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January 10, 2011 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-10

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The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

January 10, 2011-3B I

Beilein brings another top team to Criser

Michigan plays
hoops powerhouse
in front of sellout
crowd at Crisler
Daily Sports Editor
Yesterday, there was the famil-
iar sight of a man bicycling down
Hoover Street with a sign around
his neck reading, "I need tickets."
For the first time all season,
Ann Arbor felt alive for Michi-
gan men's basketball when the
Wolverines faced off against No.
3 Kansas on Sun-
day. It was the NOTEBOOK
second time this
season Michigan has played in
front of a soldout crowd.
The first time was in the Wol-
verines' Big Ten season opener
against then-No. 12 Purdue, but
that happened during break and
the student section seemed to be
filled with an older crowd. But
against the Jayhawks, the Maize
Rage stretched nearly the entire
length of the sideline behind both
teams benches.
"The fans were great, they've
come out to pretty much all our
games and filled it up ever since
Big Ten started," redshirt fresh-
man center Jordan Morgan
said on Sunday. "It's been great.
There's been tons of energy in the
building and it motivates us and it
kind of takes the other team out
so it's been really good."
In Beilein's previous three sea-
sons, he's brought in a national
powerhouse to compete in Ann
Arbor. During the 2007-08 sea-
son, the Wolverines lost, 69-54, to
then-No. 8 UCLA. But in the past
two years, Michigan has pulled
off an upset - beating then No.
4 Duke in 2008 and then-No. 15

UConn in 2010.
"It's why a lot of these young
men came here," Beilein said of
Crisler's atmosphere on Sun-
day. "Tim Hardaway came here
because he attended the Duke
game two years ago ... You're not
always going to have the second-
or third-ranked team coming in
here. But I do think the people
who came to this game tonight
see we walked away with a loss
but at the same time, I hope they
say, 'I like watching that team.
That team's gonna get better.'"
known for fielding teams that play
a strong man-to-man defense, but
in last year's contest with the
then-top ranked Jayhawks, the
Wolverines played a 1-3-1 zone
"Last year we had success with
it when we played them, so we
wanted to throw it at them and
kept them off balance," sopho-
more guard Darius Morris said
"And the couple of times we
did it in the first half, it seemed to
slow them down, so we stuck with
it in the second half, and we were
getting stops."
The zone defense forced Kan-
sas to commit 16 turnovers, and
Michigan capitalized by scoring
14 points off those turnovers.
The defense also held the Kan-
sas offense, which averages 86
points per game, to just St points
during regulation. The Jayhawk
offense is the sixth-highest scor-
ing in the country. But more
impressively, Michigan held Kan-
sas to shooting 33 percent from
the field, when the Jayhawks
normally shoot a nation-best 54
"We attacked (Michigan's zone)
miserably," Kansas coach Bill Self.
said on Sunday. "We worked a
lot against a 1-3-1. We attacked it

Junior guard Stu Douglass grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds against No. 3 Kansas on. Sunday. Michigan forced overtirne against the Jayhawks, but fell 67-60.

miserably last year and we meant
to do some different things and
then reverted back. Of course, it
doesn't help when you don't make
shots. That's about as bad as you
can play against a zone I think."

It's not uncommon to see junior
guard Zack Novak fight on the
boards. A year after switching
from the four-spot to a guard, he's
been a familiar face on the glass
- in six games so far this sea-
son, he's grabbed at least seven

But junior guard Stu Douglass
joined his co-captain this, game
and grabbed 10 rebounds of his
own, five more than his previous
career best.
The two combined for half

of the team's boards and both
grabbed eight rebounds on the
defensive end.
"Douglass and Novak had 21
rebounds between them," Beilein
said Sunday. "I mean, they just
worked their tails off."

