The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 6, 2006 - 5B
INDIANA 69 - MICHIGAN 67
Unusual starters get 'M' off on nght foot
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Editor
Graham Brown and Daniel Hor-
ton found their names in Saturday's
starting lineup for the 100th time in
their Michigan careers. But the four-
year Wolverine starters teamed with
an unusual cast to
tip off Michigan's
regular season fina-
le against Indiana.
Senior Day 2006
ance in Michigan's
starting lineup for Amadou Ba and
Hayes Grooms. Co-captain Sher-
rod Harrell started his first game of
the season, rounding out the starting
five. In all, eight seniors entered the
game for the Wolverines.
"We just wanted to get off to a
good start, get our team going in the
right direction and let the other guys
get us home," Harrell said.
The seniors were visibly energized
for the opening moments of their
last regular-season game in Crisler
Arena. After Indiana's Robert Vaden
traveled to open the contest, Horton
took a pass from Harrell and drilled
a trey. On the ensuing possession,
Harrell came away with the steal, set-
ting up an inside bucket for Brown.
With 18:24 to go, Hoosier big man
Marco Killingsworth was whistled
for walking as he backed down Ba.
Then, Michigan's usual starters -
Courtney Sims, Dion Harris and Ron
Coleman - checked into the game.
But Grooms, Ba and Harrell strutted
off the court with their heads held
high. In the opening minute and a
half, the starting lineup had jumped
out to a 5-0 lead, and the sold-out
Crisler crowd rewarded them with a
"We knew that it would possibly be
our last time, and we tried to leave it
out there for however long we were
out there," Harrell said.
Said Brown: "Those guys came
out ready to play. They've maybe
not been getting the most minutes
throughout the season but they came
out ready to play and gave us some-
thing to build off of."
Saturday's game was enormously
important - a win would have likely
locked up an NCAA Tournament berth
- but coach Tommy Amaker never
considered breaking tradition and
going with his normal starting five.
"I had no question about (starting
the seniors) whatsoever," Amaker
said. "I'm really glad we did it. They
gave us a terrific start."
Although Senior Day's emotional
boost helped carry Michigan to an
early 12-1 lead, it did not last. Indiana
regained its composure and stormed
back to win 69 to 67. After four years
of ups and downs, the Wolverines'
departing seniors left their last reg-
ular-season game in Crisler Arena
with an all-too-familiar bitter taste.
TURNOVER TRAVESTY: Michigan's inabil-
ity to take care of the ball proved critical
in its defeat. The Wolverines commit-
ted a season-high 24 turnovers and
tied its season low with seven assists.
Michigan's ballhandlers, especially,
had major difficulty setting up their
teammates for shots. Point guards
Horton, Grooms and Jerret Smith
combined for zero assists and 11
turnovers. Michigan's ball movement
was so anemic that center Courtney
Sims - who averages less than one
assist per game - led the team with
Meanwhile, the Wolverines' ball-
handlers had major difficulty setting
up their teammates for shots.
"The undoing for us was 24 turn-
overs," Amaker said. "I think early
for us, kids were trying too hard,
doing too much."
INJURY UPDATE: Both Lester Abram
(ankle) and Chris Hunter (knee)
warmed up prior to Saturday's game.
Abram looked limber in warm-ups, and
Amaker said the wing wanted to play.
But Amaker said he "didn't feel com-
fortable" putting Abram in the lineup.
There is a good chance Abram will be
back for the Big Ten Tournament, but
Hunter's return is less likely.
NOTES: Horton went 13-for-13 from
the foul line, raising his Big Ten sea-
son total to 89-for-91 (97.8 percent)
and overall total to 119-for-127 (92.7
percent). He is on pace to set Big Ten
records in both categories. ... The
sell-out was Michigan's fourth of the
season at Crisler Arena.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
On Senior Day, Horton was the
Wolverines' only legitimate scoring.
threat. He scored a game-high 34
points, including a perfect 13-for-13
total from the foul line.
All game long, the wide-bodied
forward overpowered Michigan
inside. But his biggest play came
well away from the basket. He
nailed a step-back jumper over
Graham Brown to tie the game late.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
"I don't understand why ple keep
asking us - we're in the tournament.
If we don't make the Tournament,
then there's something wrong."
- Daniel Horton on Michigan's postseason stance.
