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November 12, 2007 - Image 14

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6B - November 12, 2007

The Michigan Daily- michigandaily.com

fiB - November12, 2007 The Michigan Daily - michigandailv.com I

MICHIGAN 70, BROWN 54
A FRESH START

40

Beilein
and Co.
take care
of Brown
By H. JOSE BOSCH
Daily Sports Editor
It wasn't flashy, but the Michigan
men's basketball team got the job done
yesterday afternoon with a 70-54 win
over Brown.
The Wolverine offense started hot
but cooled off in the opening frame
largely because of the Bears 1-3-1 zone
defense and full court press.
"This might be the third time that
we've even seen it," Michigan coach
John Beilein said of the defensive set.
Michigan began the game with a 9-0
run and held a 12-2 lead after the first
four-and-a-half minutes of play. That's
when Brown (1-1) switched to its zone
and went on a run of its own, capped off
by a Mark MacDonald 3-point shot to
close the gap 15-10.
But the Wolverines (2-0) pulled away
thanks to 3-pointers from freshman
Manny Harris and sophomore DeShawn
Sims-on three consecutive possessions.
"It's just a shot," Sims said. "The
more you shoot, the more comfortable
you become when you shoot it even in a
game atmosphere. I felt pretty comfort-
able today."
Harris and Sims shot a combined 6-
for-9 from beyond the are, and the team
as a whole shot 50 percent.
Despite better shooting, the Wolver-
ines turned the ball over 14 times - six
more than their first contest. Coupled
with 18 assists, Michigan failed to stay
at Beilein's desired 2-to-1ratio.
"They switched up their defense a
lot," senior Ron Coleman said. "You
have togive themcredit for pressing. We
don't really work on that alot, and when
they were pressing up on us like that, it
slowed us down a little bit, but we just
have to work on that and get better."
Void of the excitement and anticipa-
tion clear at Beilein's regular-season
debut Friday against Radford, Michi-
gan's second game of the season had a
few crowd-pleasing moments.
With fewer than 10 seconds left in
the first half, Beilein called a play that
seemed to be dead, but just before the
final horn sounded, Harris found fresh-
man Anthony Wright open deep on the
left side and the Sterling, Va., native hit
the trey to bring the crowd to its feet.
And early in the second half, fresh-

Frosh shine
in backcourt
By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
Since they're freshmen, it's excusable if Kelvin
Grady and Manny Harris aren't fully aware of just how
well they played in Michigan's two wins this weekend.
Asked to critique his and Harris's combined eight-
assist, one-turnover performance against Radford Fri-
day, Grady sounded confused.
"I thought I had a couple turnovers," Grady said.
He then turned to senior Jerret Smith and asked,
"When you throw the ball, and the other team hits it
out-of-bounds, is that a turnover?"
Smith couldn't help but smile and chuckle at the 18-
year-old's bewilderment since a turnover involves giv-
ing the ball up to the other team.
But there's nothing uncertain about how smoothly
Grady and Harris have transitioned into college bas-
ketball.
Grady followed up his 11-point, four-assist perfor-
mance against the Highlanders Friday with a 10-point,
two-assist showing in Michigan's win yesterday.
Not to be outdone, Harris - Michigan's Mr. Basket-
ball last year - began his highly anticipated Wolverine
career by scoring 13 and 22 points in the two games,
respectively. The pair ignited the crowd yesterday,
scoring 16 of the team's first 24 points.
Friday saw the two connect for several highlight-
reel finishes. The duo, who room together in West
Quad Residence Hall, have developed quite the con-
nection consideringthey've only known each other for
a few months.
"We both have fun on and off the court," Grady said
after yesterday's contest. "And I think the off the court
really comes out when we're on the court. He's a fun
guy, and all that comes together. Some might not think
that really matters, butoff the courtwe really click, and
on the court it shows."
Harris has shown he deserves all the hype. The
Detroit native can take it to the rack off the dribble,
as well as consistently knock down open shots when
defenses respect his slashingskills.
Grady, on the other hand, wasn't expected to make
such an impact from the-get-go. But with Smith out
for the weekend due to injury, Grady was thrust into a
starting role alongside Harris in the backcourt.
Thursday, Michigan coach John Beilein told the two
freshmen they would be starting. That left Harris and
Grady some time to discuss what needed to be done
before hitting the sack in their dorm room.
"We said, 'We got this opportunity and now we have
to go out and go hard so we can keep it,' "Harris said
following Friday's contest.
The positive vibes from the freshman backcourt
have quickly transferred over to the rest of the team.
Last year's constant apprehension over starting roles is
no longer in the locker room between Smith and Grady
- who both could see time at the starting point guard
position this season.
"Their bonding has brought everybody else togeth-
er," senior Ron Coleman said. "They talk and tell us to'
play hard. And that's great when you hear young guys
tryingto lead like that."
If the duo helps lead the Wolverines back to promi-
nence, Beilein and tIe rest of the team can stand for a
few stat misinterpretations in the locker room.

