The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, February 6, 2009 - 7
Wolverines fall short in
By RYAN KARTJE final minutes and couldn't over-
Daily Sports Writer come the initial deficit.
"That game was determined
EVANSTON - Sophomore guard in the first 10 minutes," Borseth
Veronica Hicks's first 10 minutes repeated after the game.
home weren't what she'd hoped for. The Wolverines began the game
Sure, the Chicago-area native shooting a dismal 18.2 percent from
wasgreetedbyalivelycheeringsec- the floor, compared to the Wild-
tion and cats' outstanding 89.1 percent. And
a cluster MICHIGAN 57 just as Borseth has noted in recent
of signs NORTHWESTERN 60 losses, Michigan's problems were
touting on the perimeter, where open shot
her as "Roni Ice" from behind the after open shot clanked off the rim.
Michigan bench. "We had any shot we wanted,"
But on the hardwood, Hicks Borseth said. "Wide open shots.
} looked on in disbelief as she and the Wide open. And when we tried to
Michigan women's basketball team come back, they would just answer,
surrendered 22 points to North- answer, answer, answer."
western in the game's first five min- The Wildcats' patented "Bliz-
utes at Welsh-Ryan Arena, en route zard" defense gave the Wolverines
to a 60-57 loss. fits early as they registered four
Roni Ice's Wolverines had gone turnovers in the first five minutes
ice-cold. and succumbed to half-court traps
But with his head in his hands, and presses.
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth But for, the rest of the half,
called a timeout to heat his team up Borseth's offense didn't commit
from the perimeter. another turnover, while Michigan's
"(Borseth) said, 'We better pick it defense forced six of them.
up, or we're going to be losing like "They didn't take anything away
we have been,' " senior point guard from us," Borseth said. "(North-
Jess Minnfield said. "We had to westerti) is playing a 2-3 zone, and
pick it up." the whole country's playing it. It's
And for the remaining 15 min- not rocket science. Everyone plays
utes, the Wolverines looked like it, and we're going to see it the rest
they would make a comeback, going of the season."
jumper for jumper with Northwest- But the Wildcat defense did just
ern. enough to end Michigan's chance
But Michigan fell short, missed to notch back-to-back wins for the
a few clutch chances in the game's See WILDCATS, Page 8
Freshman Zack Novak had just four points in Michigan's win but sparked the Wolverines' best defensive effort of the year.
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By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
Atop redshirt senior C.J. Lee's
locker was a note: "Ondefense you
must guard like..." A black Adidas
football glove was taped to it.
"One of our assistant coaches
put it up there,
and I told him
I definitely got
Lee said. "That
was the empha-
sis for tonight -
defense and locking
up, just strapping down
on defense. And that's what
Lee played a career-high 29
minutes and held sophomore
guard Talor Battle, the Big Ten's
leading scorer, to just nine
points in Michigan's crucial
71-51 victory over Penn State
last night at Crisler Arena.
"Great defense," Michigan
coach John Beilein said. "Best
we've played all year." .
Sophomore Manny Harris led
Michigan in scoring for the 13th
time this season, racking up 28
points, 19 in the second half.
He also collected seven assists
and six rebounds. Freshman
Stu Douglass added 13 points on
3-of-7 shooting from behind the
The win was a perfect gift to
Beilein on his 56th birthday.
Michigan (5-6 Big Ten, 15-8
overall) needed to win last night's
game more than any other this
season. Coming in, the Wolver-
ines had lost five of their last six
games. In the next five days, they
face No. 1 Connecticut and No. 13
Michigan State. And like Penn
State, the Wolverines are in the
hunt for an NCAA Tournament
So Beilein went a little out of
his comfort zone to make sure
his team understood the circum-
"I told the guys yesterday, I
haven't gone to one game this
year and said, 'Hey guys, this
is an important game,"' Beilein
said. "And I don't know if I would
have told (the media) this if we
had lost, but we really thought
this was an important game."
Even administrative specialist
Jeff Meyer did his best to moti-
vate the team.
Both Wednesday and Thursday,
he sent text messages reminding
players that according to ESPN's
Bracketology, which predicts the
NCAA Tournament bracket, Penn
State (6-4, 17-6) was pegged as
one of the "Last four in" and
Michigan was one of the "Next
A change in the start-
ing lineup - one that emphasized
defense- alsoindicated the
Beilein started redshirt junior
Zack Gibson in place of the team's
second-leading scorer DeShawn
Sims and Lee instead of sopho-
more Kelvin Grady, who played
just one minute last night after
starting the last eight games.
Neither Grady nor Beilein
said there was an off-court rea-
son for the reduction in his play-
"We were trying to get a little
more defensive to start," Beilein
said. "I just felt that mixing it up
a little bit would be a better way
to attack them tonight."
But at halftime, the game was
still up in the air. Despite play-
ing superb defense, Michigan
scored just 29 points in the first
half and trailed by two at the
During halftime, Beilein
gave a positive talk to instill
confidence on the offensive
"It sparked us," Harris said.
"From the beginning of the sec-
ond half, the spark was there."
