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March 10, 2008 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-10

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* The Michigan Daily I michigandailycom I March 10, 2008
Blue savors taste ofvictory

Wolverines crush
defending champion
No.1 Georgia
By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team had all the ingredients for
a feast.
. "Our first event was the appe-
tizer," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said. "The second was the soup and
salad, followed by the main course

and, of course, floor exercise was
dessert. And I do love dessert."
In front of more than 4,000 spec-
tators at
Crisler MICHIGAN 197.600
Arena GEORGIA 196.950
on Fri-
day, the
fourth-ranked Wolverines cooked
up the sixth-highest score in pro-
gram history to knock out three-
time defending national champion
and current No.1 Georgia, 197.600-
196.950.
Michigan gymnasts took all four
event titles, and sophomore Sarah
Curtis won her third all-around

crown of the season with a Big Ten
and Michigan record 39.600 score.
Two Michigan falls proved cru-
cial in the meet, but neither fac-
tored into the scoring.
Comingintothe competition, the
Wolverines knew their beam score
would either give them a shot at the
upset or crush that chance. Michi-
gan has been inconsistent on the
event all season. Michigan had a
slight .275-point lead going into the
third rotation, which was beam.
The second gymnast in the line-
up, sophomore Jordan Sexton, fell
off the apparatus just seconds into
her routine - an automatic half-

point deduction. The four remain-
ing gymnasts knew they had to stay
on the beam and put up high scores
so that fall wouldn't count.
Enter Curtis.
Fresh off a title-worthy vault
performance and a top-five bars
score, Curtis leapt onto the beam
after her teammate's fall. With
composure and a stuck dismount,
Curtis posted a 9.900, which put
the Wolverines back on track for a
win.
"I'm always nervous for beam
right before I get on," Curtis said.
"But I actually think her fall gave
See GEORGIA, Page 3B

Sophomore Sarah Curtis's 9.900 beam performance after a teammate's fall put
Michigan back in position to beat the nation's top-ranked team, Georgia.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
'M' quietly exits
Big Ten tourney
Season ends with "We just couldn't score," Michi-
gan coach Kevin Borseth said. "We
record low output couldn't find any rhythm, and what
r r we do is just so predicated on hav-
ing players that can create for them-
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA selves."
Daily Sports Writer While the Michigan offense
struggled to find a rhythm, the
INDIANAPOLIS - The Michi- defense had trouble making stops
ganwomen's basketballteampulled early. Whether it was Iowa guard
off one of the biggest disappearing Kristi Smith scoring triples or for-
acts in Big Ten Tournament his- ward Johanna Solverson driving
tory. straight to the hoop, the Wolverines
And it only took two possessions. couldn't handle the Hawkeyes' size
On their opening possession, the and balanced attack.
Wolverines used more than five Part of the problem was sopho-
passes more Stephany Skrba's disappear-
to earn MICHIGAN 37 ance. After picking up two fouls in
their first IOWA 58 her first two minutes, she didn't see
points, any action for the rest of the first
courtesy half Borseth admitted he should
of sophomore Krista Phillips. But have put her back in, and Michigan
they became stagnant for the final missed her size on the boards. Iowa
39 minutes as Iowa rolled past gathered 14 offensive rebounds for
Michigan, 58-37, Friday at Conseco 17 points on the game.
Fieldhouse. The Wolverines' 37 Finding themselves with an
points was a season low for Michi- 11-point deficit at halftime, the
gan and the lowest point total in Big Wolverines changed their initial
Ten tournament history. See HAWKEYES, Page 3B
BASEBALL
Uneven pitching
leads to early losses

PURDUE 72, MICHIGAN 58
A BITTER END

By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
On Saturday night, a deflated
Michigan baseball team headed
back to its North Carolina hotel. It
just couldn't win.
In the first game of the day,
when the Wolverines played hor-
ribly, of course, they lost, 12-3 to
Georgia Southern. Later on, when
they played well enough to win
against East Carolina, they lost,
6-5.
"We felt terrible," Michigan
coach Rich Maloney said. "We'd
lost two games and didn't feel
good because we expect to win
every time we go out there."
If it wasn't for redshirt junior
Chris Fetter's mammoth pitching
performance yesterday against
Pittsburgh, which put the team
at 1-2 on the weekend, the Michi-
gan players would still be hanging
their heads as they returned to
Ann Arbor.
In the first game of the Clark-
LeClair Tournament on Saturday,
Georgia Southern (6-6) plowed
over the Wolverines.