M

a

4

Freshman Manny Harris tallied a combined 35 points in two games this weekend. He made his first career start yesterday against Brown.

man Kelvin Grady drove down the left
side of the lane and wrapped a pass
around two Brown defenders.
Sims, cutting from the right wing,
took the pass in stride and threw it
down for the dunk.
Harris and Grady continued their

strong play in the backcourt. Harris led
all scorers with 22 points, and Grady
added 10 of his own.
The surprise of the afternoon was
Wright. The 6-foot-6 forward had 10
points and eight rebounds. Nine of those
points came from 3-point shots.

"Anthony just saw the rim a couple
of times, and he shot it in," Beilein said.
"He really gave us a little bit of a lift."
Michigan's two wins during the
weekend gives the team some momen-
tum going into Thursday's road contest
against No. 5 Georgetown.

MICHIGAN 67, AKRON 55

'M' zaps Zips, Walker Blue almost
leads team with huge day gives up big,

By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan coach Kevin Bors-
eth was supposed tobring the
answers to the Michigan wom-
en's basketball team, but it took
senior center Ta'Shia Walker to
lead the Wolverines to a season-
opening win.
Walker led the Wolverines
with 17 points and was a cata-
lyst for Michigan's effort in the
second half, when she scored 13
of her points, in Michigan's 67-
55 win over Akron Saturday at
Crisler Arena.
The senior opened the period
with eight of Michigan's first nine
points. Walker started down low
on the opening with a lay-up over
the Akron defense.
"She is extremely smart, and
she's crafty," Borseth said. "She
gets in the right spots especially in
the post area. She plays tough."
Walker went 8-for-19 and
picked up nine rebounds,. six of
them offensive. Although she had
just one assist, it was one of her
better plays. After getting the ball
down low, Walker kicked it out to
a wide-open Carly Benson who
drained a 3-pointer to extend
Michigan's lead to 59-46.
Walker isn't very flashy and is
short for her position - she's a 6-
foot center - but she carried the
offensive load in the second half,
and was there for Michigan at
the end of the game when Akron
went on a run.
Akron cut the Michigan lead to
10 when the Zips' Keyla Snowden
dropped in four straight 3-point-
ers with 3:22 remaining in the
second half. Akron then scored

four more fast-break points to cut
the deficit to six.
"They went right down the gut,"
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
said. "They went right down the
middle of the lane. It's frustrat-
ing for me, frustrating for them
and frustrating for you to have to
watch it."
But Walker added a much-
needed lay-up for Michigan to end
the scoring drought and junior
Stephany Skrba - who had nine
points and 10 rebounds - added
another basket, icing the game for
Michigan.
But Walker was just happy her
team won.
"It doesn't matter who scores
the points, or who gets the
rebounds," Walker said. "As long
as we get the points and get the
rebounds and steals as a team."
The Wolverines played much
better in the second half than the
first, when they attempted 13 3-
pointers.
"In the first half, we just
bombed them, a lot of them were
out of rhythm," Borseth said.
Michigan will also have to
improve its transition defense.
Akron burned the Wolverine
defense throughout the game,
getting several easy lay-ups that
kept them in the game much lon-
ger than they should have been.
But for the first game of the
season, the Wolverines were
pleased with their performance.
Michigan gained confidence from
the win, which it will need when
the Wolverines travel to Cincin-
nati on Tuesday.
"(The game) helped us to see
our progress what we've gone
through in practice," Skrba said.

