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November 30, 2005 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-30

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Wednesday
November 30, 2005
sports. michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily. com

PeOR9ittig tSiig

10

0

Cagers ide
second half
run to Win
over Miami
By Scott Boll
Daily Sports Writer
With an uncharacteristically bad first half behind
it, Michigan knew it needed a strong second half to
secure a victory.
The Wolverines didn't disappoint, and, in the
second half, a rejuvenated squad on both sides of
the ball proved they could play
how Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker thinks they should.
"I thought we were a little
out of character in the first half," Amaker said.
"But I thought we really came back to Earth and
were very efficient in the second half. ... Obvi-
ously this is a significant win for our program at
this juncture."
Michigan (4-0) used an 18-4 run in the second
half to pull away from the visiting Hurricanes and
cruise to a 74-53 victory.
With the score 38-32 early in the second half,
Michigan looked to Daniel Horton to push the ball
up court. He found junior Dion Harris, who caught
the pass in the corner and proceeded to drive hard
down the baseline. After a subtle pump fake, Har-
ris found a driving Chris Hunter who emphatical-
ly dunked the ball and ignited the Crisler Arena
crowd. The Michigan defense smothered the Hur-
ricanes in the next five minutes, and the Wolver-
ines' offense didn't miss a beat.
Five Wolverines posted double figures, led by
Harris's 16 points. Fellow juniors Courtney Sims
and Lester Abram had 14 and 12 points, respective-
ly, with seniors Horton and Chris Hunter rounding
it out with 13 and 11 points.
"Anytime we can come out and have a team
effort like that, it makes it hard for other teams to
prepare for us," Horton said.
The Hurricanes (4-3) tried to ride the shoulders
of star Guillermo Diaz, but his 21 points weren't
enough to topple a Michigan squad poised to put
together a strong second half.
After just seven assists and 10 turnovers in the
first half, the Wolverines played a much cleaner
second frame. They again collected seven assists
but committed just two turnovers en route to their
most impressive win of the young season.
Senior Graham Brown led the Wolverines on
the defensive end, drawing four charges to keep the
Crisler Arena crowd rocking. His 11 rebounds were
tops for Michigan, who out-rebounded Miami by a

Brown ain't alone:

'M

hustles to win

's a familiar sight for Michigan basketball
fans. Forward Graham Brown sprawled
ut on the court, staring at the ceiling, as
the referee points in the opposite
direction to indicate a charging
foul on the opposition. Hustle plays
like these have made Brown a fan
favorite during his three-plus years
in Ann Arbor. Too often, though,
only Brown performs the nitty-
gritty work for the Wolverines.
But last night, for once, the
entire squad contracted a major
case of the "Hambone hustle_
disease," and let me tell you - it M
was a beautiful sight to behold. SID
Michigan didn't play a perfect
game by any stretch of the imagi- Spitt
nation, but the Wolverines dis-
played a sheer determination that reflected the
6-foot-9 senior's play. From tipoff until the final
whistle, Michigan played as if it wanted to win
- played as if it needed to - and the result
was a 74-53 statement win over Miami.
Another less focused version of the Wolver-
ines would have gotten discouraged early on
after they missed their first eight field goals.
But last night, Michigan simply used its early
shooting woes as motivation to bear down and
dispatch the Hurricanes. The "hustle" stats
were spectacular - 18 offensive rebounds
leading to 18 points, eight steals, 19 forced
turnovers - but they certainly didn't tell the
whole story.
Brown, not surprisingly, typified Michigan's
resilience. His first four shots were rejected by
the athletic Miami frontcourt, an embarrassing
start that might lead even the most disciplined
player to put his head down. But Brown was
determined to make up for it, and he later
drew four charges to cancel out the Hurricane
blocks.
Brown's defensive hustle wasn't the excep-
tion for the Wolverines - it was the rule.
Miami has had a rocky start to the season,
losing to Air Force and Temple, but the team's
offensive talent is undeniable. Backcourt
stars Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite can
score with the best of them, and wide-bodied
Anthony King has the talent to finish around
the basket. And even though Diaz notched 21
points - most of which came after the game
was already out of reach - there's no question
that the Wolverines played their best defensive
game so far this season.
Most impressively, the entire team got into
the defensive act. Brown was taking charges,
guards Daniel Horton and Dion Harris were
pressuring Miami's ball handlers, wing Lester
Abram was picking off passes, while Courtney

Sims and Chris Hunter contested almost every
opportunity down low. When a Miami player
got free, another Wolverine rotated to stop
him.

On the other side of the court,
Michigan cleaned the glass with
the zest of an overzealous win-
dow-washer. The Wolverines
never shot particularly well, but,
thanks to their aggressiveness
crashing the boards, it didn't
matter. Once again, Brown led
the team's impressive effort,
notching five offensive rebounds.
But he wasn't alone, and every
Wolverine who played more than
10 minutes picked up at least one
offensive board.