Michigan lost what Maloney
calls the "freebie war," which
includes walks, hit batsmen, errors
and passed balls.
The Wolverine pitchers hit four
batters and allowed 10 earned
runs, while the Eagles walked just
two batters.
"When you play bad and look
bad, no one feels good about it,"
Maloney said. "We were embar-
rassed."
That evening, Michigan (5-5)
attempted to rebound against a
talented EastCarolina (8-4) squad.
But unlike the Georgia Southern
catastrophe, the Wolverines actu-
ally played well.
They held a 5-3 lead going into
the bottom of the seventh until
East Carolina freshman Trent
Whitehead blasted junior Zach
Putnam's pitch over the right field
wall to tie the game, 5-5. Senior
Michael Powers gave up a run in
the eighth, letting East Carolina
squeak by, 6-5.
"It came down to us needing
to make one or two more plays or
one or two more pitches," Malo-
See BASEBALL, Page 2B

Freshman Manny Harris tries to drive past two Purdue defenders in Michigan's regular season-ending loss Sunday.

Late Purdue run
wraps up game

One year in,
whats changed?

By H. JOSE BOSCH
Daily Sports Editor
While the Michigan men's
basketball team's regular season
passed like an eternity, Sunday's
game wrapped up in less then a
minute.
The Wolverines dropped their
13th Big Ten game of the year, 72-
58, to No.15 Purdue.
Michigan had a two-point lead
with just under nine minutes
remaining. Forty-four seconds
later, the Boilermakers led by six.
Following a Keaton Grant 3-
pointer that gave Purdue a 51-50
lead, the Boilermakers stole the
inbounds pass and converted it
for two points. Thirty seconds
later, Grant launched another 3-
pointer to close out the scoring
spurt.
The quick turnaround began a
21-4 Purdue run to end the game.
"It's not good," redshirt junior
C.J. Lee said. "We play 32 min-
utes of good basketball and then
it comes down to the same stuff
we've been doing all year long."

Turnovers and poor shooting
- the Wolverines' troublesome
trademark all year - plagued
them again in the second half
Michigan committed 15 turn-
overs and shot just 33 percent
from the field.
The Wolverines (5-13 Big Ten,
9-21 overall) couldn't stop the
Boilermakers' hot shooting. Pur-
due shot 58 percent from the floor
and hit 55 percent of its shots
from beyond the 3-point line in
the second.
Guard Keaton Grant, who
knocked the wind out of Mich-
igan's upset bid at Purdue in
January, torched the Wolverines
again with 13 second-half points
and 17 points overall.
"Sometimes things just don't
go our way," freshman Manny
Harris said. "This year it hasn't
been going our way, and we
haven't been playing all 40 min-
utes of basketball."
The second frame was a stark
contrast to the first 20 minutes.
Led by sophomore Ekpe Udoh,
See BOILERMAKERS, Page 2B

hen trying to
describe exactly how
this season will be
remembered, I can't help but go
back to what Michigan coach
John Beilein
said at his
introductory
press con-
ference last
April.
Many
have forgot-
ten his prom-
ise of the MARK
fun, exciting GIANNOTTO
- and even-
tually win-
ning - brand
of basketball, brought with him
from the hills of West Virginia.
Well, in Sunday's 72-58 defeat
to Purdue - the Wolverines'21st
loss of the season - there was
nothing entertaining about the
24 turnovers the team commit-
ted, including 15 in the second
half when the game was still up
in the air.
And it certainly wasn't excit-

ing to watch the team miss 19
3-pointers and, for the 15th time
this season, shoot below 40 per-
cent fromthe field. It didn't help
that Michigan allowed another
opponent to have its way from
the outside - this time it was
freshman E'Twaun Moore and
sophomore Keatan Grant going a
combined 6-for-tO from 3-point
range.
So now that we're ankle deep
in this program overhaul, has
there really been that much
improvement? Where was that
fun-filled atmosphere at Crisler
Arena yesterday? The Athletic
Department even offered free
tickets to students and still had
huge pockets of empty seats in
the upper deck.
The bottom line is, the
problems the Wolverines had
from the start this season are
still there, 21 losses later. They
still can't shoot, they still can't
defend and they still have no
idea when either area will
improve.
See GIANNOTTO, Page 3B

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