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November 07, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-07

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8 - Friday, November 7, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Despite slow start, Michigan
starts season with exhibition win

By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's basketball
team's last four exhibition games
weren't even close.
The Wolverines dominated
lesser
oppo- SVSU 55
nents, MICHIGAN 81
taking
their last
four exhibition games by an aver-
age of 38 points.
Last night, when the Wolver-
ines headed for the locker room
at the half with a 34-30 lead over
Division-II Saginaw Valley State,
memories of Division-II Grand
Valley State upsetting Michigan
State last preseason were hard to
ignore.
But Michigan's leader, sopho-
more wing Manny Harris, came
to the rescue.
After scoring just two points
in the first 20 minutes, Harris
returned from the locker room on
a mission, leading Michigan to a
81-55 victory with 14 second half
points.
"I thought he was pressing
really hard," Michigan coach John
Beilein said. ."He missed a layup.
He missed a foul shot. That's not
Manny. He just needs to relax, let
the game come to him."
Harris played guard most oflast
season but with fifth-year senior
guard David Merritt and fresh-
man guard Stu Douglass starting
in the backcourt, Harris had to
adjust to playing forward.
"I was just feeling out the posi-
tion," Harris said. "In the second
half I knew I had to pick it up in
order for us to win."
Harris was more aggressive in
the second half, shooting eight
foul shots compared to one in the
first half. He slashed to the rim
from multiple angles, often pass-
ing to wide-open teammates for
who knocked down open 3-point-
ers. Harris finished with three
assists, but Beilein said after the
game he hopes that number rises
throughout the season.
Beilein said Wednesday that he
wanted his team to come out and
run the floor. But in the first half
the Wolverines looked stagnant
on offense.

Last Frontier trip
offers bonding time
By GJON JUNCAJ a conscious effort to get to the net
Daily Sports Writer and go to that area just because
when you come down, you're a lon-
Three years ago, when he was a ger ways away from it."
freshman, Travis Turnbull faced Alaska's team defense hasn't
a dilemma: What do you do when made things easier either. The
you're more than 3,700 miles from Nanooks have the nation's fifth-
home? ranked scoring defense, surrender-
That's how Michigan ing just 1.38 goals per game. The
far Turnbull and at Alaska Nanooks' penalty kill is largely
the rest of the responsible for that low number.
Michigan hockey Matchup: Alaska has given just three power-
team traveled for Michigan 6-2; play goals in 43 chances this sea-
a weekend series Alaska 4-3-1 son.
against Alaska. When: Today Pearson said there's no science
The seventh- 11:05 P.M. behind the Nanooks' success on
ranked Wolver- Where: Carl- defense.
ines (3-1 CCHA, son Center "They're not beating them-
6-2 overall) selves," Pearson said. "They're not
return to Fair- running around out of position.
banks to play the Nanooks twice They're playing very good posi-
this weekend. This is Turnbull's tional hockey and blocking a lot of
third trip to The Last Frontier, and shots."
the senior forward plans to spend Michigan will have to find cracks
his free time immersing himself through the CCHA's top defense by
into the local culture. limiting turnovers in the neutral
"We usually go curling and stuff zone and maintaining puck posses-
like that," Turnbull said. sion if it wants to force the Nanooks
Despite temperatures that hover into making mistakes.
around zero in the fall and the jet "You've got to be more aggres-
lag that results from playing four sive," Pearson said. "You have to
time zones west, Turnbull relishes play in their zone more. When
the journey. you're playing in the other team's
"I love the trip to Alaska, even defensive zone more, they have a
though it's a long, hard trip," Turn- tendency to take more penalties."
bull said. "It's a good time for the But the Wolverines have been
team to get together, bond and to in the penalty box a lot this sea-
get to know each other a little bit son. Michigan leads the CCHA
better." with 177 penalty minutes. Two
Friday's game will be the first of the Wolverines' top defense-
time Michigan's 15 underclass- men, junior Chris Summers and
men have played the Nanooks in sophomore Tristin Llewellyn, have
Fairbanks. In addition to the harsh combined for 50 of those minutes.
weather and lingeringeffects of the Their extended time in the box,
long trip, the Wolverines will have along with serious injuries to three
to make another adjustment when other blue-liners, has hampered a
they take the ice at the Carlson penalty-kill unit that ranks 11th in
Center. the conference.
Alaska (2-2, 4-3-1) is one of The Nanooks haven't proved
two CCHA teams that plays on an themselves capable of exploiting
Olympic-sized rink,whichis 15 feet power-play opportunities this year.
wider than the NHL-sized rink at Alaska is converting an anemic
Yost Ice Arena. Michigan played 5.8 percent of its man-advantage
two games last month at Northern chances. But Michigan can't dwell
Michigan, home to the conference's too much on that statistic, because
other larger rink. That early-season every trip to the box takes the Wol-
experience should be useful, espe- verines out of their flow.
cially for the underclassmen. "We need to 'stay out the box
"It's harder to get to the net more and play 5-on-5," Turnbull
because you find yourself coming said. "We've been wanting to do
up wide," Michigan assistant coach (that) each game already, although
Mel Pearson said. "You have to give it hasn't happened yet."

