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January 22, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-22

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com January 22, 2008



The Michigan hockeyteam had plenty to celebrate this weekend, including a last-second win over Notre Dane Friday
Caporusso nets The best? J
clincher for 'M' wa

Daily Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS - Louie Capo-
russo has plenty to be excited about.
Two game-clinching, fist-pump-
preceding goals can make for a pretty
memorable weekend.
The Wolverines won 3-2 Friday and
5-1 Saturday. Michigan is off to its best
start in the program's 85-year history:
At first, Friday's game looked like it
would have anything but a storybook
The Fighting Irish clearly dominat-
ed the first period of the match, jump-
ing all over the top-ranked Wolverines
to the tune of two goals and a myriad
of scoring chances. Notre Dame was
also stout on defense, limiting Michi-
gan to just nine shots on goal.
That left 40 minutes for the Wol-
verines to complete the most excit-
ing, dramatic comeback of the season
- and they needed every one of those
40 to do it.
With less than 30 seconds left in the
game, Caporusso, found a rebounded
shot from forward Brandon Naurato
and poked it past goaltender Jordan

Pearce. The lamp lit with just 20.3
seconds showing on the scoreboard as
Caporusso crashed headlong into the
boards, surrounded by a massive pile
of maize-and-blue-clad celebrators.
The Yost Ice Arena crowd went ber-
serk, igniting in chants of, "It's great to
be a Michigan Wolverine," as the last
seconds ticked away.
"I think if we would've got off to
a better start, we wouldn't have had
to end it like that, even though it
was exciting." Caporusso said of the
white-knuckled third period. "It was
definitely one of the biggest goals of
my career."
But Michigan almost didn't have a
chance to notch the game-winner.
With 17 minutes left, sophomore
Chris Summers took a five-minute
major and a game-misconduct for
checking from behind. With the Irish
offensive pressure on full tilt, the Wol-
verines struggled to clear the puck,
defending their own zone for almost
the entire five minutes with very few
line changes.
The Michigan defense methodical-
ly blocked shot after shot, killing each
minute with increasing ease.
See IRISH, Page 2B

umber 1?
Not yet.
After this weekend's
sweep of Notre Dame, it's easy to see
how Michigan,
once a warm- .
and-fuzzy sur-
prise story, is
now the nation's
top-ranked team
by a convinc-
ing margin.
The Wolverines -
epitomize team- COURTNEY
work. They're a RATKOWIAK
group of selfless,-
talented kids
.without egos or superstardom. And if
you pick an athlete at random, there's
a 50-percent chance he's a freshman
- which makes this start that much
more impressive.
Yes, this Michigan team is some-
thing special.
All right. That's easy to say. But the
rationale isn't very interesting.
This team may be 22-2, but six
minutes into their first legitimate
CCHA test, the Wolverines were

An own-goal.
A frazzled, vulne:
Two scores down
the Wolverines need
shot at the confereni
' And it looked like
to lose - badly.
In the end, when]
slapped the puck int
the net with 20 seco
Yost Arena crowd ex
exciting game of Mi
(no, the double-over
Michigan Tech to w
LakesInvitational d
to this) proved what
been saying for awh
The Wolverines a
best in the nation. A
because they can be
Michigans or Lake S
the world.
It's because theyc
ute majors inthe thi
toughest game whil(
returning to full str
the ones with the ed
chance to win.
It's because theyf
crowd and each oth

