The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 28, 2005 - 5B
MICHIGAN 78 - BUTLER 74
Early on, junior center Courtney Sims looked like that
over-sized sixth grader back in middle school. You
know, the one who all the parents thought lied about
his age but really was just a victim of an early puberty. He
may not have been the most elegant player on the court, but
he used his height well.
Sims was five inches taller than any defender on Butler,
and he used this extra height to his advan-
tage throughout the first half. He had 16 of
Michigan's first 20 points and 18 points in
the first half alone. He controlled the first 20
minutes. Whether it be an alley-oop or just a
simple jump hook, Sims played like he was
going to score 40. He kept the Wolverines.,.
going when most of them looked like they
would rather get seconds on Thanksgiving:
leftovers than play the Bulldogs. His effortsY
secured an eight-point lead for Michigan
heading into break. MA
But someone had to get Sims the ball, and VENE
that same someone had to save the game for
the Wolverines just as he had done against The B
team on his shoulders again
Enter Daniel Horton.
Butler decided to actually defend Sims with a second
defender - wise decision coach Todd Lickliter. With Sims
neutralized, Michigan was lost for the first 15 minutes of the
second half. The offense lacked flow - not an uncommon
sight for fans of the Wolverines. The team didn't know what
to do when Sims had a second defender covering him. But
when things looked bad, the team just turned to its default
Often, the offense would rotate the ball around the perim-
eter of the 3-point line for the first 25 seconds. But then, the
realization came that someone needed to take action. Horton
got the ball, and the rest of the team basically got out of the
Case in point, with less than three minutes remaining,
Horton received the ball and tried a dribble drive. But three
Butler defenders met him in the lane as he put his shot up
- it never got close to the hoop. But in the ensuing scrum,
the 6-foot-3 Horton somehow got the ball back and put it in
from four feet away.
Horton's not Michael Jordan circa 1997; he needed a little
help or at least an offensive setup, but when all things failed,
Michigan went to its senior leader.
"(He had an) unbelievable line, and the thing he prob-
ably won't get credit for is his heart and will and passion he
has and how that permeates through the rest of our players,"
coach Tommy Amaker said.
And Amaker wasn't pulling the wool over our collective
eyes. Horton's ability to control both the tempo and the game
allowed others who hadn't done much all game to step up.
Ron Coleman hit a key jumper after a Sims
screen, largely because the Bulldogs knew they had
to cover Sims and Horton.
Even when the Bulldogs knocked Horton down,
he got back up and kept his team in the game. And
make no mistake about it, this is Horton's team. He
had his problems in the past, but everybody, includ-
ing Amaker, knows that for this team to finally have
a chance at making the NCAA Tournament Horton
has to lead. And that's what he did.
A Butler defender gave Horton a little shove and
knocked the Cedar Hill, Texas, native down on a
NI drive to the basket. From the press row, I could hear
the skin tear as he skidded across the hardwood
floor. He got up, didn't complain and shook his hand
a little bit. Instead of whining, Horton kept his com-
posure and nailed a jumper to put Michigan up 72-70. Then,
Horton put the game away with six straight free throws.
"I was trying to stay poised and patient," Horton said of
But he said that the whole team had to do that to win the
game. Horton even admitted afterward that, two years ago,
the Wolverines may have lost this game because of a lack of
maturity. I agree with him. But even with its newfound matu-
rity, Michigan would have lost this game if Horton weren't
And that's the reality right now for the Wolverines. Sure,
Michigan is 3-0 and Horton is playing extremely well, but it's
just three games. And the Wolverines haven't exactly blown
teams away. Last year, Michigan started 3-0 last year, and we
all know what happened. If Horton continues to stay under
control while playing with the chip on his shoulder that he's
always had, we can all get a little more excited. Because we
can't count on Sims playing against guys almost half a foot
shorter than him every game.
- Matt has a new appreciation for Michigan after
spending Thanksgiving here - he rode a mechanical
bull. He can be reached at email@example.com
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Horton scored a season-high 28
points Saturday, including the
team's final 10 points in Michi-
gan's comeback win over Butler.
The senior forward kept the
Bulldogs in the game throughout,
posting 23 points and a team-
high nine rebounds.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
"You could see the passion
and heart that he had."
- Michigan coach Tommy Amaker on senior guard
Daniel Horton's performance on Saturday.
The number of first-half points scored
by Courtney Sims and second-half
points scored by Horton.
