The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 10, 2005 - 5B
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
"It seems like we get
somebody back and
somebody else is out."
- Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker on his team's
injuries this season.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The senior center was a dominant
force inside, scoring 10 points and
grabbing eight boards. He also
swatted four Michigan shots.
Coleman continues to improve, break-
ing his career-high point total again
with 15 of his 18 points coming in the
first half to protect Michigan's lead.
Freshman critical to success
Before the season started, the various college
basketball magazines ranked the 11 Big Ten
recruiting classes, and they all placed Michi-
gan last. The writers provided a one-line blurb about
each class, and for Michigan,
Street & Smith's stated: "Ron
Coleman ... isn't ready to
replace Bernard Robinson."
Athlon declared: "Ron Cole-
man could be a good role
After Saturday's career-high
18 points against Fairfield, BRIAN
Coleman proved himself to be SCHICK
the next in a long line of fresh-
men who have been key con- Schick Happens
tributors for the Wolverines.
While outsiders looking at Michigan's projected
starting lineup wouldn't see room for Coleman to get
serious playing time, anyone familiar with Michigan
over the past few years has seen how freshmen have
been the barometer for the team's success. Since
2000, at least one freshman has started in four of the
past five seasons. And in three of those seasons, a
freshman has averaged more than 10 points per game:
Bernard Robinson with 14.4 in 2001, Daniel Horton
with 15.5 in 2003 and Dion Harris with 10.1 in 2004.
Coleman has yet to eclipse the 10-points-per-game
mark on the season. But if he keeps playing as he
has been of late, it won't take long. He is averaging
6.9 points per game, but that number doesn't reflect
how much he has rapidly improved this season. Since
starting his first game against Providence on Nov. 26,
he has averaged 9.7 points per game and is averaging
13.8 in his last five.
"I think his confidence is at an all-time high right
now," coach Tommy Amaker said on Saturday. "I
thought his play in the first half was outstanding."
His first half was impressive: 15 points on 5-for-7
shooting in 19 minutes. The freshman part of Cole-
man returned in the second half, when he went just
1-for-4 from the floor.
"Maybe(he was) a little too confident with some of
the shots he was taking in the second half," a some-
what tongue-in-cheek Amaker said. "But I was really
Freshmen becoming instant contributors has beena
a common theme during Amaker's time at Michigan,'
and it seems that potential recruits would love to play
here. Amaker has shown that he loves to throw them
right into the mix. Last year, Lester Abram gave his
starting spot to Harris midway through the season,
and it turned out to be the right move for that team.
Two years ago, three freshmen - Horton, Abram and:
Graham Brown - paced the team to a third-place
finish in the Big Ten.
Needless to say, Coleman has benefited from the
numerous injuries this season, and his increased min-
utes have allowed him to shine. He has emerged from
the MASH unit of players and now is emerging as a
consistent threat on offense. With Horton back in the
lineup, and Harris's shots starting to fall from 3-point
land, Michigan might have a formidable backcourt
heading into the Big Ten season.
That is a feat in itself, as Coleman isn't used to
playing guard. In high school, he played forward and
center, so he has had to learn a new position in thet
last few months. While there was an initial learning#
curve, it seems as if he has made the adjustment.y
"I've had to transform into a guard," Coleman said.
"I had to play center in high school, but it's been a
good transition. I guard guys like Dion and Daniel in
practice, so it's helped me out a lot."
The one thing that might put a damper on Cole-
man's play is pushing him into a crucial role too?
quickly. There is a chance that freshmen hit the pro-
verbial "wall" at a certain point, and, with so many
players bouncing back and forth on the injured list
this season, losing Coleman's scoring touch because
of too much pressure might prove to be costly.
Either way, he has managed to silence the "experts" n
from the magazines who believed he didn't have a,
chance this season.
Brian Schick can be reached at JASON COOPER/Daily
email@example.com. Freshman Ron Coleman is averaging 14 points in his last four games.
Van Schaick 5
FG%: .357 FT%: .600 3-point FG: 2-22,
.097 (Todd 2-6, Gai 0-5, Goode 0-3,
Sogadzi 0-3, Oglesby 0-2, Bell 0-1, Van
Schaick 0-1, O'Sullivan 0-1). Blocks:
4 (Gai 4) Steals: 3 (Todd 1, Goode 1,
Oglesby 1). Turnovers: 16 (Todd 4, Goode
4, Maxwell 3, Oglesby 2, O'Sullivan 2,
Van Schaick 1). Technical fouls: None.