Beilein to
focus on 'D'-
in future
Michigan's rocky start can be
attributed to less-than-stellar
defense, especially in the post
Daily Sports Editor
During yesterday's pre-practice press conference
Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein's body
language was clear: He was more interested in going
RODRIGO GAYA/Daiy over film with his team than
answering questions. IOWA 68
But three days after MICHIGAN 60
another conference loss, 68-
60 to Iowa, questions are all
Athat surround the Michigan basketball team.
u s t Why are the Wolverines inconsistent on offense?
Why is the defense struggling?
Why is this transition so difficult?
But the most pressing question is: How can the
Wolverines put themselves into a position to finish the
season strong?
"We've been in the situation where we haven't
pulled the game out, and I think that wears on you,"
redshirt junior C.J. Lee said. "The tougher the game
gets, the tougher we have to get. I think we're fighting
rable goalie. through that but obviously not well enough to win the
against a team game."
led to beat for a Iowa's duo.of Tony Freeman and Cyrus Tate was
ce title. Michigan's biggest problem Saturday.
they were going Freeman led all scorers with 28 points, more than
half of which came from the outside. Tate dominated
Louie Caporusso under the basket, scoring 21 points and collecting 11
o the back of rebounds.
nds left and the But Freeman and Tate are just two more players
xploded, the most on a long list who've put up big numbers against the
chigan's season Wolverines in conference play this season.
time win against Wisconsin's Jon Leuer (25 points), Purdue's Keaton
in the Great Grant (17), Indiana's Eric Gordon and D.J. White (23
idn't come close and 21, respectively) and Illinois' Brian Randle and
the polls have Shaun Pruitt (19 each) have all taken advantage of
ile now. both good luck and bad defense.
re among the Beilein said Monday Michigan's defense is his big-
nd it's not gest concern.
at the Western "It's not a coincidence," Beilein said. "I mean, peo-
uperior States of ple are shooting 41 percent from three on us. That
can't be a coincidence."
can kill five-min- He wasn't quite sure what the problem was, but he
ird period of their believed factors like size and strength disadvantages
e tied and, after may be a reason opposing players have played so well
engh, they're against the Wolverines.
[ge and the best Michigan hasn't been helped by their zone defense.
Since most zones give up the three-point shot, oppo-
feed off the nents will have more open looks from beyond the arc
er. As Michigan than usual.
KOWIAK, Page 5B With the Wolverines struggling to play consistent
offense, any hot streak by an opposing team will be
difficult for Michigan to overcome.
In Saturday's game, the Hawkeyes scored the last
eight points of the first half to take a 29-27 lead. That
carried over into the second frame where the Wolver-
ines were outscored 21-9 in the first fifteen minutes.
Once Michigan finally woke up, it was too late.
Freshman Manny Harris and sophomore DeShawn
Sims led the late-game charge, scoring 18 of Mich-
igan's 24 points in the final five minutes. Freshman
Kelvin Grady scored the other six.
The biggest play of the night came with less than
a minute and ahalf left and Michigan trailing 58-50.
Harris sent the near-sellout crowd into a frenzy when
he hit his 3-point shot and drew a foul. He completed
the four-point play to cut the Hawkeye lead in half
The Wolverines traded baskets with Iowa on the
next two possessions, and a Sims 3-pointer made it 63-
60 with less than forty seconds to play.
But Michigan failed to create a turnover, and the
Hawkeyes putthe game away with free throws.
"We still lost," Sims said following the game. "We
were looking to win this game more than anything,
and (the comeback) does nothing for our confidence."
ROB MiGRIN/Daily Heading into tonight's game at Wisconsin, the big
d to just five points in question will be: If Michigan can't find confidence
n State. now, when can it?

Nittany Lions shut down
Phillips en route to victory

Without presence in paint or
perimeter game, M' falters
Daily Sports Writer
STATE COLLEGE -It's easy to stop the Michigan
women's basketball team's offense.
All you have to do is shut
down center Krista Phillips MICHIGAN 57
and the Wolverines' confer- PENN STATE 68
ence-best 3-point shooting.
It might be easier said than done, but Penn State did

After its miracle comeback last Thursday at Wiscon-
sin, the Wolverinesowere unable to pull off a win in State
College, losingto Penn State, 68-57, at the Bryce Jordan
Michigan's offense (4-3 Big Ten, 11-6 overall) strug-
gled in the second half, turning the ball over 10 times.
The Wolverines' shooting also cooled off drastically
after halftime - Michigan made 37.5 percent of their
shots compared to 58.3 percent in the first half.
Phillips led the team with 18 points and 11 rebounds,
but scored 13 of her points in the first half. The Penn
State defense tightened on Phillips in the second, limit-
ing her to just five points.
"We were banging around down low and trying to
keep her off the block," Penn State center Janesse Wolff

Sophomore Krista Phillips was limited
the second half of Sunday's loss at Pen


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