The number of Michigan turnovers, a
Killingsworth 33 9-13 1-2 7-13 3 2 19
Vaden 38 4-11 2-2 0-3 0 3 13
Strickland 38 4-12 2-2 0-2 3 4 12
Ratliff 20 2-4 0-0 1-1 3 3 5
calloway 15 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 4 3
Wilmont 24 4-8 5-6 2-5 3 3 13
Monroe 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Allen 7 0-3 1-2 0-2 0 2 1
Suhr 16 1-2 0-0 1-2 2 3 3
Daniel Horton was one of eight seniors who saw game action for
the Wolverines on Saturday.
Horton's 34 seals deal for reg-
ular-season title for Wright
(Last game's points, overall points, single-game wins)
FG%: 45.5 FT%: 75.0 3-point FG: 7-22, .318 (Vaden
3-8, Strickland 2-7, Suhr 1-2, Allen 0-2, Wilmont 0-2).
Blocks: 1 (Ratliff). Steals: 10 (calloway 3, Killingsworth
2, Strickland 2, Wilmont 2, Vaden). Turnovers: 20 (Kill-
ingsworth 6, Vaden 5, Strickland 3, Wilmont 2, Allen,
Monroe, Ratliff, Suhr). Technical fouls: None.
(D. Horton, J. Shepherd,
B. Petway, T. Sanchez,
(39, 608, 13)
SI EVEN T AI/Laiy
Indiana's Robert Vaden helped the Hoosiers knock off the Wolverines in Ann Arbor with 13 points in 38 minutes.
Continued from page 11B
With 57 seconds to go, Indiana power forward
Marco Killingsworth - all 268 pounds of him - drib-
bled between his legs and hit a deep jump shot in Gra-
ham Brown's face to tie the game.
Then, the Wolverines somehow managed to lose
the game without even making Indiana attempt a field
Dion Harris maintains he was going for a steal when
he fouled Earl Calloway about 70 feet away from the
basket with the game deadlocked. Whether it was inad-
vertent or on purpose, any foul with 30 seconds left in a
game - let alone on the opposite side of the court - is
And with an opportunity to tie the game still in the
balance, Brown tried to begin Crisler Arena renova-
tions on his own - by nailing the speakers dangling
from the scoreboard with an errant throw that failed to
bring down the scoreboard. But it did bring down any
hopes of a victory.
That gave Brown more damaged speakers than
Courtney Sims had shot attempts.
Is this how the season is destined to end? Is this
heralded class really going to go through four years of
Michigan basketball without getting to put on its danc-
ing shoes? Will a season filled with promise be marred
by missed opportunities and mental mistakes?
Luckily for Michigan, the ending of the journey for,
the season and the seniors still remains in question.
Many of the so-called experts still think Michigan is
But the Maize and Blue once again occupy the
dreaded bubble label - a label Michigan thought it
shed with a win over Illinois the previous week.
The scary fact remains that the team is probably a
loss to Minnesota away from revisiting the NIT - cer-
tainly not a part of the team's preseason goals.
A Thursday win and a respectable performance
against Iowa the next day would more than likely result
in a tournament berth, but considering where this team
was last week, it shouldn't come down to this.
Obviously, the Wolverines don't always choose to
take this difficult route.
Most of the situations in the past two years have
been forced by circumstances beyond the players'
control - namely injuries. But purposely or not, the
Michigan basketball team is synonymous with doing
things the hard way.
But regardless of which route they take from here
on, it must be one that results in victory..
There no longer lies the margin of error that allows
a veteran team to make costly mental errors down the
And there no longer lies the rallying cry of "we'll
get 'em next year."
Unless the Wolverines become accustomed to that
winning route in the Big Ten Tournament, both the
seniors' journey and the team's once-promising season
will come upon exactly what the team ran into Satur-
A dead end.
- Scott Bell can be reached at email@example.com.
(L. Abram, R. coleman,
J. Smith, K. Price)
(10, 401, 5)
At the start of the season, I was
hoping that Daniel Horton could be
the star to carry my team and the
And at the end of the regular sea-
son, Horton has fulfilled his end of
Time after time this year the Wol-
verines' fate has rested squarely on
the play of the senior guard. And
Saturday was no different. Horton
came to play, doing everything to
carry Michigan to a victory.
Unfortunately, no one else decid-
ed to help.
When Jim Spadafore of the
Detroit News reported that Lester
Abram would return Saturday, I
was excited. When I saw Abram
warming up, I was ecstatic. But,
when he didn't play, I resigned
myself to the fact it would be
another loss for my fantasy team.
There is some hope, though.