Totals 20023-4315-184-301512 70
FG%: .533 FT%: .833 3-point FG: 9-18,
.500 (Harris 5-8, Coleman 3-7, Horton
1-1, Harrell 0-1, Andrews 0-1). Blocks: 5
(Sims 3, Petway 2). Steals: 7 (Horton 4,
Petway, Coleman, Harris). Turnovers: 15
(Sims 5, Andrews 4, Harris 2, Horton 2,
Mathis, TEAM 1). Technical fouls: none.
Fairfield ..........27 21 - 48
Michigan..........39 31 - 70
Continued from page 1B
of-18 shooting. Harris did most of
the damage, going 5-for-8 from
beyond the arc.
Freshman Ron Coleman also had
his share of success from deep. He
shot 3-for-7 from 3-point range on
his way to a career-high 18 points.
He scored 15 of his points in the
first half, going 5-for-7 from the
field in that stretch.
"I knew that by working hard ins
practice they were going to start
falling in games," Coleman said.
"Now that my confidence is there,
I have my teammates telling me to
take those shots."
Coleman's play helped take the
scoring load off of Michigan's
injured interior, which may have
taken another hit at the end of
the game. With just over a min-
ute remaining, sophomore forward
Brent Petway left the game with
what appeared to be a shoulder inju-
ry - another affliction just when it
seemed Michigan had survived the
worst of the injury bug.
"I'm anxious to see at whatever
point we can get (everyone) back
and see what kind of team we have,"
The win was Michigan's fourth
in a row, its longest such streak of
the season. The Wolverines return
to conference play on Wednesday
when they host Northwestern.
"We've had a very difficult sched-
ule, and it's been very challenging
for our team," Amaker said. "We've
had a stretch where things have been
pretty tough, but I like to think that
our kids have battled and put us in a
good position right now."
Injuries continue to haunt team
At: Crisler Arena
By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
While the revolving door of injuries to the Michigan
men's basketball team continues to spin, it may now be
starting to turn in the right direction.
"It seems like we get somebody back and somebody
else is out," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "It
seemed like it has been a bit of a juggling act."
Guard Daniel Horton recently returned after miss-
ing six games with a sprained left knee, and tri-captain
Graham Brown is expected to practice today, though
hernia surgery has sidelined the forward for 13 games.
The Wolverines have been without last year's team
MVP, Lester Abram, since December.
In Michigan's 65-63 win against then-No. 14 Iowa
last Wednesday, junior Chris Hunter left the game with
a sprained ankle after playing just 11 minutes.
Hunter, who has averaged 15.8 points per game as
a starter this season, did not play against Fairfield.
Amaker didn't know when the forward would return to
action, but he is hopeful it will be next week.
Without Hunter on the floor, the Wolverines held
Fairfield center Deng Gai to just 10 points but struggled
against one of the nation's best defensive big men. Gai
held Michigan's frontline of Courtney Sims and Brent
Petway to a combined 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting.
Reserve forward J.C. Mathis matched up better with
Gai's larger frame than Sims or Petway and netted eight
points. Mathis may see even more playing time after
Petway injured his left shoulder attempting to grab a
rebound against Fairfield.
"I reached in for the rebound and (DeWitt Maxwell)
grabbed the rebound with two hands, and he kind of
ripped it back a little bit with my arm still in there,"
Petway said. "Smashed my arm back. So I had some-
thing pop right out of place, but it popped right back
When asked if he was okay, Petway said: "Yeah, I
should be straight. I'll be straight."
As Petway walked to the locker room in the waning
minutes of the game, grabbing the shoulder and eyeing
Maxwell, Michigan guard Dani Wohl returned to the
court for the first time since playing 30 minutes against
High Point on Dec. 7. Wohl injured his left elbow dur-
ing a practice following the High Point game.
"It felt great (to get back) out there," Wohl said. "My
elbow felt great. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to
help the team."
Wohl's availability will ease Horton's transition back
into the mix. Horton's game appears to be unaffected
by his injury, but the junior admits he's still healing.
"No, I'm not at 100 percent, but, I mean, who is this
time of year?" Horton said. "I still try and get after it
defensively like I've always done. That's what I want to
do first and foremost. Whatever I do offensively, that
just helps the team out because those guys have been
scoring points and doing well without me."
