. February 24, 2005
. .... . ....
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Editor
Dani Wohl played his heart out.
Amadou Ba played - much to the
crowd's pleasure - and scored.
Dion Harris and Ron Coleman were
And when it was over, a huge rush
of warm air flowed from Crisler Arena
Michigan exhaled for the first time
in over a month - a 63-48 victory over
"It's been a while since we could
celebrate in the locker room - to sing
The Victors," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "And our kids, they
earned it. I thought they deserved it."
With the win, Michigan (4-10 Big
Ten, 13-15 overall) snapped a 10-game
losing streak - it's longest skid since
the 1981-82 season. Penn State (1-12, 7-
19) lost its eighth consecutive game.
"We are excited," guard Sherrod
Harrell said. "We got a win. That was a
monkey we were trying to fight off our
back, and we finally got one. So we feel
really good about it."
Guard Dion Harris played his best
game of the year, shooting 10-for-15
from the floor and tying a career-
high with 24 points. Harris hit from
all over the court - deep 3-pointers,
runners in the lane and short tear-
drops. He also dished out six assists,
including a self-called play - off an
inbounds pass - to Brent Petway for
"You can't say enough about what
Dion did." Amaker said. "The rhythm
he was in was terrific. He carried our
team. Dion's play was the difference in
Guard Ron Coleman, who added
16 points and grabbed five boards,
knocked down four 3-pointers in the
first half, giving Michigan a 36-26 lead
at intermission. Coleman credited his
production to Harris.
"He drew a lot of attention," Cole-
Penn State 48
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A 0-T A F PTS
Claxton 38 4-14 3-5 3-6 1 4 12
Parker 23 0-1 2-2 0-2 3 4 2
Johnson 33 3-5 3-7 6-10 1 2 9
Luber 26 3-4 0-0 0-2 1 2 7
Morrissey 29 5-11 0-0 0-0 2 1 14
Walker 27 1-5 1-2 0-1 3 1 3
McDougald 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Hassell 14 0-0 1-2 0-2 1 3 1
Totals 200 16-4010-18 9-28 1419 48
FG%: .400 FT%: .556 3-point FG: 6-18,
,333 (Morrisset 4-9, Luber 1-2, Claxton
1-2, Parker 0-1). Blocks: 3 (McDougald
2, Claxton). Steals: 6 (McDougald 2,
Claxton, Johnson, Luber, Walker). Turn-
overs: 16 (Walker 3, Johnson 3, Luber
3, Claxton 3, Hassell 2, Parker, McDou-
gald). Technical fouls: None.
After a long month, it's
to finally see smiles at Crisler
You would think breaking a 10-game losing streak would be
reason for celebration. And it is.
But Michigan's 63-48 victory over Penn State last night was
actually filled with bittersweet moments. Everything from
sophomore Dion Harris's 24 points and six assists all the way
down to the little things like the
Michigan Dance Team's senior
farewell at halftime was enough
to leave just a little twinge of
sadness to go along with the joy
of any Michigan fan. Enough to
leave plenty of sad questions.
Shouldn't this team still be
in Tournament contention? JOSH HOLMAN
Why couldn't Dion have played Part Icon Whole Man
like this all year? How has the, l
Dance Team been able to smile
through this entire season?
A better question might be, how has anyone been able to
keep smiling this season?
It's certainly been a roller coaster of emotions for the Wol-
verines to ride since the streak began. Conveniently enough,
their last win came against the Nittany Lions in State College
on Jan. 15. If that seems like a long time ago, it was.
Back then, Michigan still had a chance at making the
NCAA Tournament, sitting with a record of 12-5 and 3-0 in
the Big Ten. It had just picked up its second conference road
win of the season, matching its total from the year before.
The drama that would be Daniel Horton's indefinite suspen-
sion wasn't even a blip on the radar screen yet.
Today, the Wolverines have a 13-15 record (4-10 Big
Ten) and are still waiting for that third conference road
win. The Wolverines have actually been losing so long
that the Horton matter has surfaced, blown up and settled
down, all in one month.
So in the shadow of a tumultuous season that no one could
ever imagine, the Wolverines found a reason to be genuinely
happy. They won a basketball game.
"For what we've been through and particularly what our
kids have gone through, they should feel good," Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker said. "They should be able to enjoy this
and finish it off the right way."
It's really the only joy the Wolverines can muster up at this
point of a long, dismal season. No one can lie and say that this
season can still be salvaged. It can't. A few more wins might
make Michigan eligible for the Postseason NIT, but it already
has one of those banners. Would another NIT Championship
somehow turn this season into a success? Not at all.
