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February 01, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-01

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Friday, February 1, 2008 -- 8


MINNESOTA 77, MICHIGAN 65 Wolverines get
rLoning for the Dast revenge on Irish

v v i

Notre t
the, sc
tied 3-3
the be
upon M
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said. "SI

By ALEX MANN ball in play, so you know you have
For the Daily a shot."
After starting the season with
nge against archrival No. 12 a pair of 7-0 losses at Vanderbilt
Dame (1-1) rested solely on and Kentucky, the Wolverines (0-
an Denise Muresan's racket. 2) started out yesterday's quest for
-- revenge with a solid effort, earning
ore NOTRE DAME 3 the pivotal doubles point, 2-1.
in MICHIGAN 4 "Winning the doubles point was
st- really big," junior Chisako Sugiya-
match, all eyes were fixed ma said. "Notre Dame's known for
turesan and Notre Dame rarely losing at doubles, so thatgave
Katie Potts doing battle on us confidence going into singles."
ourt. As singles play began, Michigan
winning the first set 6-3, jumped on Notre Dame, getting
n dropped the hard-fought two quick and easy straight-set
set 4-6. victories from Sugiyama and fresh-
irted to feel it after the sec- man Whitney Taney. Notre Dame
" Muresan said. "I just think rallied, though, as the Irish shot
ou've been playing as long I down sophomore Tania Mahtani,
ou learn to focus on your freshman Rika Tatsuno and junior
and zone everything else co-captain Lindsay Howard.
"We have four freshmen, and
san reared back and fired they're all very talented," said
after winner at Potts, senior co-captain Allie Shafner,
illy going up 5-2 in front of who did not play in yesterday's
tes standing shoulder-to- event because she was rehabbing
r. a surgically repaired wrist. "Right
dropping the eighth game, now they're just working out the
n looked anxious to wrap up nerves."
ch. Exhausted, she finally As for the win over Notre Dame,
he day in the ninth game by Bernstein believes a quality win like
g a Potts forehand sail over this will boost the young squad's
line, sealing the match vic- confidence.
No. 23 Michigan, 4-3. "Anytime you get a win, it feels
ise really did a great job," great," Bernstein said. "It feels
in coach Ronni Bernstein extra special when you can beat a
he's always going to put the Notre Dame."



Sophomore Ekpe Udoh scored just three points last night as Minnesota's frontcourt dominated the Wolverines

Crisler fanfare can't lead 'M' to win

Daily Sports Editor
On a night when the Michigan
basketball program celebrated
its proud past, it couldn't hide its
disheartening present.
The Wolverines dropped
another Big Ten contest at Crisler
Arena, this time to Minneso-
ta and first-year coach Tubby
Smith, 77-65.
"At times in a game, you see
improvement," senior Ron Cole-
man said. "And there's times
when you see guys taking steps
back - maybe taking plays off
or not wanting to play together.
That's something that we have
to fix."
With Michigan's best big man
ever, Cazzie Russell, being hon-
ored along with the house that he
built, it was the Gophers' big men
who dominated the paint.
Minnesota outscored the Wol-

verines 44-20 in the paint, some-
times scoring with two or three
Michigan players in the area and
no one challenging the shooter.
Michigan's lack of size and
experience hampered its efforts
across the board.
Minnesota's biggest player, 6-
foot-9 center Spencer Tollackson,
tips the scales at 260 pounds. The
Wolverines' biggest man, sopho-
more Ekpe Udoh, is an inch taller
but 30 pounds lighter.
Tollackson and fellow senior
Dan Coleman both have more
than two years of starting expe-
rience. Michigan's three big men
- Udoh, sophomore DeShawn
Sims and redshirt sophomore
Zack Gibson - have less thantwo
years of combined experience.
Coleman and Tollackson
scored 11 of Minnesota's first 15
points to help the Gophers build
a nine-point lead in the first eight
minutes. Coleman finished with a

team-high 17 points and Tollack-
son ended with 14.
But the Gophers' offense was
fueled by their pressure defense.
Rather than sit back and contain,
like the Wolverines' last few
opponents, Minnesota's defend-
ers engaged the ballhandler,
forcing poor shots and untimely
The Wolverines two best
offensive players, Sims and fresh-
man Manny Harris, committed a
combined 10 turnovers.
"We put the ball on the floor
and just said, 'I'm just going to
drive it,' " Michigan coach John
Beilein said. "I thought that set
the tone more - their defense
(rather than) their offense set
the tone."
Like it has much of the Big Ten
season, Michigan put together a
late-game run when it was too
late for a real comeback.
Trailing by 21 points with a

little more than four minutes
remaining in the game, the Wol-
verines went on a 13-2 surge to
pull withinten and awakened the
sparsely filled Crisler Arena. But
they mustered just four points in
the rest of the contest.
The loss was a sour note on
an otherwise happy evening for
the program. The Wolverines
celebrated Crisler Arena's 40th
anniversary by honoring the first
team to ever play in the arena
and the man who "built" it.
But by the end of the night, the
building belonged to Minnesota
and its coach. A large and loud
contingent of Gophers fans filled
Crisler with chants of "Tubby,
Tubby" and the first-year coach
pointed to the crowd and smiled.
It was the coach's 400th win.
Russell, who left the arena
several minutes earlier, exited
with much less fanfare and a
tired expression on his face.