late lead
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
When junior forward Carly Ben-
son scorched the nets with a tri-
fecta to extend
Michigan's lead NOTEBOOK
to 13 with just
over three minutes left in Satur-
day's game, the Michigan women's
basketball team started to get com-
fortable.
A little too comfortable.
Akron caught the Wolverines off
guard, responding with a, 7-0 run
in the next .73 seconds. Michigan
rushed through the offense, and
the Wolverine defense just couldn't
close the Zips out in the final five
minutes.
But saying that is an understate-
ment.
"(Akron) went down the middle
every, every, every, every, every,
every time," Michigan coach Kevin
Borseth said. "Every time. Every
time our defense broke down. Let
me repeat myself - every time.
Every time the defense broke
down. Every time they went right
down the guts, right where we
didn't want them to go."
On two instances, an Akron play-
er dribbled from the corner around
the Wolverine defense and scored
a lay-up on the opposite side of the
basket. After the game, Borseth had
trouble pinpointing the reason for
Michigan's last-minute woes.
"I don't know whether or not
something from last year carried
over, and they weren't supposed
to help that," Borseth said. "I don't
know that. I sense that was part of

0

cHANEL VON H ABSBURG-LOTHRINGEN/Daily
Junior Jessica Minnfield and the Wolverines tallied a win in their season-opener for the second-straight season.

it because we just let it go. We just
didn't even address it. Do you know
how frustrating that is? It's frus-
trating for me, it's frustrating for
them, it's frustrating that you have
to watch it."
Senior Ta'Shia Walker didn't find
the game as frustrating as Borseth,
mentioning that every team has
runs. The Wolverines closed on an
8-2 response of their own.
"I thought we played really well,
but I can understand what coach is
talking about because in practice,
we do things a certain way," Walker
said. "But I think it's an adjustment
period, and we're going to be fine as
the year rolls around."
FINDING THEIR RHYTHM: Just
like its exhibition against Lake -
Superior State, Michigan had trou-
ble starting strong.
The Wolverines struggled to put
their offense in motion and seemed
one step slower on the rebounding
end. Only in the second half did the

wheels start turning for Michigan.
After some adjustments at the
half, Michigan finally controlled the
pace of the game.
"That's all first-game jitters," for-
ward Stephany Skrba said., "Every-
body's moving at a faster speed or
slower speed, and after halftime, we
all kind of relaxed, and that's where
all the smoothness came in."
With Borseth reminding the
Wolverines of their perfect practice,
they moved the ball much better,
opening up better shots in the sec-
ond frame. Now, they have to exe-
cute from downtown.
Even though Michigan shot 42.9
percent from the field, it shot just
five-for-22 from behind the arc.
"You have to be able to make
threes and layups," Borseth said.
PUTTING PHILOSOPHIES
TOGETHER: Looking at the final
box score, Borseth immediately
pointed to the Wolverines' dismal
assist-to-turnover ratio. With just

eight assists and 19 turnovers, the
first-year coach acknowledged it
was the first stat-line of its kind he's
seen in 20 years.
"Our passes were pretty hesi-
tant," Borseth said. "They were just
so conscious of not trying to throw
it away that they threw it away. I
just think that we didn't play confi-
dently."
Many of Michigan's struggles can
be fixed by stressing the importance
of confidence in practice, Borseth
said. Walker admits that grasping
this concept is just as hard as the
physical philosophies the Wolver-
ines are learning.
But facing Akron's final surge,
Michigan took another mindset.
"Everybody had their heads up
and was like, 'We've got to win this
game. We have to win this game,'
" Walker said. "That was a huge
improvement from last year. We
want to play to win and not to play
not to lose."

0

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