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February 03, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailY.com
.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 7A

'M' seeking offensive
spark against RedHawks

Defenseman turned
forward Vaughan
excelling on
offensive end
By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
While the ninth-ranked Wol-
verines have gone 5-2-0 since
securing their 14th Great Lakes
Invitational
Championship - NOTEBOOK
in late Decem-
ber, Michigan coach Red Beren-
son is far from satisfied.
Both of Michigan's losses in
2011 have come at the hands of
Michigan State, which currently
sits at 10th place in the CCHA.
After dropping Saturday night's
contest, 2'1, to the Spartans,
Berenson said the team needed
"more players overachieving"
offensively.
"We want to get our team
going," Berenson said after
practice on Monday. "We want
to have four lines that can play
against the opponents' top lines if
it comes to that. We're still look-
ing for chemistry and combina-
tions on lines. Nothing is in stone.
"(Senior forwards Carl Hage-
lin and Matt Rust) are not in
stone - I mean not when Rust
has got one goal in the last fif-
teen games or more. Carl has
scored two five-on-five goals in
the last 10 games, but that's not
enough for a top player like him.
You never stop looking at your
team."
Hagelin and Rust have been
anchors of the Michigan offense
for much of their careers, as the
duo has played on the same line
in 115 of their 157 games that
have taken place while they've

been Wolverines.
The pair played on the same
line early this week in practice,
but in a push for more produc-
tion from his forwards, Beren-
son has shaken up the lines to
spark certain players.
Sophomore forwards Kevin
Lynch and Chris Brown
switched lines, with Lynch now
playing with Rust and Hagelin
and Brown playing next to soph-
omore forward A.J. Treais and
freshman forward Luke Moffatt.
Noting that the "puck luck"
present earlier this season-might
be running out for his Wolver-
ines, Berenson said the team
needs to create more quality
scoring opportunities each game
- and capitalize on them from
now on.
"We were going through a
stretch where I kept saying,
'We're not playing that well, but
we're getting puck luck,"' Beren-
son said. "Maybe the other night
we didn't get the puck luck, but
we still weren't playing thatwell.
We generated maybe five or six
really good chances, and Luke
Glendening got five of them, and
he just couldn't score."
Heading into a weekend series
with No. 13 Miami (Ohio) in
Oxford, the Wolverines know
they'll need to score more than
one goal each night to have the
best chance at earning six points
out of the two contests.
SCOOTER KEEPS SCORING:
Senior forward Scooter Vaughan
spent the majority of his career
as a defenseman - including his
first two seasons as a Wolverine.
But after switching to power
forward at the start of his junior
year, Vaughan now embraces
the role in front of him and has
strived to make his senior season
count.
"I think I will always think

like a defenseman," Vaughan
said. "Growing up (with) so
many years of my life playing
defense, I think that will stick
(with) me the rest of the way. But
I think as the games go on, I'm
getting more confident with the
puck.
"In practice, I'm more confi-
dent, I'm doing some things (to)
get more patient with (the puck).
I feel good offensively, butI need
to pick it up in the defensive zone
a little bit. I'll probably always
think like a defenseman but just
have offensive tendencies."
With an assist on senior for-
ward Louie Caporusso's goal
this past Saturday - the only
tally for Michigan in that game
- Vaughan tied his career high
for assists in a single season with
five.
In addition to his five helpers,
Vaughan already has nine goals
to his name this season - and
there are still eight regular sea-
son games left.
Vaughan even scored the first
game-winning goal of his career
against Alaska two weekends
ago.
"It's nice to contribute offen-
sively," Vaughan said. "I'm a
power forward - my strengths
are defensively. But when I can
put some offensive production as
well, that's only going to help my
cause. It feels good to contribute
to the team, to put the pucks, in
net has been nice."
NOTES: With such a tight race
at the top of the CCHA - just
five points separate Notre Dame,
Michigan, and Miami - Beren-
son insisted earlier this week
that he is trying to keep Michi-
gan from "scoreboard watching."
Berenson said he is involved in
the polls, but doesn't even look at
the PairWise comparison ratings
until the season is over.

CHRIS RYBA/Daily
Michigan coach John Beilein anid the Wolverines will have second crack at knocking off the Buckeyes on Thursday night.
Michiganlooks to hand
No.stI Ohio State firs loss

By CHANTEL JENNINGS
Daily Sports Editor
The last time a team went
undefeated and won the NCAA
Division-I college basketball
championship was in 1976,
when the Indiana Hoosiers
capped a perfect 32-0 season
with a win over the Michigan
men's basketball team.
That was 35 years ago. But
with tonight's game against No.
1 Ohio State, Michigan has the
opportunity to, in a way, avenge
that loss from so long ago.
The Buckeyes (9-0 Big Ten,
22-0 overall) haven't been shy
about their intentions on adding
a National Championship to the
team's resume by the end of the
season. But for now, Ohio State
coach Thad Matta is just try-
ing to keep things as simple as
possible - focusing on what his
team needs to do to play better
basketball.
And after the Buckeyes' last
game against Northwestern -
in which Ohio State narrowly
scraped by in a 58-57 win -
Matta began looking at how his
squad could improve against
a young Michigan team that is
coming off two huge wins in
conference play.
While the Wolverines (3-6,
13-9) were able to take down
the Spartans in East Lansing,
they head into similar territory
at Value City Arena - where
the Buckeyes haven't lost in
almost a year.
The Wolverines split their
regular season series with
the Buckeyes last year, with
each team winning at home.
But this year, Ohio State may
be more skilled than last
year.
"I've never seen a team
that shoots so well and also