Horan 27 1-3 2-2 0-2 4 3 5
Polk 36 10-17 3-4 3-9 1 3 23
crone 24 4-6 2-2 1-4 4 4 11
Graves 35 9-18 2-2 0-1 3 2 24
Sheets 31 2-7 2-2 1-5 1 2 7
Betko 9' 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0
Nellerns 18 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0
Ligon 13 1-3 0-0 1-4 0 1 2
Streicher 7 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2
Senior Daniel Horton took the Wolverines on his shoulders and propelled
them to a key victory over Butler.
FG%: 50.9 FT%: 91.7 3-point FG: 7-18, .389 (Graves 4-
8, Crone 1-3, Horan 1-3, Sheets 1-4). Blocks: 1 (Polk)
Steals: 5 (Nellems 2, Graves, Sheets, Streicher). Turn-
overs: 10 (Polk 3, Graves 2, Betko, Crones, Ligon, Nel-
lems). Technical fouls: None.
Wright cruises to victories, while
Herman maintains overall lead.
(Last game's points, overall points, single-game wins)
first half in
(D. Horton, J. Shepherd,
B. Petway, T. Sanchez,
(28, 60, 2)
Stellar first half from Sims
lost amongst Horton heroics
(L Abram, R. Coleman,
J. Smith, K. Price)
(22, 66, 1)
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
Daniel Horton stole the show in crunch time on Saturday.
Michigan's senior point guard scored 18 second-half points,
including eight in the final 49 seconds. But if it weren't for
Courtney Sims and his remarkable first-half performance
S against Butler, Horton's fantastic finish in Michigan's 78-74
win might have been in vain.
Sims dominated the opening 14 minutes of the contest.
When the score was tied at 20 with 6:08 remaining in the
opening frame, the junior had converted eight of his 11 field
goal attempts, accounting 16 of the Wolverines' points - a
full 80 percent of the team's offensive output. Prior to Sims's
eighth bucket, his teammates' shooting was ice-cold. The rest
of Michigan's roster went a combined 2-for-11 during Sims's
rapid start. After the Wolverines reached 20 points, the remain-
der of the squad went 6-for-9 from the field as Michigan pulled
away for a 37-29 lead heading into the intermission.
"I knew I had to establish myself," Sims said. "I knew (the
Bulldogs) thought they had an advantage with their quickness
and we had an advantage with our height. I wanted to establish
Sims was also active on the glass, recording four put-back
buckets in the period. When the halftime buzzer sounded, the
Boston native had collected 18 points on 75 percent shooting to
go along with five rebounds in just 15 minutes.
"We really had the emphasis about getting the ball inside,
and certainly (Sims) is our best interior scorer," Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker said. "He was the recipient of some
good passes by our players."
The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Sims was visibly fatigued late
in the first half - no doubt due in large part to his extensive
cate his early feats in the second stanza. The Massachusetts
native managed just three points, two rebounds and a block
in 15 additional minutes after halftime. But Sims had already
made enough of a contribution to put Michigan in position to
win the game.
"They drew more attention to me (in the second half), and I
didn't get as many touches," Sims said. "The game was more
hectic. If I got the rebound, (Horton) would be pushing it up
and making the lay-up. It was just a different game in the sec-
ond half. But I think that was due to me establishing myself in
the first half."
Sims faced double-teams throughout the final frame, free-
ing up Horton and wings Ron Coleman and Lester Abram for
easier shots. The trio combined to score 36 of Michigan's 41
points in the second half.
"I thought (Butler) adjusted in the second half and shrunk the
floor and didn't allow a lot of room in there," Amaker said. "I
was really pleased (Sims) didn't force things and stayed within
the team concept. He also played well on the defensive end, so I
was really pleased with his growth and maturity, as well."
Sims finished the afternoon shooting 10-for-14 from the
field. His 10 makes from the floor set a new career high. After
failing to average in double figures in either of his first two sea-
sons in Ann Arbor, Sims currently sits second on the Wolver-
ines' scoring list, pouring in 15.3 points per game to go along
with a team-high seven boards per contest.
NOTES: The Wolverines pushed the all-time series record
against Butler to 17-12, in favor of Michigan ... Horton, who
scored 28 points in the game, combined with Sims to mark
the first time since Dec. 13, 2003 that the Wolverines have had
two 20-point scorers in the same game. Abram and Bernard
Robinson Jr. reached the milestone against Central Michigan
... The announced attendance was 9,513, although there were
When Michigan took the court
in the season opener against
Central Michigan, I was fairly con-
fident in my fantasy team's chances.
