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January 05, 2006 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-05

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsThursday - January 5, 2006

Injury
bug bites
Abram
in toe
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON - After guiding
a team that could have benefitted from
a MASH squad last season, Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker was excited to
finally have a full team in uniform in a
conference game on Tuesday - the first
time in more than a year.
Or at least that's what he thought he'd
have.
Redshirt junior Lester Abram unex-
pectedly missed the team's biggest
game of the year so far, leaving Mich-
igan without, arguably, its most com-
plete player.
"I was bragging to Tommy about
having all his guys the other day,"
Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "But
then Abram got hurt the other night
... they definitely missed him."
Abram injured the big toe on his
right foot during Saturday's game
against Chicago State. He tested it
out before the game but decided he
couldn't participate. The wing doesn't
know whether or not there is a frac-
ture nor an approximate timetable for
his return. He was scheduled to have
an X-ray yesterday.
"It was real hard," Abram said.
"I was injured last year. I don't
want to be sitting on the bench
watching my team lose ball-
games that I think we can win."
Amaker stated Michigan planned on
having Abram guard Indiana sopho-
more Robert Vaden, who tore the
Wolverines apart for 17 second-half
points. But even though he admit-
ted Abram's injury "didn't help," he
refused to point to that as a reason
for the loss.
"For the most part, we were doing a
pretty decent job (guarding Vaden),"
Amaker said. "I just thought he had a
flurry there where he made some big
baskets for his team."
In his second start of the season, soph-
omore Ron Coleman played in place of
Abram. But Coleman went scoreless and
freshman Jevohn Shepherd collected the
bulk of the available minutes. Shepherd
scored three points in the first half and

Brown's 21 boards not*
enough in close loss.

By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON - Indiana coach Mike Davis sang
the praises of sophomore Robert Vaden and his impressive
second half during his post-game interviews Tuesday. But
the fiery coach admitted a Michigan player shined even
brighter.
The praise wasn't directed toward guards Daniel Horton
or Dion Harris, who combined for 39 points on the night.
Nor was it of junior Courtney Sims, who won the Big Ten
Player of Week award last month.
Davis's awe was inspired by the Wolverines' less-cel-
ebrated senior forward, Graham Brown. The senior didn't
put up offensive numbers like his backcourt teammates, but
his effort on the glass led the Wolverines to a near upset of
No. 16 Indiana.
"Brown was fantastic," Davis said. "If he plays well this
weekend, he definitely should be Big Ten Player of the Week
(after grabbing) 21 rebounds (Tuesday)."
The Mio native helped keep the Wolverines in the game
early while the team struggled offensively. Despite begin-
ning the game 4-for-21 and finishing the first half shooting a
disappointing 31 percent from the field, Michigan went into
halftime tied against the host Hoosiers. This was mainly
due to Brown's effort on the boards.
He corralled 11 rebounds in the opening half - one fewer
than Indiana's team total. Five of those came on the offensive
glass, and keeping a number of Michigan possessions alive.
"I was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team,"
Brown said. "I was trying to get a couple offensive rebounds
and a couple more offensive possessions for our team."
Although the Wolverines' offensive performance picked

up in the second half, Brown's determination remained con-
stant, and his teammates saw no dropoff from his first-half
rebounding clinic. In the second half he grabbed nine addi-
tional defensive rebounds and one more offensive board,
giving him a career-high total of 21 for the game.
"If the ball was up on the backboard, I was trying to get
it," Brown said.
One specific rebound midway through the second half
epitomized his grit. Following a missed 3-pointer from
Indiana guard Earl Calloway, Brown boxed out two Hoo-
siers and secured the rebound. He then proceeded to fight
off a double-team to find Harris, who took the ball upcourt
and hit a pull-up three, cutting the Indiana lead to three.
Brown's rebounding propelled Michigan to a 42-29
advantage on the glass against Indiana - one of the Big
Ten's most potent frontcourts. But the gaudy 26-12 first-half
rebounding margin was the key to that stat. The Hoosiers
actually outrebounded Michigan 17-16 in the final frame.
Key boards late in the game produced second-chance bas-
kets for Indiana.
Vaden grabbed offensive rebounds twice in the final five
minutes following missed free throws. His teammates pro-
duced five other second-half offensive rebounds, leading
them to 16 second-chance points for the game.
"They just out-toughened us at the end," Sims said. "They
got a little more physical and we weren't being smart with
our blockouts, and we lost them a couple times."
The 6-foot-11 Sims managed a season-low one rebound on
the night despite being the tallest player on either team. He came
into the game averaging 7.9 rebounds per game on the season.
"He wasn't as productive as we need him to be," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said of Sims. "We need more
from him. There's no question about it."

