10A - Thursday, November 16, 2006
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Controlling the paint,
Sims keeps Blue perfect
By H. JOSE BOSCH
Daily Sports Editor
Last night, forward Courtney
Sims's game echoed the sentiments
of the phrase tattooed on his right
arm: "No joke."
Carrying the team on his back,
Sims scored 10 of Michigan's final
15 points, and the Wolverines
66-59, at Crisler Arena last night.
Sims finished with a game-high 26
points, including 21 in the second
"It was nice to get that kind of
production out of Courtney," Mich-
igan coach Tommy Amaker said. "I
thought he was very tough for them
to stop. We had a size advantage
and we went to it."
With Michigan struggling to pull
away from the Panthers in the sec-
ond half, Sims was a major force in
the paint and the Wolverines' only
During the game's closing min-
utes, there was no doubt Sims was
getting the ball on the offensive
side off the court. It was hard not to
ignore his 6-foot-10 frame demand-
ing the ball down low.
And with every made bucket,
the boisterous crowd of more than
8,000 roared, giving Sims the boost
he needed to keep on attacking the
The forward's play made the
atmosphere feel a little more than
just an early season nonconference
Sims is no stranger to impres-
sive starts. Last season, the Boston
native put up big numbers against
weak nonconference foes to begin
the year but then faded into medi-
ocrity during the Big Ten season. It
remains to be seen if the same thing
will happen to him this season, but
after four games, Sims isn't looking
like the same player critics called
"weak" a year ago.
Rather than roaming the paint
without a sense of direction, Sims
is finding an opponent's body, post-
ing up and looking for the ball. But
his aggressiveness has also helped
him on the boards. Against Wiscon-
sin-Milwaukee (1-3), he grabbed 10
"Coach is on me about getting
double-doubles and averaging one,"
Sims said, "so, I want to always get
10 rebounds at least."
When the night began, it didn't
look like Michigan (4-0) would
need the play of one player to put
down the Panthers.
The Wolverines opened up the
game with an 8-0 run, capped off
by a Dion Harris field goal. Then
the tide turned against Michigan
as the Panthers began hitting 3-
Wisconsin-Milwaukee hit three
shots from beyond the arc during a
10-2 run that tied the game. From
that point on, the Wolverines' pres-
sure defense became sluggish and
their offense couldn't control the
Michigan shot an abysmal 32
percent from the field including
just 1-for-S from 3-point range.
And seven of the nine players who
saw action committed turnovers
en route to a 1:2 assist to turnover
ratio in the first half.
That's when Sims decided to do
With Michigan trailing after the
first half, Sims opened up the sec-
ond frame with a basket to tie the
game at 27. Three minutes later
and trailing by five, Sims notched
another field goal, which sparked a
12-0 run that put Michigan up 41-
The Panthers came within one at
9:19 and two at 7:52, but each time,
Sims scored to extend the Wolver-
"I have to be a leader on the
team," Sims said. "We had strong
leaders last year. So I know I have to
step up my leadership and demand
the ball and I have to be a big pres-
ence on the floor."
The Wolverines finally decided
to go down low more often, and the
move paid off. Led by senior Les-
ter Abram's five assists in the sec-
ond half, Michigan recorded nine
assists to just five turnovers.
Despite the performance by Sims
down low, Amaker would still like
to see more balance in the offense.
He said that the 1-for-9 3-point
shooting was a "telling story" about
the team's confidence level and
inability to hit big shots from out-
side in the second half.
But until the guard play becomes
more consistent, the Wolverines
have no problem feeding the ball to
Sims down low.
"You have to get it to him,"
sophomore guard Jarrett Smith
said. "When you get to that final
moment, you know who needs the
ball. Obviously, today it wasn't any
of our guards, it was Courtney."
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Senior Courtney Sims scored 26 points in Michigan's 66-59 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee last night.
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eryone hates you (on the
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hat you have," senior David
ke home games where the
hang out with friends and
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the players to spend all their
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ant or on the bus.
team will make the three-
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"This is an opportunity for our
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This week's journeys will fore-
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balance the home-heavy start. The
Wolverines will be on the road for
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style of playoff hockey.
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