Then myNo. 1 pick Horton scored
just tihreejpoints and I sank to a new
However, Horton didn't disap-
point this weekend, coming up big
for me against Boston and then But-
ler. Now, I'm back in the game, and,
with Petway's renewed academic
vigor, there's just one place for my
team to go: up to the top.
Lester Abram's performance in
the first three games this season
makes me proud to have drafted
him with the second pick of the
draft. He may have been over-
shadowed in the last two games by
Daniel Horton, but Abram is the
only Wolverine to register double-
digit scoring numbers in all of his
With Dion Harris and Courtney
Sims the other options when I draft-
ed, I'm glad to see that my first pick
has been the model of consistancy
I was more than excited when
Courtney Sims had 18 of the team's
37 points going into halftime on
Saturday. Preperations were being
made for my victory speech. But
how can I expect to win when Sims
attempts a grand total of two shots
in the entire second half?
Whether it's Sims shying away
from shooting in the second half or
just him battling fatigue, I doubt I'll
be notching many wins this year
unless Sims finds a way to over-
come this trend.
Well this is what Itget for having
the last pick. You'd think that my
team would be fine with last year's
scoring leader headlining it ... but
not so much.
I don't know if its his nagging
heel injury or what, but Dion Har-
ris just hasn't been able to work
his way back into the flow of the
offense. There are plenty of shots
to go around for Horton, Sims and
Abram, but poor Dion has been an
I'm hoping Harris asserts himself
- otherwise it's going to be a long
season for my fantasy team.
FG%: 54.4 FT%: 84.6 3-point FG: 5-12, .417 (Abram 2-3,
Coleman 1-1, Horton 1-2, Harris 1-4, Hunter 0-1, Shep-
herd 0-1). Blocks: 6 (Brown 2, Hunter 2, Horton, Sims).
Steals: 6 (Horton 4, Abram, Brown). Turnovers: 9 (Hunter
2, Horton 2, Shepherd 2, Abram, Brown, Sims). Technical
45 - 74
41 - 78
At: Crisier Arena
Horton 3 34.3 17.3 3.0 4.0
Sims 3 27.3 15.3 7.0 .3
Abram 3 32.7 14.7 3.0 .7
Harris 3 22.7 6.7 1.0 2.7
coleman 3 15.0 4.7 2.3 1.0
Hunter 3 15.3 4.0 4.7 .7
Brown 3 20.3 3.3 6.0 .7
Shepherd 3 11.3 2.7 2.3 .3
Smith 3 17.7 2.7 0.3 4.7
Ba 2 4.0 1.0 1.0 0.0
Abram 34 6-9 1-1 0-4 2 3 15
Sims 30 10-14 1-3 4-7 0 3 21
Brown 23 0-2 0-0 1-4 1 2 0
Horton 38 9-13 9-9 0-4 7 2 28
Harris 31 3-9 0-0 1-2 3 0 7
Smith 12 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 2 0
Shepherd 5 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
coleman 18 3-5 0-0 0-1 0 0 7
Hunter 9 0-3 0-0 0-3 1 2 0
BIG TEN STANDINGS
I Big Ten Overall
(C. Sims, G. Brown,
S. Harrell, A. Brzozowicz)
(21, 56, 0)
Illinois 0-0 5-0
Wisconsin 0-0 4-0
Indiana 0-0 3-0
Michigan 0-0 3-0
Penn State 0-0 3-0
Minnesota 0-0 2-0
Ohio State 0-0 2-0
Iowa 0-0 4-1
Purdue 0-0 2-1
Mich. State 0-0 3-2
MICHIGAN 78, Butler 74;
PENN STATE 80, LIU 64;
Coastal Carolina 54;
Xavier 74, Purdue 55;
IOWA 79, UTSA 46;
W. ILLINOIS 79;
Illinois 77, Rutgers 57;
Michigan St. 84,
IUPU-Ft. Wayne 73.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
(D. Harris, C. Hunter,
A. Ba, H. Grooms)
(7, 34, 0)
Virginia Tech at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m.
Wisconsin at Wake Forest, 7 p.m.
Purdue at Florida State, 7:30 p.m.
clemson at Penn State, 8 p.m.
Illinois at North Carolina, 9 p.m.
Miami at Michigan, 9:30 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Minnesota at Maryland, 7 p.m.