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September 08, 2009 - Image 43

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Tuesday, September 8, 2009 - 5E

Second chance: 'M' stuns Duke

By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Editor
DECEMBER 8TH,2008 - As hun-
dreds of fans stormed the Crisler
Arena floor Saturday, Duke men's
basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski
walked off the court a loser for the
first time this season.
What did one of the most illus-
trious coaches in college basket-
ball think of Michigan's 81-73
upset over his fourth-ranked Blue
Devils, the Wolverines' first over
the storied program since 1997?
"They played harder than we
did," said Krzyzewski, who ranks
fifth among college basketball
coaches in all-time wins with 811.
"I'm not saying our kids didn't
want it, but (Michigan) really
played hard and well."
Krzyzewski hasn't had the
chance to say that about very many
teams. The Blue Devils handled
Michigan, 71-56, last month in the
the 2K Sports Classic, the game
after the Wolverines beat then-
No. 4 UCLA. Before this season,
few thought Michigan (6-2) would
manage to outplay an elite basket-
ball powerhouse, let alone two in a
single season.
With Saturday's victory, the
Wolverines defeated two top-five
teams in the regular season for the
first time since the 1986-87 sea-
son.
The game's unexpected out-
come could be epitomized by
3-point shots.
Duke made two in the first half.
Zack Novak made two in a
29-second span.
The freshman hit back-to-back
3-pointers with eight minutes left
and brought a roaring, sold-out
Crisler Arena crowd to its feet.
When last year's team may have
folded, Michigan responded with

poise. The Blue Devils (8-1) took a
three-point lead midway through
the second half, but Novak's two
triples vaulted the Wolverines to a
three-point lead of their own.
"It felt great," said Novak, who
didn't start, but finished with
14 points and went 4-for-7 from
behind the arc. "You get the crowd
into it a little bit - a momentum
swinger. I think that's my job -
come in, hit open shots."
Novak was one of four Wolver-
ines to tally nine or more points,
including sophomore small for-
ward Manny Harris who had 17.
But the game's standout was junior
power forward DeShawn Sims.
Before the matchup, Sims had
a message for his team about the
competition: "They're fast, but
they're not a Ferrari."
Sims echoed the confidence this
team has had since October. The
Detroit native led Michigan with
a career-high 28 points and tied
a career-high with 12 rebounds,
but his performance was part of a
team-wide effort to put the brakes
on Duke's speed.
From tipoff, Michigan kept
Duke from looking like a national
championship contender. The Wol-
verines outrebounded, outhustled
and outplayed the Blue Devils in
the end.
Duke never led by more than six
points, and the Wolverines held
their largest advantage, 10 points,
with fewer than 30 seconds to
play.
The Blue Devils didn't help their
cause by attempting a season-
high 33 3-pointers and connect-
ing on just seven. Duke's dismal
performance from behind the arc
allowed Michigan to successfully
fight for defensive rebounds and
run its transition offense.
"They're very difficult to score

Last year's run
was not a fluke

By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Writer
Are you a college basketball fan?
If you answered yes, you picked
the right time to come to Michigan.
For the first time in what seems
like an eternity, there's a buzz
surrounding the men's basketball
team. After an 11-year absence
from the NCAA Tournament, the
Wolverines went back to the Big
Dance last season. But they didn't
just arrive. They made a statement.
No. 10 Michigan carried out
the classic early-round upset
when it fought past No. 7 seed
Clemson, 62-59. But that tourna-
ment magic couldn't lift the Wol-
verines past No. 2 Oklahoma and
National Player of the Year, Blake
Griffin.
But don't be discouraged by last
year's second round tournament
exit. Last year's excitement could
be just thehbeginning.
Under head coach John Beil-
ein, now in his third season, the
Wolverines have climbed the
Tournament hump, and Michi-
gan basketball is relevant once
again.
Now it's not a question of if the
Wolverines can get back to the Big
Dance,buthow far can they go.And
behind junior Manny Harris and
senior DeShawn Sims, a return to
the tournament, and even a Sweet
16 or Elite Eight run, could be in
the works. Harris and Sims carried
the Wolverines much of last sea-
son. The duo accounted for more
than 48 percent of the Wolverines'