Junior Carly Benson's late three-point basket was not enough to reclaim the lead in
the Wolverines' 61-58 loss to Michigan State.
Blue blows lead in
lo ss to Spartans

Grady returns to starting lineup

Daily Sports Writer
No matterwhathe does, Mich-
igan coach John Beilein just can't
seem to win.
With his team struggling
through slow
starts all sea- NOTEBOOK
son, Beilein
adjusted his starting lineup once
again to geta spark.
Freshman point guard Kelvin
Grady returned to the starting
five, replacing redshirt junior
C.J. Lee because Beilein thinks
Lee plays better off the bench.
It didn't work. Minnesota
jumped out to an 11-2 advantage,
and the Wolverines never led.
Grady had two points, two
assists and two turnovers in 26
minutes. Senior guard David
Merritt subbed in for Grady and
was his primary backup (15 min-
utes). Lee didn't play until mid-
way through the second half.

Grady started Michigan's first
13 games, but Lee started the
next six. Still, Grady has seen
pretty consistent minutes, play-
ing 23 minutes per game in starts
and 20 per game off the bench.
"He's just continued to play
hard," Merritt said. "A lot of peo-
ple, when they lose their starting
spot, they kind of lose their confi-
dence, and it kind of affects their
play. But he accepted it and just
kept working hard."
Sophomore center Ekpe Udoh
caught a glimpse of senior Ron
Coleman's eyes before last night's
game and knew the forward was
ready to go.
Coleman sprained his ankle
against Indiana Jan. 8. He missed
games at Northwestern and Wis-
consin, but played against Illi-
nois and Iowa, aleit just for a
combined 11 minutes. He scored
just three points at Michigan
State Sunday, when he said he

was fully healthy.
Coleman cane off the bench
last night for his firstdouble-digit
scoring game in a month and a
half, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9
shooting. Although the Wolver-
ines shot just 38.7 percent from
the field last night, Merritt hopes
Coleman will help turn around
their shooting woes - with his
ability and leadership.
"You have more impact when
you're on the court than when
you're sitting in dress clothes,"
said Merritt, who, in his second
year with the team, called Cole-
man the team's only true senior.
Coleman scored eight straight
Michiganpoints midway through
the first half. Back-to-back 3-
pointers started the run.
BUILT: Michigan celebrated
Crisler Arena's 40th anniversary
last night.
Several members of the first
team to play at the arena, along

with Cazzie Russell, were hon-
ored during halftime. Russell,
whose No, 33 jersey hangs from
the rafters, was introduced last
night drawing a standing ova-
Although Crisler Arena is
called the "House that Cazzie
Built," Russell never played
there as a Wolverine. Originally
planned to open for his senior
year, construction was behind
schedule, and Crisler Arena
didn't open until the next year.
Russell played there once - as a
member of the New York Knicks,
which picked him first overall in
1966, in an exhibition against the
Detroit Pistons.
Russell, in his 12th year of
coaching the basketball team at
the Savannah (Ga.) College of
Art and Design, addressed the
Wolverines before the game and
talked to them about staying
together as a team and learning
to win together.

Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING - Another road
Another nail-biter.
Another loss.
The -- --- -
Michigan MICHIGAN 58
team suffered its second-straight
road defeat last night, falling 61-58
at Michigan State.
Down three points with 7.6 sec-
onds remaining, the Wolverines had
a chance to tie. Junior Jessica Min-
nfield drove through the lane and
kicked the ball out to a wide-open
Janelle Cooper on the perimeter.
But the senior missed in the closing
"We didn't even plan (it)," Michi-
gan coach Kevin Borseth said. "We
just get it down the court, pitch it
to someone and shoot it. ... It was a
good shot that gave us a chance to
tie it."
Although the Wolverines had a
chance at the comeback, it never
should havebeen that close.
With six minutes to play, Michi-
gan led the Spartans by eight, 53-
45. But 6-foot-9 Spartan center
Alyssa DeHaan chipped away from
the charity stripe, making 10 free
throws down the stretch to give the
Spartans a 59-55 lead with 21 sec-
onds left.
Junior Carly Benson revitalized
Michigan's chances making a three
pointer with 10 seconds left.
"We had the lead," Borseth said.
"Granted, they made some shots,
especially free throws. They made
shots down the stretch and we
Michigan has lost three close Big
Tenroad gamesthis season: Purdue,
Iowa and Michigan State. In each
game, Michigan (5-5 Big Ten, 12-8
overall) had a lead in the final min-
utes only to let it slip away.
"We've done that three out of the

last four games," Borseth said. "Our
goal before the year was to getcin the
game, and now we are in it. I haveto
do a better job of getting them pre-
pared down the stretch."
Borseth's frustration was evident
during the game. With 4:31 remain-
ing, Borseth called a play using a
clipboard and slammed it to the
ground, shattering the board into
The Spartan faithful responded
to Borseth's actions with renewed
energy. And Michigan State fed off
the momentum. The Spartans (5-6,
13-10) outscored the Wolverines 13-
5 to close out the game.
The Wolverine offense was clear-
ly frustrated by Michigan State's
switch from man-to-man to zone
defense. The frustration was dou-
bled by the DeHaan's awakening in
the final minutes and the number
of free-throw chances given to the
Although Michigan was unable
to finish, it was able to largely build
its lead through the efforts of Steph-
any Skrba. The shifty junior led the
Wolverines in scoringwith 16 points
off the bench and six rebounds.
Skrba had success driving
through the Michigan State defense
and getting open down low.
Benson, who led theteamin scor-
ing after the first half with 10 points,
was shut down by Michigan State
and made just the 3-pointer in the
final seconds.
"I wasn't doing a very good job
getting open." Benson said. "Brit-
tany Thomas was guarding me pret-
ty tightly. I was just trying to focus *
more on screening because of the
defensive pressure."
The Wolverines have become
competitive in the Big Ten, butthey
have been exposed to more pressure
Though Michigan has not pulled *
out some of these close games away
from home, it have learned one
thing: It's tough to play Big Ten bas-
ketball on the road.


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