Sophomore Manny Harris led the Wolverines with 16 points, 14 coming in the second half, to rally Michigan to a 81-55 win.

In the second half, Beilein got
his wish thanks in part to Har-
ris and sophomore guard Kelvin
Grady, who ran the Cardinals out
of the gym.
Aside from Harris' improved
play in the second half, junior for-
ward DeShawn Sims's consistency
helped Michigan start the season
on the right foot. After breaking
out lastyear, when Sims upped his
points per game from 3.4 to 12.3
and started each game, it seemed
that he had solidified a spot in the
starting lineup. But even though
Sims didn't come into the game
until the 15:14 mark, he wasted
no time showing off his talent. In
the post, Sims had his way against
Saginaw Valley State's Adam Gries

and grabbed nine rebounds.
Sims was impressive in the
first half, scoring from the block
on back-to-back possessions.
He demonstrated his efficiency
by hitting 6-of-8 field goals and
6-of-8 free throws on his way to
19 points.
"Peedi (Sims) would like to
win, and he likes those numbers
no matter whether he starts or
not," Beilein said.
Harris and Sims both played
crucial roles in the team's defense.
Down 25-20, Beilein deployed his
1-3-1 zone defense. On the first
play, Saginaw Valley State com-
mitted a turnover by going over-
and-back. Early in the second half,
the team returned to the 1-3-1 and

it proved effective once again.
Although it was just an exhi-
bition game, Beilein said he was
pleased with his team's effort and
the chance to play everyone on his
bench. In fact, each player was in
for at least three minutes, includ-
ing 7-foot freshman center Ben
Cronin. Cronin, who has been
hampered with a hip injury and
was cleared to play just last week,
scored four points from the char-
ity stripe while collecting three
rebounds and blocking two shots.
"That's what I like about the
exhibition game so much," Beil-
ein said. "You learn so much from
it without a tremendous amount
on the line. I'm glad we got every-
body in there."

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Up-and-coming Gophers aim to take Jug

14

By IAN ROBINSON gained by 300 yards.
Daily Sports Editor This year, the Gophers already
have seven wins and are in position
"In the process of doing the for a New Year's Day bowl - the
things thatwe wantto do, of chang- program's first since 1961. Sopho-
ing our style of more quarterback Adam Weber is
football and doing Michigan at a legitimate dual threat, and wide
the things we're receiver Eric Decker leads the con-
doing, you know, MinneSOta ference in yards and receptions.
it's a painful pro- Matchup: The Wolverines are in the mid-
cess.Butit'sonein Michigan 2-7; dle of that process. Rodriguez's
which we believe Minnesota 7-2 team is on a five-game losing streak
100 percent we're When: Tomor- and has secured the program's
going to get to row, noon first losing season since 1967. They
where we want to Where: HHH haven't just blown leads in three
go. Metrodome straight games, but have also given
Those are the up 21 unanswered points in each of
words of a first- TV: ESPN them.
year head coach. It appears as if the two teams
A coach strug- have switched roles going into this
gling to adjust his spread system to year's game. Minnesota has won
his players' skills. Someone lead- the Little Brown Jug Trophy just
ing his program through one of its four times in the last 40 years and
worst seasons. never at the Metrodome. Michigan
Sounds like Michigan football will miss out on a bowl for the first
coach Rich Rodriguez, right? time in 34 years.
It was Minnesota coach Tim "Try to get a win," said Rodri-
Brewster last year. guez about what he wants to get
A year ago, Brewster's Golden out of the last three games. "It's
Gophers stumbled through a 1-11 not fun to come after the game and
season with a freshman quarter- not have that good feeling. Obvi-
back. He made those comments ously to get a win. I want our guys
after 27-point loss to Illinois at to feel good after the ballgame and
home, in which his team was out- be able to sing 'The Victors.'"

