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February 17, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-17

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Thursday, February 17, 2011- 7A

Illinois' size, McCamey prove This one hurt, but
too much as Blue falls short not all is lost

'M' struggled from opened up an i-s lead, the Illini
(7-6, 17-9) went on a 14-4 run
beyond the arc, but and eventually took an 11-point
lead into halftime.
still had chances to In the second half, Morgan
made his presence felt on-both
win down stretch ends of the court after making.
some adjustments. And it was a
By LUKE PASCH battle in the paint to the end.
Daily Sports Writer Tisdale was held to just five
second-half points, en route to
CHAMPAIGN - The relative- 12 on the night. Morgan also
ly undersized Michigan men's didn't miss a field goal in that
basketball team was probably half, also finishing with 12
relieved MICHIGAN 52 points. Tisdale registered eight
to hear on ILLINOIS 54 rebounds on the night, while
Wednesday Morgan had seven.
night that 7-foot-1 Illinois center But whatever Morgan
Mike Tisdale wouldn't be start- brought to Michigan's inside
ing for just the second time all game, it wasn't enough to off-
season. set the Wolverines' miserable
But whatever solace the Wol- shooting performance. The
verines found didn't last long. team shot just 2-for-18 from
Seconds after checking in early beyond the arc - including one
in the first half, Tisdale post- make from junior guard Stu
ed up underneath the basket, Douglass (1-for-8 from 3-point
where Fighting Illini forward territory) and one from fresh- -
Mike Davis found him for the man forward Evan Smotrycz
easy layup. Michigan had trou- (1-for-5).
ble dealing with Illinois' height Nonetheless, Michigan made
advantage all night long, and the game interesting in the sec-
the Wolverines fell on the road, ond half, bringing the contest
54-52. within one point on a drive to
"I let them get some oppor- the hoop by sophomore point
tunities that they probably guard Darius Morris with 15.8
shouldn't have, Tisdale espe- seconds remaining. On the next
cially," Michigan redshirt fresh- play, Smotrycz fouled Bill Cole E ROMDaiy
man center Jordan Morgan in the remaining seconds, who Illinois senior point guard Demetri McCamey scored 18 points on Wednesday.
said after the game. "At the hit one of his two free throws.
same time, I thought I can play In the Wolverines' final worked on that maybe a little bit 11 points, seven assists and six
with them. I'm not intimidated possession, Smotrycz missed too much." boards. But to no surprise, Mor-
by bigger size or them being a potential game-winning Senior point guard Demetri ris claims he wasn't focused
seniors." 3-pointer with four seconds McCamey was Illinois' leading on the much-hyped matchup
Michigan (6-8 Big Ten, 16-11 remaining. scorer on the night, tallying 18 against McCamey at the point.
overall) got off to a quick start Then Douglass got the offen- points on 7-for-15 shooting from "It's never about individuals,"
in the contest, as reigning Big sive rebound and missed his the field, including four 3-point- Morris said. "It's Michigan ver-
Ten Freshman of the Week Tim own 3-point attempt as the ers. But Michigan limited his sus Illinois. (McCamey's) a good
Hardaway Jr. put on an impres- clock expired. ability to distribute the ball, as player ... But I really don't mea-
sive shooting display early. "That (shot) hung up there for the Wolverines held one of the sure by that. If you want to say
Hardaway registered seven - it seemed like - 10 seconds," nation's top assist-men to only anything, their team won, so he
points over the first four min- .Douglass said. "I thought it was one on the night. won."
utes of the game, including an going in ... I knew I had to-get-it M Ca ey's counterpart, With the loss, Michigan's
and-1 on a flashy drive to the up there. I mess around maybe a Morris, put orth another well- chances of a berth in the NCAA
hoop. But after the Wolverines little too much in the gym, so I rounded effort, finishing with Tournament took a serious blow.