It's likely that Abram returns to
the lineup for the Big Ten tourna-
ment. Unfortunately, I think I've
already lost my $10.
Saturday's game signified my
fantasy team coming full circle.
As the season began, Courtney
Sims and his rampant scoring led my
team to a comfortable first place.
Many people argued that his hot
start was more a product of Michi-
gan playing against weak and under-
sized teams than it was indicative of
Sims's ability to score this year..
I decided to play the waiting game,
and held onto hope that he would contin-
ue to lead my team to victories. Instead,
the skeptics wee right. Sims, and my
team, fell apart in conference season.
I appreciate Daniel Horton's val-
iant attempt to get my team some
extra points at the end of the game.
But, as important as this fantasy
basketball league is, I was shocked
to see him pass off the final shot to
an ice-cold Dion Harris.
Since coming back from injury,
Harris's struggles have been monu-
mental. His jump shot, once so pure,
now looks flat. With the Big Ten
Tournament coming up, Michigan
desperately needs Harris to regain
his pre-injury form.
Harrell 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0
Ba 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Brown 31 5-7 0-1 2-9 0 4 10
Grooms 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Horton 36 9-17 13-13 0-4 0 3 34
Sims 22 0-0 1-2 1-2 3 1 1
coleman 35 3-6 2-5 2-4 2 2 9
Harris 34 2-10 2-2 1-4 1 3 7
Petway 19 2-4 1-2 3-5 0 2 5
Smith 13 0-2 1-2 0-1 0 4 1
TEAM TOTALS 200
FG%: 45.7 FT%: 74.13-point FG: 5-16, .312 (Horton 3-6,
coleman 1-3, Harris 1-6, Petway 0-1). Blocks: 5 (Petway 2,
Coleman, Horton, Sims). Steals: 7 (Smith 2, Horton 2, Brown,
Grooms, Harrell). Tumovers: 24 (Horton 6, Brown 5, Smith
4, Harris 3, Coleman 2, Sims 2, Grooms, Petway). Technical
42 - 69 At: Crisler Arena
37 - 67 Attendance: 13,751
Horton 27 34.0 17.7 2.6 5.3
Sims 27 23.9 11.9 6.3 0.9
Abram 15 27.5 11.5 2.9 1.3
Harris 25 31.1 10.8 3.1 2.6
Hunter 24 17.1 7.0 3.3 0.4
coleman 27 21.8 6.3 2.9 0.9
Brown 27 25.0 5.5 7.6 1.3
Petway 16 16.3 5.2 3.6 0.4
Smith 21 15.4 2.8 1.3 2.2
Shepherd 24 9.3 2.0 1.2 0.6
Harrell 12 2.9 0.9 0.6 0.2
Grooms 15 7.3 0.8 0.2 0.9
Ba 11 1.8 0.3 0.2 0
Brzozowicz 1 1.0 0 0 0
(C. Sims, G. Brown,
S. Harrell, A. Brzozowicz)
(11, 479, 4)
FINAL BIG TEN STANDINGS
Big Ten Overall
Ohio State 12-4 23-4
Illinois 11-5 25-5
Iowa 11-5 22-8
Wisconsin 9-7 19-10
indiana 9-7 17-10
Mich. State 8-8 20-10
Michigan 8-8 18-9
Penn State 6-10 14-13
Northwestern 6-10 14-14
Minnesota 5-11 14-13
Purdue 3-13 9-18
Illinois 75, MICHIGAN STATE
Indiana 69, MICHIGAN 67;
IOWA 59, Wisconsin 44;
OHIO STATE 76, Purdue 57.
(D. Harris, C. Hunter,
A. Ba, H. Grooms)
(7, 454, 6)
Continued from page 1B
himself, he hit the struggling Harris
in the corner.
"We had it set up for Daniel, and
the thing he's supposed to do is make
ith nkv, and - nonracn..i1e thP. zhnt"
Michigan still had a chance, but
Brown's football-style inbounds pass
went into the speakers hanging from
the scoreboard. And the ball - along
with Michigan's hopes of winning -
came crashing down to the floor.
"Obviously, a disappointing ending
and loss," Amaker said.
In mnre .ave than one
round Big Ten Tournament game
Thursday against Minnesota should
ensure them a spot among the coun-
try's top 65 teams, but a loss leaves
open the possibility of another trip
to the NIT and a discouraging end-
ing to the careers of Amaker's first
As of CundayES1lPN com still lists
2006 Big Ten Tournament
1. Ohio State Con