offensive output and 42 percent
of their total rebounds. They both
chose to forego leaving early and
declaring for the NBA Draft. If
they can lead the Wolverines deep
into the NCAA Tournament, they'll
receive the national attention that
could boost their draftstock.
But holding back the Wolver-
ines could be their supportingcast.
Last season, just Sims and Har-
ris averaged double digits. Now-
sophomore Zack Novak was the
team'sthird leading scorer with 6.7
points per game. But luckily, Novak
and his classmates Stu Douglass
and Laval Lucas-Perry are a year
older and should look like a more
experienced backcourt in Beilein's
3-point-oriented offense.
WHAT'S GONE?
The Wolverines were a young
team last year, but they had some
big leadership from two seniors
who weren't even taller than6-foot.
Losing last year's co-captains C.J.
Lee and David Merritt to gradua-
tion will definitely hurt in the lock-
er room. The outspoken duo was
knowntogivemotivatingpregame,
halftime and postgame speeches,
not to mention vocal contributions
on the court. Once, Merritt showed
the rousing halftime speech clip
from the film, "Any Given Sunday,"
to pump up his teammates.
But due to their absence, Michi-
gan will need someone to step up.
Look to Harris and Sims to do the
talking. For the first time in their
careers, they will both be expected
to be leaders on and off the court.

SA ID ALSALAH/Da ly
Sophomore Manny Harris and the Wolverines upset No. 4 Duke, the team's
second victory over a top-five opponent this season. Harris contributed 17 points,
five rebounds and two assists in the resume-boosting win. It was Michigan's first
victory over the Blue Devils since Dec. 13,1997, the same day former Michigan
football player Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy.

against in half court," Michigan
coach John Beilein said. "They
lock you up, make you go back
door, make you dribble-drive, and
we were a little better at that this
time than we were last time. ... Our
transition offense has been very
good to us this year, just like it's
one of Duke's fortes as well."
Sophomore point guard Kelvin
Grady took control in the second
half, matching the Blue Devils'

speed by finding open lanes and
teammates. He finished with a 4:0
assist-to-turnover ratio.
In the game's final minutes, he
hit 5-of-6 crucial free throws, part
of Michigan's 18-for-22 effort from
the charity stripe.
Following the game, Beilein said
he was "stuck for words."
Krzyzewski wasn't.
"They deserved the victory," he
said.

Tragedy in Oklahoma City

Borseth held accountable for
Wolverines' mental state

MARC
INDIA?
lowed t
ketballI
game.
The
games.
row ear
consin,
sota -
couldn'
It wa
Michig
that str
and eve
verines
"You tr
you cat
Carly B
over so
our way
This
to breal
close ga
last nig
the first

JOE STAPLETON nament in Indianapolis.
Daily Sports Writer The games followed a distinct
blueprint: The Wolverines would
H 5TH, 2009 - play very well in the first half and
NAPOLIS - The stigma fol- often into the second. Then, some-
he Michigan women's bas- thing bad happened (missed shots
team like a dark cloud every piled up, the other team implement-
ed a full-court press, etc.), and they
Wolverines couldn't close got.down on themselves.
After three tough losses in a "This year, we just couldn't finish
lier in the season - to Wis- games," junior center Krista Phil-
Michigan State and Minne- lips said. "I think our biggest goal
it became worrisome. Why for next year is going to be finishing
t they finish? games."
as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Wolverines' late-game prob-
an was identified as a team lems caused late-season problems.
ruggled down the stretch, Michigan ended the year on an
ntually, it was how the Wol- eight-game losing skid. It started
identified themselves. the season 7-4 and beat two ranked
y not to think about it, but teams in that span, but they opened
n't help it," senior forward Big Ten season with a 20-point loss
enson said. "It's hard to get to Ohio State and it didn't get much
many things that didn't go better from there.
'all year." And the Wolverines' loss yester-
mentality caused Michigan day was a microcosm of their sea-