From Page 1B
Following Saturday's night win,
Berenson said his team had to be
more disciplined against the Spar-
tans and "play better without the
_ puck" too. And after a scoreless
first period - in which Michigan
was a little "vulnerable," accord-
ing to Berenson - Hagelin got the
Wolverines on the board first as he
threw a bad-angle shot on net from
the right half boards. The attempt
caught netminder Drew Palmisano
offguard, and the goal was the first
of two on the night for the Swedish
Additionally, after a penalty-filled
From Page 1B
Michigan wouldn't enjoy that lead
for too long. Kansas forward Marcus
Morris hit two free throws to put the
Jayhawks within a point and then
his twin brother Markieff Morris
drained a 3-pointer to put Kansas
ahead by two. The Jayhawks didn't
look back.
"It's hard to defend those guys,"
redshirt freshman Jordan Morgan
said of the Morris twins. "We tried,
but if you cover one, the other one
comes from nowhere and scores."
The Morris twins accounted for
35 points and 22 rebounds collec-
tively. Michigan's defense fared well
against its first top-five opponent
of the season, holding Kansas to its
lowest total score all season - even
though the game went into overtime.
"We'll be happy with that," Mor-
ris said about the defensive perfor-
mance. "For a team that's averaging
over 80 points a game, that's really
important that our defense is up
there with anybody ... Our defense
leads to our offense so if we can get
stops it opens up a lot of things for us
on the offensive end."
Kansas struggled to work against
the different looks that the Wolver-
ines showed them on defense. The
Jayhawks turned the ball over 16
times and netted just two 3-point-
ers. But defense wasn't the issue -
Michigan struggled to produce on
the other end of the court.
The Wolverines didn't score a
field goal until nearly seven minutes
into the first half when freshman
Tim Hardaway Jr. made a 3-pointer
- the only 3-pointer made of the 10
attempts taken by Michigan in the
first stanza.
As the game progressed, Michi-
gan's shooting woes continued. The
Wolverines went into halftime trail-
ing 25-18 - the lowest number of
points scored in a first half for Michi-
gan this season.
With 3:27 left in the second half
and the Wolverine's down by six
points, Novak hit a 3-pointer that got
the Maize and Blue faithful on their
feet. Hardaway Jr. followed with a
layup and Novak hit another field
goal to push Michigan within two

contest on Friday night, the Wol-
verines took just three penalties on
Saturday and took advantage of their
own power play attempts once again.
With Michigan clinging to a 2-0
lead late in the third period, A.J.
Treais iced the contest with the
team's second power play goal of the
night. Then, freshman defenseman
Mac Bennett scored his first goal of
the season to put the Wolverines up
by four.
"Tonight was huge. It was an
opportunity to climb back in the
standings," Hunwick said on Satur-
"We knew Notre Dame won last
night so we knew we were four
(points) back so we know we need to
put together some wins."
"We didn't give up," Novak said
about the final five minutes of play.
"(We) stayed persistent with the
game plan. I don't think we really
changed anything. We forced some
turnovers and we knocked down
some shots finally, and that was the
That was the first time all game
that Michigan scored on three con-
Secutive offensive possessions - the
Wolverines shot just 33-percent from
the field.
But down just two points with 53
seconds remaining, the Wolverines
knew they couldn't hesitate.
The stage was set for Morris, and
he took the game into his hands in
"You don't work
hard all summer
just to come
up short."
the Wolverines' final possession. For
Morris, the net was probably as small
as it's been all season, but he cut into
the lane, took the fade-away jumper
with 34 seconds left and he drained
it to knot the game.
In overtime, Kansas's offense was
more productive than it was early on.
The Jayhawks made two 3-pointers
and 8-of-9 free throws to spoil any
hopes of a Michigan upset.
After 45 minutes of play, the Wol-
verines walked off their home court,
Although they stuck with one
of the nation's best teams, Morris
wasn't looking for any silver lining in
the outcome of the game.
"It's always good to play closely
against a nationally-ranked team
like this, down to the wire and over-
time, but I'm not really into moral
victories and I don't think my team
is either," Morris said. "You don't
want to work hard all summer just
to come up short - that's not our
goal. Our goal is to get these wins
and hopefully make the (NCAA)

From Page 1B
team's close loss represented
one of those such 'wins,' he was
characteristically unenthusiastic
in his response.
The truth is, all of his Wolver-
ine teammates should be so bitter.
It's very easy (and tempting)
to see this game from that posi-
tive point of view. After all, here
was asteam picked to finish at or
near the bottom of the Big Ten.
Its opponent Sunday was one of
the most talented and powerful
teams in the country.
The Jayhawks will be a popu-
lar Final Four pick when all the
prognosticators start filling out
their brackets come March. For-
mer Ohio State great Clark Kel-
logg was here to call the game for
And it would shock nobody if,
when he broadcasts the Tourna-
ment's Championship game in
Houston in a couple months, it's
Kansas cutting down the nets.
And then there were the Wol-
From Page 1B
for a big game like this - I'd
probably blame it on that."
But how many big games are
needed before Morris and his
team realize they can't afford
to get off to such a slow start?
Everybody knows the Wolver-
ines are young, but there's likely
an expiration date for the "we're
just too young" excuse.
Entering Sunday, Morris aver-
aged 7.7 points and 5 assists per
game against ranked opponents,
including Wisconsin, which
had the fourth most votes of
unranked teams when the Wol-
verines played in Madison. Both