Michigan outscored Penn State
42-20 in the final 20 minutes
behind 64-percent shooting from
It was the first time the Wol-
verines shot over 50 percent in
a half since their Jan. 11 win at
Though Michigan got the win
it badly needed, it has no time to
Next on tap is No, 1 Connecti-
cut tomorrow evening in Storrs,
Conn. The Wolverines are 1-18 all-
time against first-ranked teams.
For Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009
(March 21 to April 19)
Many of you are enjoying new elec-
tronic toys or high-tech additions to your
household today. Expectthe unexpected!
Surprise company might drop by.
(April 20 to May 20)
Communication will be interrupted
today. Computer crashes, power outages
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Be ready to jump in either direction.
(May 21 to Jane 20)
If shopping today, keep your receipts.
You might fnd money; you might lose
money. Something unpredictable with
your possessions or your cash flow could
(June 21 to July 22) ,
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more electricity in she air. New faces,
new situations and new ideas keep pop-
ping up! Be ready for anything, because
it could bera sweet opportunity.
(July 23 to Aug. 22)
You're restless today. You've got lots
of ideas that are cooking on the back
burner in your mind. In fact, some of
these ideas 'could be very valuable for
you in the future.
(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Discussions with someone, possibly a
female friend, could lead to surprising
results. You might make a new friend
today. Possibly, someone you already
know does something bizarre.
(Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)
Some aspect of your private life will
suddenly be made public today. Bosses,
parents, teachers and VIPs will notice.
You're feeling a it independent and
cocky, aren't you? (Don't quit your day
(Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
Surprise opportunities to travel could
fall in your lap today. Similarly, unex-
pected chances to do something in pub-
lishing, the media or higher education
(Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)
If someone wants to suddenly give
you something today, accept it. It's OK
to be the object of someone else's gen-
erosity. (No strings attached.)
(Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
A partner or close friend might express
an interest in more freedom ina relation-
ship. "I need more space!" Or perhaps
you feel this way? Just go with the flow.
(Jun. 20 to Feb. 18)
Computer crasbes, power outages and
interruptions at work are likely today.
Staff shortages or surprises with your
daily schedule keep you on your toes!
(Feb. 19to March 20)
A flirtation with someone surprising
might make your heart go pitter-patter
today. Parents and teachers should keep
an eye on children. It's an unpredictable
day, and possibly accident-prone for lit-
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Birthdateof.kMiguel Ferrer, actor;
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Junior DeShawn Sims puts in a layup over a Penn State defender in the 71-51 win.
Grady's locker room shenanigans are a good
sign for Michigan down the stretch
After last night's game,
various members of
the media rushed into
the Michigan men's basketball
team locker room, surrounding
star players like Manny Harris,
DeShawn Sims and Zack Novak.
There was, however, one
in his most r
voice, to fifth-_
year senior ANDY
David Mer- REID
ritt. "David, --
could you tell
us about your recent facial hair
change? It looks like you've got a
little chinstrap thing going on."
Grady shoved the maize-
and-blue microphone used for
reporters in Merritt's face for a
Merritt took the joke in stride,
stroking his goatee for the
camera as people stopped and
laughed at the spectacle.
"(Grady's) just a silly kid,"
Harris said, shaking his head
and smiling on his way out of the
The players haven't had that
much fun in a in a postgame
locker room in a long time, but
a 20-point win over a team that
destroyed you two weeks ago will
From here on out, it needs to
be the whole team's attitude if it
wants to be dancing in March.
The Wolverines can't afford to
take themselves too seriously,
especially in the next four days,
because when they get worked
up, they shut down.
After Michigan lost to Duke
in Madison Square Garden, Ohio
State at home and Purdue on the
road, Grady sat quietly by his
locker, waiting for the media to
leave as he softly and abruptly
answered the few questions he
When the losses built up, the
team struggled to shake it off and
play like it proved it could earlier
in the season.
Just look at the Wolverines' 1-5
skid before last night's win ten-
sions were high, answers were
few and even a couple elbows
were thrown. Michigan has been
grasping at straws over the last
month to figure out a way to end
its potentially season-crippling
Maybe the team was waiting
for this win over a red-hot Penn
State team. And if that's true,
Grady's mood - despite the fact
that he only played in garbage
time - is just what the team
The Wolverines simply
wouldn't have had time to sit and
dwell on a now-hypothetical loss
to Penn State.
They play Connecticut, the No.
1 team in the nation, in Storrs,.
They have just two days after
that to prepare for their lone
game of the year against archri-
val Michigan State.
Then, they have to finish the
Big Ten regular season strong
just to keep their precarious posi-
tion on the NCAA Tournament
A loss last night would have
not only given no momentum
going into the next four days, but
would have also ended any real-
istic chance of an NCAA Tourna-
It's just one win, and with four
to five more conference victories
still necessary before Michigan
fans can buy tickets to the closest
NCAA Regional, I don't want to
put too much emphasis on it.
Or maybe a decisive win like
this could be just what a program
that's been in hibernation for the
last 10 years needs, especially
with arguably the Wolverines'
two biggest games of the season
The team knows it - Novak
called the second stanza "the big-
gest half we've played all year" in
terms of importance.
This afternoon, the Wolverines
will board a plane for Connecti-
cut with a newfound bounce in
their collective step.
It couldn't have come at a more
- Reid is en route to Storrs, but
he can be reachedvia BIackBerry
C' 2009 King Features Syndicate, Inc.