The only thing Michigan had to play for last night was a win
over Penn State. It might sound cliche, but the Wolverines were
playing for pride. And you can't criticize a team that plays with
a little bit of pride.
"When you stop thinking about all the other stuff and start
thinking about internally your own pride, you feel a little bit
better about yourself," sophomore Brent Petway said. "You
play a lot looser and a lot harder."
They played the way junior Dani Wohl and Amadou Ba
played last night - the way Wohl and Ba have played all season.
Wohl has been a spot player off the bench for Michigan this
year, but, last night, he (almost) scrapped his way into school
history by collecting six steals, just one shy of the school
"I was just trying to come off the bench, give us a spark and
provide defensive energy and intensity and handle the ball,"
Wohl said. "Those are two of my absolutes."
Ba plays even less. He has appeared in just 10 career games,
all coming in the final moments of blowouts. The 6-foot-10
center has little chance to offer the team anything but vocal
support, which he provides plenty of. Pride is the reason he is
here, and he swells with it.
"The motivating force is to play for Michigan," Ba said.
"This community and these students do it all for us. This insti-
tution is our school. I really love all of these guys in this locker
Those students made their support for Ba obvious last night,
chanting his name until he entered the game, cheering each time
he touched the ball and roaring when he finally scored two points
on a goaltending call with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
The outburst of unbridled joy was just enough to give the
fans something to feel good about as they left. This season
may be tainted by disappointment, but - at least for one night
- the Wolverines just got to feel good about winning a basket-
Josh Holman would feel about good about winning
anything, much less a basketball game. He can be reached at
Dion Harris tied a career high with 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting, as the
Wolverines won their first game since Jan. 15.
man said. "By him driving and kicking
it out to me, I knocked down the open
The Wolverines were able to limit
Penn State forward Aaron Johnson to
six first-half points, mostly by denying
the Nittany Lions any interior passing.
On the final possession before the
half, Wohl - who had six steals in
the game - penetrated into the Nit-
tany Lions' interior and lobbed a per-
fectly placed shot - err, pass - to
Petway, who finished the play on the
fly right before the halftime buzzer
sounded. It was an opportunistic
assist for Wohl, who signed more
autographs than usual for fans after
"I thought Dani played a real big
part (of the victory)," injured wing Les-
ter Abram said. "He pressured the ball
on defense, and that's where it started,
with our defense. And carried over
throughout the whole game."
Said Harris: "Dani's play was big for
us. He pressured the ball. He harassed
the other team's point guard and came
up with some steals. He made plays on
the offensive end also."
Michigan built upon its 10-point
halftime lead by limiting Penn State
guard Danny Morrissey to just one sec-
ond-half basket, after the guard scored
11 in the first.
The Wolverines also maintained
lots of on-the-ball pressure on the Nit-
tany Lion guards and limited Penn
State - the best offensive rebound-
ing team in the Big Ten - to 28 total
Amaker said he never discussed the
possibility of Michigan tying a school
record for consecutive losses (11) with
his team before the game.
"(The win) was huge," Wohl said.
"We needed (a win) in the worst way,
in any way possible. Hopefully, we can
build off this."
Despite the two teams' combined
17-game losing streak coming into the
game, it was the Wolverines, not the
Nittany Lions, who played with pride.
Junior Graham Brown pitched in with nine points in the
blowout win over Penn State.
. ...... ....
MIN M-A M-A
33 5-13 2-2
17 0-2 0-0
25 3-5 3-6
36 10-15 2-3
17 1-5 0-0
5 0-2 0-0
22 2-4 4-4
14 0-0 0-0
27 0-0 2-2
2 1-1 0-2
2 0-0 0-0
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Study Abroad Programs
Ayacucho & Lima
Totals 200 22-4713-1910-28 141963
FG%: .468 FT%: .684 3-point FG: 6-19,
:316 (Coleman 4-9, Harris 2-5, Sims 0-1,
Harrell 0-2, Andrews 0-2). Blocks: 1 (Pet-
way) Steals: 9 (Wohl 6, Harris 2, Harrell).
Turnovers: 11 (Harris 2, Coleman, Sims,
Brown, Harrell, Andrews, Petway, Mathis,
Wohl). Technical fouls: None.
Penn State................ 26 22 - 48
Michigan....... ....r36 27 - 63
At: Crisler Arena
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