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January 07, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-01-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Friday, January 8, 2010 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, January 8, 2010 - 7

Lions to Lambs

Wolverines will continue to terrify

M' steals one
from Penn St.

Blitzkrieg. Robbery. Escape.
Whatever it is that best
explains the Michigan
men's basketball
team's 38-13
run in the final
12 minutes yes-
terday to pull
out a win at
Penn State, the
body language
on both teams GJON
afterward illus- JUNCAJ
trated the total
shock brought
on by that furi-
ous stretch.
I haven't seen the Wolverines
that ecstatic or overwhelmed after
any of their seven other victories
this season. Sure, the players were
relieved and proud after the win
over then-No. 15 Ohio State this
past Sunday. But they, without a
doubt, deserved that victory.
In Michigan's locker room
after last night's 64-55 win over
the Nittany Lions, players were
grinning from ear to ear, yelling,
joking, laughing. A few were in
hysterics. The Wolverines didn't
steal one from Penn State - they
put their hands in the cookie jar,
then smashed it over the Nittany
Lions' heads.
Watching Penn State swing-
man Chris Babb in the postgame
press conference - head down,
jaw dropped open - was like
watching a little boy being handed
a bouquet of balloons by a clown,
only to see the clown take out a
needle and pop every single one
before the kid could thank him.
Then, picture seven of the
clown's friends in the background
going nuts with each pop.
Michigan can thank Laval
Lucas-Perry for deflating Penn
State's NCAA Tournament hopes
and thus keeping the Wolverines'
chances alive. The redshirt sopho-
more guard nailed four triples in
just over five minutes late in the
game. What was a seven-point
deficit turned into an eight-point
lead in the blink of an eye. For the
third time in the past two sea-
sons (at Indiana and Minnesota
last year), Lucas-Perry suddenly

caught fire out to help
steal a much-needed
road victory.
"When I made that
third three I was like
'I got to shoot it again,'
" Lucas-Perry said
of the shot that gave
Michigan the lead for'
good with three min-
utes left. "I needed it.
I just hung my shot
more after I made
those threes."
After halftime,
there weren't any
schematic changes
that helped Michiganj
shut out Penn State's
superstar guard Talor
Battle (0-5 on field
goals, no points in the
second half), nor any
adjustments that led
to Michigan drilling!
seven of their final
10 threes after miss-
ing its first 13. In fact,,
Michigan coach John
Beilein didn't even;
give a speech between
"It can be some-
thing as simple as a
shot, a steal, a dunk,"
sophomore Zach
Novak said. "In the
first half, we were
right there but we just-
shot atrociously. We
come out in the second
half, the first shot goes
down, and we just get
confidence from that."
What turned thingsF
around last night was
as simple and cliche
as it is frustrating:
the Wolverines just
got ho at last possible
moment they could have Redshirt sophomore Laval Lucas-Perry blocks a shot from Penn Slats forward Dav d Jackson ms
afforded to. Michigan's 64-55 win over the Nittany Lions yesterday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
When Michigan was,
gettingthrashed in the first half, igan had played all season. know what to expect from them-
Battle said he heard Beilein yell- Contrast that with those last selves night in and night out.
ing at his players to 'just get to 12 minutes, and it's clear this What last night's win proves
the half' The Nittany Lions were Wolverine team will induce heart is beyond the "live and die by the
shooting 54 percent and forcing attacks for the rest of the season three" mantra that has been blud-
a litany of turnovers with just a (just like last year). And given this geoned into our heads from the
straight man-to-man defense. It team's streaky reputation, I'm not moment Beilein was hired.
was arguably the worst half Mich- even sure the coaches and players See JUNCAJ, PageB