has such an inside presence,
it's just rare that you see that,"
Michigan coach John Beilein.
said Monday. "Even if you can
mark up on one guy and do
something in the post, but when
you have four shooters shooting
over 40 percent (from range) in
Big Ten play - the best defen-
sive league in the country - it's
just hard."
When the Wolverines lost
to the Buckeyes, 68-64, in Ann
Arbor early last month, Ohio
State's spot-on 3-point shoot-
ing was in full effect as the team
shot 50 percent from behind the
arc.
Since starting conference
play, the Buckeyes have gotten
even better - three players are
in the top 10 in 3-point shooting
in the Big Ten.
Unlike Ohio State, which
thrives from beyond the arc,
Michigan has spent most of the
season living or dying by the
3-point shot.
When the Wolverines are
feeling it and shooting nearly 50
percent from behind the 3-point
line, they haveupset teams like
Michigan State and made Iowa
look mismatched against the
young Michigan squad. But,
when the Wolverines shoot
around 30 percent, like they did
against Minnesota and Indiana,
they've lost games they had the
potential to win.
Like Matta, Beilein is also

keeping it simple for his young
team - stressing the impor-
tance of his team's ability to
move on after a disappointing
play or game.
"It will paralyze you," Beilein
explained. "When you're not
having a good game and you
keep thinking about it."
The game marks the Wol-
verines' second cluster of the
Big Ten slate - four games in
nine days. Michigan competed
in its first cluster in early Janu-
ary, starting with its matchup
against then-No. 3 Kansas. The
Wolverines were unable to col-
lect a win in that tough four-
game stretch.
But now, with the team
knowing what to expect, the
Wolverines hope to improve on
thoirlast showing in such close
games - all are rematches with
teams that beat Michigan ear-
lier this season.
"I think the second time
around they know a little bit
more what to expect, but so do
the other teams," Beilein said.
"So that will be the thing that
we have to continue to pound
into (the players) - that each
game is separate. If you win on
the road and they come to (Ann
Arbor), you better be ready.
"And if they beat you at their
place, you owe them one at your
home place. You have to be
ready because they are too -
they're trying to sweep you."

TCtD NEEDLE/Daily
Senior Forward Scooter Vaughan has tallied nine goals and five assists this season.

Big Ten-leading Nittany Lions visit
Crisler with first place on the line

000000

By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Writer
It was hard not to feel optimis-
tic for the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team after it beat then-No.
24 Ohio State on the road - a vic-
tory that marked the program's
first regular-season sweep of its
rival. The Wolverines were riding
a four-game winning streak and
were expected to roll over lowly
Minnesota to set up a showdown
for first place with Penn State on
Thursday.
In the Big Ten, though, any-
* thing can happen. Instead of
entering the game against the
Nittany Lions with a five-game
winning streak, Michigan will
play first-place Penn State after
coming off a dishearteningloss to
the Golden Gophers.
"I told these guys at the begin-
ning of the year, 'You'll be lucky

to win one Big Ten road game,'
and at this point right now, you'll
be lucky to win another one,"
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
said after the Ohio State game.
"I don't think anybody is that
much better than anybody else,
or that there is that big of a sepa-
rator where you can't come in one
night and not show up with your
best effort."
Luckily for Michigan (6-3 Big
Ten, 13-8 overall), it has played its
best basketball at home. The Wol-
verines are 8-3 at Crisler Arena
this season, including 3-1 in the
Big Ten. They also average close
to 10 points more at home than
on the road. They will need that
offense against the Nittany Lions,
who are leading the Big Ten with
over 80 points per game, good for
12th best in the country.
In a lot of ways, Michigan and
Penn State (7-2 Big Ten, 18-5

overall) are similar teams. Both
rely on their 3-point shooting for
a majority of their offense, which
they try to set up by forcing
turnovers. The only problem for
the Wolverines, though, is how
proficiently Penn State is able to
execute the keys to its game plan.
The Nittany Lions lead the
nation in 3-point percentage at
a ludicrous 45.1 percent. That
number is close to three points
higher than any other team in the
country - a scary thought for the
Wolverines, who have repeatedly
been burnt from deep this season.
Penn State is led by freshman
extraordinaire Maggie Lucas,
who is averaging 16.4 points per
game, while shooting more than
47 percent from downtown.
The Nittany Lions also feature
three players who average more
than 10 points per game, and
two others who average nine per

game.
Penn State also leads the Big
Ten in steals, averaging close
to 11 per game. Though this is a
major part of its game, it may not
be a big issue for the Wolverines.
Michigan gives the ball away
just 13 times per game, which is
No.2 in the country. The Wolver-
ines also have the best turnover
margin in the conference at +3.5,
which will be important against
a Penn State team that is built
defensively around forcing turn-
overs.
Against Ohio State, Michigan
shot almost 46 percent on 3-point
attempts, including close to 67
percent in the first half. It forced
18 turnovers, and made big shots
when needed.
In order for the Wolverines to
beat another highly touted team,
they will need to execute much of
the same gameplan.

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