to end slide at Northwestern

Schick Happens
OWA CITY - As time ran out at
Carver-Hawkeye Arena last night,
Daniel Horton carried the ball off
the floor and through the handshake line
with the Iowa bench. But Horton wasn't
just helping out the equipment managers.
He was responsible for leading Michigan
to a huge road win for the struggling
If I asked you what would be a bigger
shocker heading into this game, Horton
returning to the lineup and scoring 13
points in 26 minutes of play or Michigan
edging out the No. 14 team in the nation
on the road, it seems like a push. Both
were big improbabilities for a team that
has been severely bitten by the injury bug
this season.
There were so many intangibles that
Horton brought to the Wolverines, and
it was apparent that both Horton and
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker felt
comfortable leaving Horton and his ail-
ing left knee in the game during the final
moments. But more than just a body
on the floor, Horton played the best all-
around game of the night.
Although Horton didn't start, it didn't
take him long to find his rhythm once he
entered the game. He hit his first shot and
then sunk a 3-pointer a few possessions
later. He was able to penetrate and create
opportunities for Dion Harris from behind
the arc, as well as pass off to Brent Petway,
who led the Wolverines with 14.
All that is great, but Horton brought the
one thing that seemed to be missing from
Michigan's last few games: energy. Hor-
ton was able to breathe life into a stagnant
offense that had seen little ball movement
and had a tough time creating quality
shots. Horton also brought hustle on the
defensive side, selflessly diving on the
floor for loose balls, including one that led
to a critical possession for Michigan off a
jump ball at the end of the game.
The scary part was that it seemed
Horton didn't miss a beat and was able
to not only score his 13 points, but also

make those around him better. Three
other players - Courtney Sims, Har-
ris and Petway - scored in double
digits for Michigan, and Ron Coleman
chipped in eight as well. Against Iowa,
the Wolverines knew that they would
need to give the Hawkeyes lots of dif-
ferent looks. And having Horton back in
the lineup gave Michigan the ability to
work a successful inside-out game that
gave Iowa several different looks.
If hardly anyone expected Horton to
play, no one thought he could jump right
in and contribute, including Amaker.
"I really didn't expect him to play this
well," Amaker said. "His play was a big
shot in the arm for our team."
Horton's return couldn't have come at
a better time for Michigan. The Wolver-
ines suffered two devastating losses over
break, both in painful fashion in the final
minutes. On Dec. 14 against Boston Uni-
versity, Michigan was down most of the
game, and managed to cut the Terriers'
lead to just one point, but gave up a huge
run to end the game. On the road against
UCLA, Michigan - which was winning
most of the game this time - just failed
to score down the stretch as the Bruins
went on a huge run to end the game.
Last night, the Wolverines were able
to keep the Hawkeyes at bay down the
stretch, mostly due to Horton's presence
on the court.
Heading into this game, it seemed that
Michigan's chances of stealing a win on
the road against a quality team was about
as bleak as the current weather conditions
in Iowa City. Michigan had dropped its
entire slate of road and neutral site games
this season, and went 2-6 on the road in
the Big Ten last season. But with Horton
back in the lineup, the Wolverines dem-
onstrated why they are still capable of
surprising people this season.
"We showed that we're still a good
basketball team," Horton said. "We kept
on fighting, and that shows great maturity
by our team."
This team has matured immensely over
the past few weeks with juniors Horton,
Lester Abram and Graham Brown out of
the lineup. Still, many have still written off
Michigan as a threat in the Big Ten. But
with Horton back in the lineup, the Wol-
verines just might surprise.

By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's basketball team has defeat-
ed a good team on the road, beating UC-Santa Bar-
bara, 57-51, in November.
It has blown out a team at;
home, defeating IUPUI by T0N1G HflT
20 points. It has even won M.higanat
a close game against UNLV
off a last-second shot.;:'p <
But Michigan has yet to Radio WTKA 1Q50
play a consistent game from
start to finish.
Against No. 10 Michigan State on Sunday, Michigan
shot well early and trailed by just one point at the half.
But the Wolverines struggled in the second half, falling
behind by as many as 17 points before losing by 10.
It's a trend that has not gone unnoticed.
"We tend to go on streaks," freshman captain Krista
Clement said. "We'll play really hard for 10 minutes,
and then we'll stand around for the next 10 minutes.
Especially on the road, we need to make sure we play

hard for all 40 minutes."
But those are the only streaks Michigan wants to focus
The Wolverines have lost five straight games and
eight of their last 10. But with a two-point loss to solid
Illinois and the emergence of guard Jessica Starling,
coach Cheryl Burnett prefers to stress her team's
improving play, not its difficulty translating that prog-
ress into victories.
"We don't talk about a five-game losing streak," Bur-
nett said. "Those words don't come out of our mouths."
The Wolverines might not talk about the streak, but
that doesn't mean the losses haven't affected them.
Michigan hasn't won a game since its 68-48 victory
over IUPUI on Dec. 11. While going almost a month
without a win would frustrate most teams, Clement
believes it has motivated her teammates more than
anything else.
"I think the losses have definitely made us hun-
gry," Clement said. "But we don't dwell on them. We
think about the game and then move on to the next
opponent. I've been impressed by how well the team
bounces back."

The Wolverines have their next chance to rebound
tonight at Northwestern, a team against which they
have some experience notching wins. Michigan swept
the Wildcats in two games last season and beat them
by an average margin of 18.5 points, including a 62-43
victory in Evanston. Northwestern dropped 16 of its 17
Big Ten games last year.
This season, the Wildcats won just one of its first
10 games, a 64-60 victory over Western Michigan in
November. The Wolverines suffered their most lop-
sided defeat of the season to the Broncos on Dec. 14,
losing 79-62. But like Michigan, Northwestern has
improved its play in recent games, winning two of
its final three nonconference games against Northern
Iowa and Towson.
Despite its recent success against the Wildcats,
Michigan recognizes it must take them as seriously as
it took the higher-ranked Spartans if it hopes to end its
losing streak at five.
"I hope that we haven't prepared any differently,"
Burnett said. "I am emphatic that we prepare the same
way for each opponent, with the same intensity. And on
the road, that intensity may have to be even higher."


Brian Schick can be reached at


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