Redshirt junior Lester Abram was forced to watch from the sidelines in the
Wolverines' loss.

showed a lot of energy on the defensive
end, trying to stifle a dangerous Indiana
team.
"My main focus is intensity on the
defensive end when I get into the game,"
Shepherd said.
But the freshman's solid first half didn't
roll into the second half, and he finished
the game 1-for-7 with three turnovers.
But Abram was still impressed with the
performances of his young players.
"I was proud of the people who
stepped into my position today" Abram
said. "They really stepped it up and made
it a ballgame."
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Although Abram
missed a game for the first time this
year, Michigan received helped in the
form of forward Brent Petway. After
being declared academically ineligible
for the first semester, the junior saw his
first action this year. But it was uncertain
until late in the afternoon if he could
even play.
Petway flew in just hours before tipoff
after finishing what Amaker called "last
minute paperwork." Petway found his
way onto the court at Assembly Hall
six minutes into the game, entering for
teammate Graham Brown.
"It felt good to walk in here and put
on the uniform again," Petway said. "It

just felt good to be around the guys and
the game atmosphere and be back on the
court again."
On the first offensive possession, he
tipped in a Chris Hunter miss. But those
would be the only points the junior would
score. He collected two quick fouls and
didn't see action again until the second
half.
"I had a lot of adrenaline on the court
the first time I stepped on, and I had to
try and control it," he said.
He finished the game 1-for-3 from the
field with one rebound and three fouls.
QUANTITY OVER QUALITY: Normally a
64 percent performance from the free
throw line means disaster, especially
when the other team shoots 80 percent.
But Indiana's poor percentage from the
free throw line still resulted in 12 more
points than Michigan could muster.
The Wolverines (4-for-5) shot well,
but weren't aggressive enough with their
drives to draw the fouls inside. Indiana
(16-for-25) shot poorly, but the Hoosiers'
aggression gave them multiple trips to the
line. Senior Marco Killingsworth found
himself at the line 11 times - twice as
many as Michigan combined.
"We didn't get to the foul line and they
did," Amaker said. "I thought that was
the difference."

HOOSIERS
Continued from page 1B
"When Vaden moves to the four
- power forward - he's the second big-
gest guy on floor (for Indiana);' Amaker
said. "He stretches you because he can put
it down or drive it. He's a big weapon for
their team."
Indiana also received a spark from
guard Roderick Wilmont, who contrib-
uted 12 points. Wilmont came off the
bench in the second half and ignited the
crowd of 13,619 into a frenzy on two
rim-rattling dunks.
The first Wilmont dunk came off a
turnover by freshman Jevohn Shepherd
which Wilmont took the distance of the
court to slam home. Then, when guard
Lewis Monroe attempted a lay-up, the
ball bounced hard off the backboard to
a waiting Wilmont, who emphatically
put it back.
Senior Daniel Horton led the charge
for the Wolverines, scoring a game-high
20 points. After a first half in which
he shot just 1-for-7 from the field and
committed four turnovers, the guard

responded in the second half with 18
points on 7-for-10 shooting.
"I just tried to keep playing," Hor-
ton said. "I think that I took some good
shots in the first half, but I just missed
them. I didn't want to take myself out of
the game mentally, and, because I was
able to stay in the game, I think that my
shots started falling."
Although Indiana mounted an unan-
swered surge late in the second half, the
Wolverines ultimately doomed themselves
with 22 turnovers.
"As a team, I think that we have to get
better at taking care of the ball;' Horton
said. "I think that I'm at the head of that. If
we do that, and I get us to value the ball a
little more, then we'll be a lot better."
Whenever Michigan had a chance
to get itself back in the game, careless
passes continually disrupted the Wolver-
ines' offensive flow. The Michigan play-
ers looked flustered in their offensive sets.
Without their transition game, the Wol-
verines failed to execute in their halfcourt
offense on numerous occasions.
In the first half, the Wolverines stayed in
the game by crashing the offensive glass.
At the end of first half, Michigan held a

13-3 edge in offensive rebounds. The Wol-
verines shot just 31 percent from the floor
in the first half, but Harris came up with
several key shots and Brown grabbed five
offensive rebounds to allow Michigan to
trot into its locker room with the score tied
at 24.
The Wolverines also utilized a suffocat-
ing defense, which limited Indiana to just
eight field goals in the first half.
"Michigan played well defensively,"
Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "They
really attacked the offensive glass, and we
had no answer for them."
Even though Michigan suffered a
potentially demoralizing loss on 'Ibesday,
Horton believes that the Wolverines can
bounce back and learn from their mistakes
against Indiana.
"We came in here and battled
hard for 40 minutes against a really
good Indiana team," Horton said.
"We have to do a better job of - tak-
ing care of the ball and getting key
rebounds at the end. The ball isn't
always going to bounce your way, so
we know that we have to learn from
this loss and get ready for Purdue on
Saturday."

1

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