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November 30, 2009 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

November 30, 2009 - 3B

AP PHC

Junior Manny Harris averaged more than 20 points a game in the Old Spice Classic, good enough for a spot on the All-Tournament team.

APPHOTI
Freshman Darius Morris goes up for a jump ball in the weekend's Old Spice Classic.

Spee on deense pos OLD SPICE CLASSIC

-, . - , - J- . , . " -- . . . . , '. .- - -- .- , - . - - I' , " - --'.

a problem for Michigan

By JOE STAPLETON
Daily Sports Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - If
there's one thing Michigan coach
John Beilein muststressto his team
coming back from the Old Spice
Classic, it's what he emphasized to
the media after all three games of
the tournament: Quickness.
Why was it so easy for Creigh-
ton to get to the lane against
Michigan's perimeter players?
"They'rejustsoquick atall their
positions," Beilein said Thursday.
"We don't see that quickness in
our scout team, and they're just
really, really good at getting to the
basket."
Why could Marquette drive the
W lane with alarming ease and fin-

ish with 10 more points than the
Wolverines in the paint?
"That was as quick a team as
I can recall," Beilein said Friday.
"Stopping them from getting
in the lane is really hard when
they're so quick at so many posi-
tions."
And while it didn't come up in
the press conference after Sun-
day's game against Alabama, the
Crimson Tide employed a simi-
lar strategy as Marquette, using
quick guards to get by Michigan's
perimeter defense for easy bas-
kets down low.
That speed allowed them to get
30 points in the paint, including
the game-winning, put-back dunk
off a missed layup.
And it doesn't appear that
Michigan's inability to stop quick,

penetrating guards is easily fix-
able.
Against Marquette, Beilein said
his team "dialed up everything we
could do," but couldn't come up
with and answer to slow the Gold-
en Eagles down.
Freshman Darius Morris is def-
initely speedy, but he's also still
inexperienced. Redshirt sopho-
more Laval Lucas-Perry, even
with his slimmed-down physique,
seems to be a step behind most
guards.
Junior Manny Harris is quick,
but he uses up a lot of energybeing
the go-to guy on offense. And
sophomore Zack Novak seems
to be perpetually out of position,
since he's so much smaller than
the.forwards he matches up with
and, at the same time, so much

slower than the guards.
Against Alabama, Beilein saw
his guards' indecision on'offense
affect the perimeter defense.
One thing Beilein may want to
consider is staying with the 1-3-1
trap he likes to run as a way of
keeping teams off balance.
While running the trap in the
first half against Alabama, the
Wolverines forced 12 Crimson
Tide turnovers, many of which
spurred opportunities in transi-
tion - Michigan notched 10 fast
break points in the first half.
If Michigan does not improve
its defense, Beilein says the chal-
lenge going forward is simple.
"The reality hits you right in
the face - how perfect we have
to play in order to beat teams like
this," he said.

half.
But the Crimson Tide roared
back just before the break and
closed the gap to four. And from
there, it was a fight down to the
last second.
And that last second, many -
including Michigan coach John
Beilein - thought that the ball
belonged in the hands of Har-
ris, the team's leading scorer and
slasher.
"I threw Darius in there to try
to get to the rim," Beilein said. "in
hindsight, we have another player
who should've had it, and if Manny
gets to the rim, something else

may happen."
Michigan will now return to
Ann Arhor with a 4-2 record and
a significantly humbled team. But
the Wolverines won't have much
time to think aboutthis weekend's
setbacks.
Boston College comes to Crisler
Arena on Wednesday, and Beilein
said he doesn't yet know exactly
what needs correcting with his
team.
"I don't have a plan other than
watch the tape, summarize what's
happened over three days, and,
then try to put it into a 24-hour
shell so we can do what we can
before the BC game," Beilein said.
"I don't have answers right now,
other than trying to make us bet-
ter than what we have."