Daily Sports Editor
things were scribbled on the
chalkboard of the Michigan
men's basketball team's locker
room after yesterday's game.
Road win and 2-1.
One, of course, was the goal
of yesterday's game: to come to
State College and beat the Nit-
tany Lions. The other was Michi-
gan's Big Ten record after coming
back from a deficit that reached
as many as 16 points to knock off
Penn State on the road.
In one of the most schizo-
phrenic efforts of the season,
Michigan (2-1 Big Ten, 8-6 over-
all) came back from a 15-point
halftime deficit and ended the
game on a 38-13 run in the last
12 minutes to beat Penn State
"Winning on the road in the
Big Ten is so hard but the way
we did it really showed that we
had an awful lot of heart and
are in great shape," Beilein said.
"Because it takes a lot out of you
when you have the start like we
The performance in the first
half was perhaps Michigan's
worst of the season as it went
down 31-16 at halftime in what
promised to be a blowout.
Just three players registered
points in the half. Senior forward
DeShawn Sims led the Wolver-
ines with 10.
But as poor as the Wolverines
first half effort was, they put on a
show in the second.
Michigan started the game
shooting 0-for-14 from behind
the arc. But when sophomore
Zack Novak hit the team's first
three with 11:56 remaining in the
second half, the team went on a
Harris and Novak came back
a few possessions later to make
back-to-back threes and Lucas-

Perry hit four key shots from
behind the arc, including a dag-
ger into the heart of the Penn
State fanbase to put Michigan
eight points ahead of the Nittany
Lions (0-3, 8-7) with two minutes
to play.
"We're all great shooters, we
all can shoot the three, we call
can put it on the floor and we all
can make plays for this team,"
Lucas-Perry said. "And that's
something we did tonight, it just
happened to be at the end, which
we needed the most."
After the Novak and Harris
made their threes to spark the
run, the team continued to storm
back into the game, led by Sims
who impressed with a 25-point
effort that kept the Wolverines
in the contest during in most dire
"Credit the Sims kid because
he kept them in the game to begin
with," Penn State guard Talor
Battle said. "Every time we would
try to get out he would make a
big play then Novak got hot and
(Lucas) Perry. A team that lives
and dies by the three like that is
never out of the basketball game,
and four shots they're right back
in the game."
The Wolverines had nine turn-
overs in the first half - their sea-
son average is 10 per game - but
got it together and had just three
in the second half.
Sims started the game hot,
making his first two shots, and
was a force to be reckoned with
down low.
"We started the first half, we
went inside and scored," Beilein
said. "Simswas fouled and missed
them both and all of a sudden we
got the 'my turns' type of think-
ing, where 'OK, I've got my own
gameplan.' "
While the win was Michigan's
first true road win this season,
more importantly, it proved that
the Wolverines could dig them-
selves out of a hole.

" Blue turns around Big Ten slide at home


very n
day ni
In fac
the e
seen i
one ca
a stro
half, e
able 3
had th
easy i
half, s
first fi
half t]
said. "
but w
win ga
up, th
kids o
back in
to be g
this s
The V
head t

3orseth earns of what they hope can turn out
to be another sweep to take on
t in-conference Wisconsin on Sunday at 1:00
veep of tenure Earlier in the season, Michi-
T gan was expected to have offen-
against C5XW'R sive woes because of the six
freshmen on its roster, but that
By ZAK PYZIK hasn't been the case. Wolverine
Daily Sports Writer coach Kevin Borseth has been
working all of the younger play-
shman Dayeesha Hollins ers into the game, and they have
d a new, much shorter and played a critical role in Michi-
ice haircut for the Thurs- gan's success.
ght rematch between the Hollins racked in 10 points of
gan women's basketball her own, and the freshmen as
a whole scored 26 points even
IOWA 43 though just Hollins and guard
MICHIGAN 63 Jenny Ryan started.
t, Meanwhile, sophomore Car-
ntire Wolverine squad men Reynolds led Michigan in
d a new look in Crisler the first half Notching eight
, one that fans have not points coupled with junior
n a while - a win. This guard Veronica Hicks eight
me in the form of a 63-43 points as well.
y over the Hawkeyes. "We knew that we needed to
higan started off with take it at them and thatwe didn't
ng lead, something they want them to set up their zone,"
failed to do in their last Hicks said. "I just pushed it up
Big Ten games. The the court as fast as I could. We
rines led the entire first were playing kind of sloppy, but
nding it with a comfort- we needed toube aggressive."
1-13 advantage. Michigan Neither the offense nor the
ae lead for the entire first freshmen singlehandedly won
this game for the Wolverines.
the win didn't come Michigan hit the boards with
for the Wolverines. The 46 rebounds. Hicks had a sea-
eyes rallied in the second son high 18 of her own.
coring more points in the "Let me tell you," Hicks said.
ve minutes of the second "I have never done that before.
han its total in the first I have gotten double-digit
rebounds but never near 20.
is is a really great win," Maybe angels were lifting me
gan coach Kevin Borseth to the ball, or they've got a heel
I don't know if it's a relief, in my shoe."
e are here just trying to The Wolverines knew beffore
ames. They were banged the game how critical it was to
ey have four of their top ensure that the Hawkeyes didn't
ut. When those kids get get second chances. Borseth
n the lineup they're going made sure they knew it.
ood." "I knew that going into this
aning both Iowa games conference this game will be
eason is Borseth's first good for us to break our streak,"
of a Big Ten opponent Hicks said. "Especially when
he's been at Michigan. you were supposed to finish at
Volverines and him will the bottom of the conference
o Madison for game one and you beat a team twice."