ATT
NGER
ing Fire

40

. L

Just as Michigan's entire rota-
tion got into the hustling act, the team also
shared the ball incredibly well. Five Wolver-
ines finished in double figures while six play-
ers attempted at least six field goals. For the
most part, Michigan's players didn't force the
pace, working the ball around for the best pos-
sible shot. Tellingly, the Wolverines' leading
scorer, junior Dion Harris, also led the team
with six assists.
The Wolverines didn't pull away immedi-
ately, but given Michigan's energy level, it was
inevitable that the Hurricanes would eventually
buckle. The Wolverines' effort was typified in
a momentous sequence beginning four minutes
into the second half. Harris pulled off a spin
move from the right corner, drove to the hoop
and dished to Hunter for the emphatic jam,
giving Michigan a 40-32 lead. Then, the Wol-
verines' defensive pressure forced Diaz out near
the midcourt line with just eight seconds on the
shot clock. Diaz drove, but Horton stuck with
him and drew the offensive foul, sending 8,257
fans at Crisler Arena into a goose bump-induc-
ing frenzy. Five minutes later, Michigan was up
by 17, cruising to an eye-opening early-season
victory.
It's true that Miami isn't quite the cream of
the ACC's crop. No doubt, the road will get
much tougher as Michigan's season progresses.
But last night represented the season's greatest
test thus far, and the Wolverines passed with
flying colors. For the first time in my memory,
every player in Maize and Blue played with
fire, played with heart and played with intel-
ligence. Put simply, if coach Tommy Amaker
can bottle up what he got out of his team last
night, this Michigan squad might finally reach
its sky-high potential.

JASONCOOE R yaily

Junior Dion Harris led the Wolverines with 16 points in their victory over Miami yesterday.

42-27 margin - with 18 off the offensive glass.
"I think that's a key thing we try to do; we try
to hit the glass," Brown said. "Our guards did a
great job shutting down their guards defensively
... (but before this game) we were lacking on the
offensive boards so (last night) we triel to hit the
glass hard."
After a sloppy beginning to the first half in
which both teams struggled to find their respective
rhythms, stellar free throw shooting gave Michi-
gan the early lead. Despite missing their first eight
shots, the Wolverines managed to lead most of the
half because of their 10-for-I1 mark at the charity
stripe.
Defensively, Horton had shut down Diaz

throughout the first part of the half. The junior
managed just three points in the first 12 minutes
of the game.
"I thought Daniel's presence and defensive
tenacity on Diaz set the tone early for our team,"
Amaker said.
But when Horton went to the bench after pick-
ing up his second foul, it looked as if Michigan's
lead was in danger. But the Wolverines' advantage
actually grew in the final eight minutes - all with
Horton on the bench. Diaz was limited to just three
more points and was smothered by Abram and
Harris in the late stages of the half. Hunter scored
seven points in that span to propel Michigan's
offense.

- Matt Singer can be reached
at mattsing@umich.edu

Blue looks within key for win

By Ian Robinson on the left wing for a mid-range jumper.
Daily Sports Writer On the next possession, junior Kelly
Helvey found sophomore Ta'Shia Walker
It is often said that one must look inside cutting on the right side of the lane. Walker
to find the answer to life's problems. caught the ball, spun around a defender and

The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team might find the
cure to its losing ways by fol-
lowing that advice - looking
inside to its post players.
Following Saturday's 61-55
overtime loss to Toledo - a
game in which the team scored
just nine points in the paint -
Michigan coach Cheryl Bur-

. T P ri/S
f e T tJ/+4 M
1 M;i' f

laid the ball in off the glass.
"I thought our kids adjusted
nicely in the first of the sec-
ond half," Burnett said. "The
posts started getting more
looks. But you have to hit
those outside shots to pull the
Atrn zone out for the inside men to
be open."
Working against the Rock-
ets' zone defense for much of
the game, Michigan appeared to settle for
open perimeter shots without attempting to
get the ball inside.
In overtime, the Wolverines took four
of its five field goal attempts from behind
the arc and were outscored 10-4. The Wol-
verines went 4-for-4 at the line in the extra
period.
The Wolverines (2-3) will get a chance

to even their record when they host Central
Michigan at Crisler Arena tonight at 7 p.m.
The Chippewas (3-0) enter the game
undefeated, with their latest win a 69-61
victory over Indiana University-Purdue
University Fort Wayne on Saturday in Mt.
Pleasant.
In its first three games, Central Michi-
gan relied heavily on its starting five. The
Chippewas start three guards and two for-
wards - only two of whom are taller than
5-foot-9.
In its first five games, Michigan started
seven different players over 6-feet tall.
This height advantage should allow the
Michigan post players to get plenty of
opportunities against Central.
Even if the Wolverines cannot convert on
their opportunities in the post, they should
be able to draw fouls and get to the free
throw line. Michigan is undefeated this
season when it attempts more free throws
than its opponent but has yet to win a game
in which its opponent attempted more free
throws.

nett said that her frontcourt
must get more involved in the offense.
"We know that our post (players) need to
get the basketball," Burnett said.
At the beginning of second half, the
Wolverines found success by taking the
ball into the paint.
Michigan's first field goal of the frame
came on a feed from freshman Jessica Min-
nfield to freshman center Stephany Skrba

Michigan freshman Stephany Skrba has grabbed 25 rebounds in five games this season.

I

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