f there's one thing Darius
Morris can count on every
game, it's having a significant
size advantage over his counter-
Most point BEN
guards hover ESTES
around 6-feet tall
- almost none On Men's
can claim to be Bosketboll
6-foot-4, which is
what Morris measures inat.
But as the sophomore found out
Wednesday night - and as Michi-
gan itself found out - Illinois is a
different animal. Staring across at
him on every possession was Fight-
ing Illini guard Demetri McCamey,
a 6-foot-3 physical specimen who
wasn'tgoingto let Morris just dance
his way into the lane like he does so
And even if he did manage to get
into the paint, Morris had a trio of
skyscraper Illinois forwards stand-
ing in his path. It's no surprise then
that Morris went just 4-for-12 from
the field, that the Wolverines shot
just 37.3 percent for the game or that
Michigan made just 2-of-18 of its
The Wolverines couldn't pull this
one off, missing agreatopportunity
to collect a Top-50 RPIlwin on the
road and put themselves solidly,
on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Instead,they're leftwalkingthe
same tightrope they were already
on, just with even less margin of
But Michigan can live with that.
From the beginning, Illinois,
with its army of lengthy bigs and
its top-ranked Big Ten defense, was
going to present a different kind of
challenge. Michigan coach John
Beilein knew it would take a monu-
mental effort for his team to spring
the upset.
Every time the 7-foot-1 Mike Tis-
dale casually reached over a Wol-
verine defender to snatch a pass out
of the air and put it in the basket,
you were reminded that thiswas
perhaps the worst possible matchup
for Michigan in conference play.
Beilein's team thrives on hitting
3-pointers - those are a lot harder
to convert when players like junior
guards Stu Douglass and Zack
Novak find opponents as many as
five-to-six inches taller than them
leaping out to contest their shots.
The Wolverines live on Morris
and otherball-handlerspenetrat-
ing the lane and puttingup tough
layups - when you have to wait

until you've almost fallento the
court again on your shot attempt
just to getseparation, those aren't
goingto fall with anyregularity.
Heck, even No.2 Ohio State
is abettermatchupforthisteam
- Jared Sullinger is one of the
best players in the country, but at
least Jordan Morgan can lookhim
straight inthe eye when trying to
deny him in the post, instead of
staringup at someone like Tisdale,
helpless to do anything once the ball
reaches his hands.
So while Michigan iswell past
the point oftakingsolace in playing
hard and just being able to compete
with teams better than it, the Wol-
verines needn't worry about this
one too much.
Instead, they should be worrying
about that road finale at Minnesota
next week. The Fighting Illini and
the Golden Gophers are very similar
teams in terms of issues their sizes
But Michigan knows it can beat
Minnesota - itlost by just four
pointsin the teams' previous meet-
ing this season, and it topped the
Gophers the last four times before
that (meanwhile, the Wolverines'
haven't won atAssembly Hall for 16
Looking at Michigan's final five
games going into Wednesday night,
it appeared it had to win three to
give it asolid shotof makingthe
NCAA Tournament.
Just four games are left, but the
fact remains the same - the Wol-
verines need three wins, and their
best opportunities for nabbing them
are still out there on the schedule.
Thiswin would have helped
immensely, which is why much will
be made of the last possession, when
Beilein's squad nearly made two
desperation shots to win the game.
"I was looking just to get (the
last shot) oft," Beilein said. "I don't
know (what would've happened) if
(Douglass) would've had just a little
bit more time to set his feet. That
would have been a great way for
Michigan to win in Champaign."
It would have been - but a win in
Iowa City is just as important at this
point. So,too, are potential victories
over Wisconsin, Minnesotaand
Michigan State.
The Wolverines' Big Dance
hopes suffered a blow Wednesday
in Champaign. But after losing to a
eam that, realistically, itshould've
lost to, Michigan is far from dead.
The tightrope, though, just got a
little shakier.

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ames begin Monday, March 7
L Yost Ice Arena
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Even though there are
just four games left in the
regular season, Michigan
coach John Beilein and his
crew are still determined to
make a push.
"We're looking forward
to Iowa, and we have no
doubts we can win out the
next four games and go onto
the Big Ten Tournament
and make a run," Douglass

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Father Gabriel Richard
Lecture Series
'The Moral Imperative of Higher Education
in the Ecumenical Century'
Thursday, February 17th, 4:10pm
Rackham Amphitheater
John Sexton, Ph.D., J.D.,
President and Professor of Law,
New York University

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