verines. Their expectations have
gone up with their surprising start
to the season, but this is still a
team with exactly two upperclass-
men and four first-year regulars.
The scene was telling when
sophomore guard Matt Vogrich
entered the game in the first half.
Vogrich was matched up with
Jayhawk guard Josh Selby, a
freshman sensation.
Selby was ranked the No. 1
recruit in America out of high
school; Vogrich was No. 137.
Vogrich picked Michigan over
respectable programs Notre
Dame and Stanford; Selby chose
Kansas over Connecticut, Ken-
tucky, and Syracuse, among other
Selby was suspended for the
first nine games of the season for
receiving improper benefits as
a recruit; the most anyone ever
offered Vogrich on the AAU cir-
cuit was a ham sandwich.
But here was Michigan, which
found itself down 25-10, which
shot 26.1 percent from the field in
the first half, which didn't make
a shot until nearly seven minutes
are well below his season aver-
For the first half of Sunday's
game, it looked no different, as
Morris finished up the opening
frame 2-of-7 from the field with
just two assists. He managed the
shot clock poorly. He struggled to
find scoring opportunities. And
when there were openings, he
failed to execute.
Then, a new Darius Morris
stepped onto the court in the
second half. He was suddenly his
cool and confident self again -
patient, but not too patient - no
longer afraid to attack the Jay-
hawk defense aggressively.
"We were calmer," Morris said.
"Emotionally, we settled down,
and we started running our

had elapsed in the game.
Here were the Wolverines -
nowhere near as long, athletic or
talented as their opponent - forc-
ing the Jayhawks to play at their
pace, throwing zones at them and
causing a season-low point total
even with the extra period.
Wow, one might say, how did
such a bad team manage to hang
with Kansas for so long? They
should be proud of themselves.
"I mean, we proved that we can
play with them, but how far does
that really go?" redshirt freshman
forward Jordan Morgan pondered
to nobody in particular after Sun-
day's game. "We wanted to beat
them. We were in a position to
beat them ... We were there, we
should've won that game."
It would be unwise for
Michigan to take solace that it
"should've" won, or that it was
even in a position to do so. Sure,
everyone has said the Wolverines
are still a year or two from truly
And the players could see it
that way - that just playing tough
against Kansas should be some-
stuff, just playing our basketball.
Things started opening up, we
kept fighting, kept fighting, and
things went our way."
Granted, outside of the clutch
fadeaway he hit to send the game
into overtime, Morris shot about
as poorly in the second half as he
did in the first. But there was still
a mood change in Crisler Arena
after halftime. Everybody felt it
about a minute in, when Morris
found an open Jordan Morgan on
the pick-and-roll. With open space
and neither of Kansas's Morris
twins in sight, Morgan, a redshirt
freshman center, slammed one
home with authority.
Nobody knows what could
have happened in Crisler Arena
on Sunday had the Wolverines

thing to build on, a point of satis-
faction for a group repeatedly told
that they aren't good enough.
That would be the easy way
out. Everyone talks about the
future with this Michigan team,
willing to put this year aside as
just preparation for the next few
seasons. The future, though, can-
not just be a convenient crutch to
demand anything less than excel-
lence. Any team that can shoot
33.3 percent (14.3 percent from
3-point range) and still find itself
with an overtime lead over the
third-ranked team in the country
isn't a squad built solely for the
future. Michigan proved it can
play with anyone this year.
The Wolverines, then, should
perhaps just be angry after
this loss (and they damn well
shouldn't be anywhere near con-
"We feel like we can be really
good, not (just) down the road,
but this year," Morgan said.
Good news, Jordan. The sec-
ond-ranked Buckeyes are coming
to your place in a couple days.
Here's your chance to prove it.
played like that in the first half.
With a combination of Michi-
gan's stout defense and Kansas's
poor shooting, it's possible that
the Wolverines could have come
out victorious by the end of regu-
So when Morris forced over-
time with seconds left, Michigan
proved one thing. Not that it has
the ability to come back strong in
the second half - people knew
that already. Not that it could
compete with some of the best
competition in the country - it
had already proven that too.
On Sunday, Morris and his
offense proved that they need to
stop being too patient and start
games stonger in order to win the
big matchups.

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