The guard added nine points against Fairfield but
looked more tentative offensively than he did against
Iowa, attempting just four shots in 17 minutes against
With the return of Horton and Wohl - and with
Brown and Hunter expected back soon - the Wolver-
ines are primed to become even more confident.
"We were very disappointed in how things occurred
with the some of the injuries," Amaker said. "Guys are
starting to work there way back in. I think there is a
renewed spirit for our team."
Horton's return, in particular, has been freeing up
better looks for fellow guards Ron Coleman and Dion
Harris and should steadily elevate Michigan's collec-
"It hurts the chemistry when you have had guys that
have been playing well and everybody knows how to
play with them and then they go out," Harris said.
"Someone else has to step in that usually doesn't get
a lot of minutes. That can hurt. That can make things
kind of difficult for the team.
And even though Petway's status remains uncertain
going into Wednesday night's game against Northwest-
ern, the Wolverines have already proven to be effective
"With Brent going out, I think guys are ready to step
in a role right now, and everybody is prepared for any-
thing that happens," Harris said.
Said Amaker: "We are hoping (the injuries) are going
to make us a better, stronger, deeper team."
NOTES: After its 70-48 win over Fairfield on Satur-
day, Michigan extended its winning streak to a season-
long fourgames ... Fairfield's Deng Gai - cousin of
current Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng - declared
for the NBA Draft last year but decided to return for
his senior season. At the Chicago pre-draft camp, Gai
played on the same assigned team as former Michigan
standout forward Bernard Robinson. Gai is averaging
13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.7 blocks this year for
the Stags ... Amaker and Fairfield coach Tim O'Toole
both served as coaches under Mike Krzyzewski at
Duke. O'Toole also served as an assistant under Amak-
er at Seton Hall ... The Wolverines are 5-1 all-time
against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
teams. Michigan has a 3-0 record against Fairfield
and is 2-1 against Manhattan.
AP TOP 25
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Big Ten Overall
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS:
MICHIGAN 70, Fairfield 48
OHIO STATE 81, Iowa 69
Illinois 68, PURDUE 59
MICHIGAN STATE 87, Northwestern 58
MINNESOTA 83, Penn State 62
INDIANA 74, Wisconsin 61
OHIO STATE AT WISCONSIN
Sophomore Dion Harris scored a game-high 20 points.
A big part of Michigan's resurgence has been its success from 3-point range. Save for a game against UNC-Asheville
that bucks the trend (statisticians call this an aberration),the'Wolverines' ability to shoot the three has been con-
nected to their chances for victory. Below are Michigan's last six games with its 3-point percentage and top performer.
Week 8(Jan.3- Jan. 9)
3. North Carolina
4. Wake Forest
7. Oklahoma State
9. Georgia Tech
Delam e Staw ei W(66-48)Faifield-W (70,481
3-x rtpc-em ae6-12 (.SCE?)ntge -1~ .~
Ron Colemn: 3-6
UCLA: (81-79) o-' (A-3
3-oitpozcenltiae 7 2C (_350) 3-on - 5 4627)
beat Purdue, 68-59
beat Kentucky, 65-59
beat Maryland, 109-75
beat Clemson, 103-68
beat Temple, 82-74
beat Seton Hall, 75-50
beat Texas Tech, 76-66
lost to Kansas, 65-59
beat Virginia, 92-69
beat Georgetown, 66-59
lost to St. Mary's (CA), 89-81
lost to UCLA, 95-86
lost to Stanford, 87-76
lost to Ohio State, 81-69
beat Baylor, 79-60
beat Rutgers, 66-63
Northwestern at Michigan 7 p.m.
Penn State at Illinois 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Purdue 8 p.m.
Indiana at Purdue 12 p.m.
Michigan at Penn State 12:15 p.m.
Minnesota at Iowa 1:32 p.m.
Illinois at Northwestern 3:30 p.m.
Ohio State at LSU 7:00 p.m.
Michigan State at Wisconsin 12:30 p.m.
Fairfield's 3-point shooting per-
centage during Saturday's game,
as the Stags hit just 2-of-22
from behind the arc.
Is this the year the Wildcats can finally make the
NCAA Tournament for the first time in program
history? Bill Carmody's club certainly hopes so,
But with the loss of guard Jitim Young to gradu-
ation, Northwestern might miss the cut again.