Whoever said experience guar-
antees improvement was proved
wrong ina big way by the Michi-
gan woman's basketball team
Last season (3-15 Big Ten,
10-20 overall)
Michigan coach
Kevin Borseth AMY
had four start- SCARANO
ing seniors to On Women's
work with. Basketball
Center Krista
Phillips is the
only starting senior this year and
two freshmen, Dayeesha Hollins
and Jenny Ryan, have started every
game this season.
To start last season, the team
was impressive, opening 8-4 in
non-conference match ups and 2-2
in the first four games of the Big
Ten season before spiraling into
despair, losing 13 of 14 remaining
conference games.
But this year's-young team will
not suffer that same fate.
The Wolverines still have a lot of
work to do halfway into the season
with most of their Big Ten games
looming. But Michigan (2-3, 10-5)
is already on its way up, standing
ninth in the conference after being
ranked dead last in the pre-season
media poll. They swept Iowa - the
first ever sweep in Borseth's tenure
- and have just one loss at home
after a heartbreaker against North-
western last week. They certainly
have the tools to do a lot of damage
in conference.
Offensive output has skyrock-
eted from last season largely due to
Hollins' impressive freshman cam-
paign thus far. The Wolverines are
scoring an average of 70 points per
game. Last year, they averaged 55.
Hollins has put up double digits
in all but two games this season,
and her confidence in the college
arena continues to grow.
"Oh my goodness. I was so ner-
vous," Hollins said after her first

game. "My hands were sweating
and I was shaking and I don't know
Ten games into the season,
against Xavier, Hollins came alive.
Her nerves had vanished as she
led the team with a career-high 22
"I just told her I wanted to see
the playerthat I saw play in Atlanta
a couple years ago," Borseth said
after the win over Xavier in her
hometown of Cincinnati on Decem-
ber 14. "I just wanted herto go out
there and play. What you witnessed
out there tonight was the way that
kid's capable of playing."
Ryan, also a freshman, leads the
team in rebounds, averaging nearly
seven per game, two more than any
of her teammates.
The six freshmen this year have
helped created a team chemistry
wholly different from last year, and
it seems tobe helpingon the court.
The off-court bond has helped them
to have confidence in one another
on the court.
"Love the new players," sopho-
more guard Courtney Boylan said.
"Love the freshman. Our team
already has such a better chemistry.
We get along in the locker room we
get along on the court. We battle
out there but when we get off the
court we are all still friends. I think
that's a big thing that we all trust
each other."
More than half of the squad
remains in the dark to last season's
3-15-conference schedule - and they
want to keep it that way. The new
energy and optimism the fresh-
men bringto the team is crucial if
the veteran players are to keep last
year's disappointing history in the
So while the freshmen don't
know how they will perform
against top teams like Illinois and
Minnesota, they've proved that
sometimes its better not to know
what you can't do.

Lack of experience a
-plus for Michigan

Junior Veronica Hicks talied a team-high 18 rebounds in the Wolverines' 20-point victory
over the Hawkeyes last night at Crisler Arena. As a whole, Michigan pulled down 46
rebounds to owa's 37. Hicks finished the night with 10 points, eightsin the first half.

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