mentally. After Indiana implement-
ed its full-court press early in the
second half and turned Michigan's
12-point lead into a six-point advan-
tage of its own, you could almost see
the Wolverines wilt.
At that point, the six-point deficit
might as well have been 600.
And that problem is coachable.
It's Michigan coach Kevin Borseth's
job to make sure his team is mental-
ly ready for every game. This season,
there were times it clearly wasn't.
Maybe not. But that wasn't the
issue.
This wasn't a mentally weak
group, but losing so many times in
so many close games will make any
team question its own ability. And
it's the coach's job to make sure that
doesn't happen.
Borseth didn't. He is a good coach
who knows the Xs and Os as well as
anyone and is a good recruiter. But if
he doesn't become more aware of his
team's mental state, he can look for-
ward to more seasons like this one.
The players don't deserve that,
and neither do the fans.

MAX COLINS/Daily
Junior pitcher Nikki Nemitz exits the field after Michigan's season ending loss to Georgia in the Women's College World Series
held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK. The Wolverines defeated Alabama in the first round to advance.

k down in close game after
me this season, ending with
ht's 68-50 loss to Indiana in
t round of the Big Ten Tour-

son.
Their problem was mental. At
times, it was amazing how quickly
they could be taken out of games

Wolverines knocked
out of College World
Series in third round
By MICHAEL FLOREK
DailySports Writer
JUNE 1ST, 2009 -
OKLAHOMA CITY - After its
most successful season in four
years, after coming from behind
in seven of its 17 conference
wins, one swing of the bat left the
Michigan's softball team's latest
comeback just short.
Down 6-3 heading into the
final three innings, Michigan ral-
lied back to cut the deficit to one.
An inning later, Georgia's Brian-
na Hesson sent a ball to right field
and assured Michigan would be
traveling back to Ann Arbor with-
out a second title, downing the
Wolverines, 7-5.
The Michigan team that gave
its program the first World Series
appearance since their magical
2005 national championship run
was eliminated..
"We got behind ... it's hard to

beat a team when you're down,"
Hutchins said. "Then we got right
back up ... We had a lot of well-hit
balls that didn't find their way,
and it's a different game if they
do. But I thought that our kids
battled back and that is all you
can ask for."
Michigan won its 13th Big Ten
title and made the program's
ninth World Series appearance.
For a team that jumped on its
opportunities all year, com-
ing from behind in seven of the
team's 17 conference wins, it was
their missed opportunity that
sent them back to Ann Arbor.
Down 6-5 in the sixth inning
senior Teddi Ewinghit aline drive
down the line with a runner on
first. Senior pinch runner Megan
Gregory tried to go from first to
third but was gunned down by
left fielder Megan Wiggins to end
the inning and the threat.
"I read the ball, I don't think I
even looked at Hutch," Gregory
said. "Do I wish I could take it
back for Teddi Ewing and for the
other teammates and my coach?
Yes, but I went for it ... They made

a great play on it and I can't take
it back."
Michigan had a glimmer of
hope in the seventh when a
ball hit by freshman Amanda
Chidester found its way to the
outfield grass. One hitter later,
junior Roya St. Clair hit a slow
grounder and it was all over.
Gregory is one of two seniors
who made her final appearance
in a Wolverine jersey tonight.
The other, Teddi Ewing, leaves a
hole at shortstop that hasn't been
there in four years.
"Unless you win the last game
you can never feel so good about
it," Hutchins said. "We have a lot
to reflect on, a lot to build on and
I'm really proud of our group this
year. I thought they were once of
the best softball team's I've ever
had."
Hutchins doesn't want to think
about next year yet. But with
eight-of-nine starters coming
back it is no doubt Michigan will
reload.
Whether they will have the
grit to get back to Oklahoma City
is vr eto he determined.

Voted Ann Arbor's Number 1 - AGAIN!
5 THRWFT

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