And a win this week would mean
more than others. A win against
the Gophers would mean the Little
Brown Jug Trophy stays in Ann
Arbor at least until the teams play
each other again in 2011.
That was the message on the
bulletin board in Schembechler
Hall this week.
"Let's make sure we keep the
jug!" it said. "Kick some butt and
take some names!"
Running backs coach Fred
Jackson is the only member of the
Michigan staff that has coached
in the rivalry. At the beginning
of the week, the rest of the staff
was mostly unaware of the story
behind The Jug, the oldest trophy
in college football.
Redshirt sophomore David Molk
said the offensive line gave offen-
sive line coach Greg Frey a lesson
in the history of the trophy Sun-
day afternoon, much how former
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr would
in the first team meaning the week
of the Minnesota game.
In 1903, when the Wolver-
ines traveled to play Minnesota,
Michigan coach Fielding Yost was
worried Gopher fans might con-
taminate the drinking water. So he
had team manager Tommy Rob-

erts buy a five-gallon container to
carry water. After the game ended
in a 6-6 tie to end Michigan's
28-game winning streak, there
was pandemonium at the stadium.
In the mayhem, Michigan left the
jug behind. Yost wrote a letter to
Minnesota athletic director L.J.
Cooke asking for the jug back, and
the response said, "If you want it,
you'll have to win it."
Rodriguez was aware oP the
rivalry before he took the job but
learned more about it after tak-
ing the job. Earlier this week, the
director of equipment operations
and caretaker of the trophy, Jon
Falk, gave Rodriguez a bit of a his-
tory lesson, which he passed on
to the team during a meeting this
week.
on the field and around the
program, Rodriguez balancing his
way of doingthings with the tradi-
tion of Michigan football. When
asked this week about Rodriguez's
adjustment, Brewster echoed what
he said all last year.
"Implementing a new way of
doing things, a new system, it's a
process," Brewster said. "It takes
time. ... It's a similar process
to some of the things we went
through last year."

Michigan suffers first losing season since 1996

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By IAN KAY "Our team is capable of playing
Daily Sports Writer a better game than we did," senior
- - tri-captain Stephanie Hoyer said.
It sounds just like Michigan's vic- "We could be a lot more intense. We
tory over Ohio State a month ago. did a lot of things really well but it
Except this time the fourth-seed- wasn't our best game."
ed Wolverines were on the wrong Michigan goalkeeper Paige
side ofa3-2score, fallingtothe fifth- Pickett tallied ten saves against a
seeded ----- - relentless Ohio State attack, and
Buckeyes OHIO STATE 3 Michigan's defense thwarted a
yesterday MICHIGAN 2 number of other scoring opportu-
in the nities, but once again the Wolverine
first round of the Big Ten Confer- offense stalled.
ence Tournament in Bloomington, After trading markers within
Ind. the first eleven minutes, play set-
The loss eliminated Michigan tIed into a back-and-forth battle.
(3-3 Big Ten, 8-12 overall) from the The Buckeyes (3-3, 13-6) scored at
tournament and marked the end of the 30-minute mark but Michigan
the team's first losing season since junior Kelly Fitzpatrick stuffed her
1996. own rebound into the net to even
In a frustrating campaign, the the match less than five minutes
final game was just another disap- into the second half.
pointment. But that would be all for Michi-

gan's offense. After tallying just
three markers in their final five
regular season games, the Wolver-
ines were unable to score in the
contest's final 30 minutes. Aisling
McKeon beat Pickett with a hard
shot just two minutes after Fitzpat-
rick's equalizer for what proved to
be Ohio State's winning goal.
"We've had a run here where
we've had an inability to finish,"
Michigan coach Nancy Cox said.
"Today that again was our nem-
esis."
Cox had little to say to her play-
ers following the game, but she pull
Hoyer and her fellow senior tri-
captains, Michaela McDermott and
Sarah Wilhite aside for a brief but
emotional talk.
With their careers in Maize and
Blue over, Cox made sure the out-
going players knew that their con-

tributions to the program over the
past four years have not been over-
looked and that they have done well
to uphold Michigan's proud tradi-
tion of senior leadership.
"They managed a lot of adversity
this year with tremendous charac-
ter," Cox said. "That's an example
to the younger women in the pro-
gram."
Though the game against Ohio
State was a disappointment, and
season as a whole failed to live up
to the lofty expectations brought
on past success, Cox saw elements
to build off of during the coming
offseason.
"The younger women in the pro-
gram know what it means to set a
standard," Cox said. Now we'll see
if they step to the plate, because asa
program that's what we need to do
to move forward from this fall."

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