Wolverines drop two straight
set losses before postseason

S U D 0 K U

By MARK BURNS are favored to win their third
Daily Sports Writer straight NCAA Championship.
"Penn State had 4,500 people
The Big Ten received the sec- there, a 95-match winning streak
ond-most NCAA Tournament bids on the line, it was Senior Night -
of any conference with six vol- it was a very tough environment
leyball teams earning the right to to play in," Michigan coach Mark
play in the postseason. Rosen said. "But I was very pleased
Michigan was one of those with the effort of our team."
teams - it was seeded 13th overall After dropping the first two
in the 64-team field. matches against Penn State (20-0,
But against two of those five 32-0), the Wolverines came out of
other teams this weekend, the the locker room looking to steal a
Wolverines learned they might set or two from the Lady Lions.
not yet be on the same level. In the team's last meeting, on
Michigan (12-8 Big Ten, 24-9 Oct. 16, Michigan took Penn State
overall) lost both matches to Ohio to five sets. It was the first and only
State and Penn State this weekend time the Lady Lions have played
in its final regular-season con- in a five-set match all year. With
tests. a 15-10 lead midway through the
Michigan on Saturday lost in third set, Michigan looked poised
three sets (25-21, 25-13, -25-23) to for a comeback.
the top-ranked Lady Lions, who But Penn State rallied behind

senior outside hitter Megan
Hodge, who tallied eight of the
Lady Lions'final 10 points en route
to a sweep of the Wolverines.
"Megan Hodge went just nuts
on us in the third game," Rosen
said.
Friday's match against Ohio
State produced the same results -
a three set sweep -but a different
reaction from Rosen.
"We played very poorly against
Ohio State," Rosen said. "It was
one of the poorest efforts of the
season."
The Wolverines played relative-
ly well offensively, posting a .343
attack percentage. Senior outside
hitter Juliana Paz led the team
with 11 kills, while junior setter
Lexi Zimmerman dished out 34
assists.
But Rosen was especially dis-

appointed with his team's defen-
sive play. He said serving and digs
were the team's weak points in
Columbus.
Michigan leads the Big Ten
with 1.67 service aces per set but
had zero against the Buckeyes.
Additionally, the team had 11 ser-
vice errors on the night.
If the Wolverines expect to
advance to the Sweet 16 for the
third consecutive year, they will
need to bring a stronger effort to
the first round of the NCAA Tour-
namnent in Cliff Keen Arena.
"Getting a top 16 seed in the
tournament was a goal of ours
since the spring season," Rosen
said. "But we know it doesn't guar-
antee us anything. ... At this point
in the season, you can throw seeds
and all of that out the window,
because it's single elimination."

'M' salvages weekend with win over Penn

Two close losses
hurt for program in
rebuilding mode
By ANDREW HADDAD
For the Daily
After suffering two one-point
losses to Bloomsburg and Ameri-
can on Saturday, the Michigan
wrestling team looked like it was
en route to another heartbreaking
defeat.
But against Penn, the Wolver-
ines rallied to come away with a
19-12 win in the Journeymen/Asics
Northeast Duals in Guilderland,
N.Y.
"I was really happy with the

way we picked ourselves up after
the first two matches," Michigan
coach Joe McFarland said. "Los-
ing two duals by one point each is
tough, but we were able to bounce
back."
The Quakers led the Wolverines
by three points before sophomore
Erich Smith and juniors Anthony
Biondo and Eddie Phillips swept
the last three matches for the Wol-
verines.
"In the first two matches, we
weren't wrestling with the inten-
sity you need to wrestle with,"
McFarland said. "Our guys were
too tentative, thinking too much
instead of reacting. They weren't as
aggressive as they needed to be."
TheWolverines are in the middle
of a transition year. Seven of the 11

wrestlers who competed Saturday
were freshmen or sophomores, and
their inexperience may have been
the cause of their troubles against
Bloomsburg and American.
But youth didn't seem to be a
problem for sophomore co-cap-
tain Zac Stevens. Wrestling at 133
pounds, he won all three of his
matches. He easily took 10-1 and
5-1 decisions against Bloomsburg
and American and then came back
from an early deficit to win a 6-4
decision against his Penn oppo-
nent.
"Even when I was losing, I felt
like I was in control the whole
time," Stevens said. "Sometimes
a couple of things go against you
early in matches, but you can't
worry about them."

After Saturday's solid perfor-
mance, Stevens is now 8-2 in just
his second year in the program.
Biondo lived up to his No. 14
national ranking and finished 3-0
on the weekend. Phillips and red-
shirt sophomore Justin . Zeerip
were also impressive, winning two
of their three matches.
The Wolverines will compete
next at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas
Invitational in Primm, Nev. this
weekend.
"I'm looking forward to seeing
how the guys respond to the week-
end we just had and if they can use
some of the momentum from the
Penn match as a stepping stone
for next weekend," McFarland
said. It'll be another big step in our
growth as ateam."

4

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