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March 21, 2011 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-03-21

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com I March 21, 2011

Morris's shot hits back rim in final
seconds, Blue's comeback attempt "7"
and season come to sudden halt

By ZAK PYZIK and they put your better guys on
Daily Sports Editor the bench at times. So they did
that ... Your top eight guys will get
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Darius two, three on the bench. We sure
Morris is typically the most reli- had them there."
able Wolverine with the ball. Morgan came in for the Wol-
But with just 5.6 seconds left verines and responded with a
in the Michigan men's basketball dunk to spark a comeback that
team's third-round NCAA Tour- put Michigan within two posses-
nament game against Duke on sions of Duke. As the Wolverines
Sunday, Morris drove and missed trailed by four points with about
a floater as the buzzer sounded. a minute remaining, Michigan
Michigan fell to the top-seeded freshman Tim Hardaway Jr. hit
Blue Devils, 73-71. his first 3-pointer of the after-
With less than seven minutes noon. And with Hardaway Jr.'s
left, Michigan forward Jordan clutch basket, the Wolverines
Morgan and Duke forward Kyle trailed by just one possession.
Singler sat on the bench with "(Hardaway Jr.) had great
four fouls and Wolverine forward shots," Beilein said. "Every one
Evan Smotrycz was headed there that he took, when he took a shot
as well after notching his fifth. it looked like it was going in just
"(The foul trouble was) very barely on the front rim. And the
big," Michigan coach John last one was like the Illinois shot
Beilein said. "I said in most of (in the Big Ten Tournament). I
my previews, I said one of the big thought it would be the one that
things with our team: Coach K's might get us up over the top here."
teams have always got to the foul Duke responded with a jumper,
line like that. Two things happen, and with 19.3 seconds remaining
we're very good foul shooters, Michigan called a timeout down

by just three points.
After a Duke shot-clock viola-
tion and a Morris layup, Michi-
gan was down two points with 5.6
seconds remaining. But Michigan
couldn't complete the upset, as
Morris missed the final shot of
the Wolverines' surprising sea-
Duke's defense started the
game playing Michigan very
aggressively around the perim-
eter. After missing their first
three 3-pointers because of the
Blue Devils' perimeter play, the
Wolverines went on to make five
3-pointers to conclude the first
half and to head into the locker
room trailing, 37-33.
But in the second half, things
changed quicker than the Wolver-
ines could have imagined. After
Hardaway Jr. missed two 3-point-
ers, Duke suddenly pushed its
lead to 12 points thanks in large
part to senior guard Nolan Smith.
At that point, Duke fans erupted,
and even Blue Devil coach Mike
See DUKE, Page 3B

Sophomoreeguard Darius Morris dribbled coast-to-coast in the waning seconds of Sunday's loss against Duke only to pull
up in the lane, just in front of Duke forward Ryan Kelly, for a floater. The shot caromed off the back of the rim.
Wolverines'1-3-1 zone poses
problems for Duke down stretch

Despite late miss, Morris
leads Blue in tourney run

ByZAKPYZIK tying shot from. Morris wasn't
DailySportsEditor in tears and he wasn't in fury.
Instead, he looked calm but
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Darius upset.
Morris's family still loves him. Morris knows that he has
As the Michigan men's made that shot a dozen times
basketball sophomore guard this season. In fact, he has made
walked over to his family in the that shot probably hundreds of
stands at the end of the Wol- times in his life. It was essen-
verines' 73-71 loss to Duke on tially an open jumper from just
Sunday, members of his family four feet away with the basket
told him to keep his head up and at his center.
received him with open arms. But this wasn't the pick-up
Morris just finished going game where he probably made it
through the motion of his final in, or the game against Concor-
shot against the Blue Devils - dia in which he made it, or even
the one that missed as the buzz- one of the three games against
er sounded in the third round of No. 1 Ohio State where he made
the NCAA Tournament in Char- it. This time, it was in the third
lotte - after all the fans left and round of the NCAA Tourna-
all that remained were media ment.
and the cleanup crew. This time, it was against
He pretended to take a few No. 1 seed Duke, and this time
shots from the same spot that the two teams were playing in
he missed the potential game- what's essentially Blue Devils'

coach Mike Krzyzewski's back-
This time, Morris had to
make this shot to save Michi-
gan's season.
Morris bricked the attempt.
Though there wasn't even a
hand in his face, he missed the
shot that would have sent Mich-
igan to overtime against Duke.
With 5.6 seconds remaining
the Wolverines were down two
points and had zero timeouts.
Morris received the inbound
and ran the floor in the time he
had. He omitted to pass the ball
to other options in junior guard
Zack Novak or freshman guard
Tim Hardaway Jr. in the corner
or the wing.
No one would probably dis-
agree with him either - Mor-
ris's percentage from inside the
paint is probably the most con-
See MORRIS, Page 3B

pretty rare to stifle Duke coach
Mike Krzyzewski. But the
Michigan men's basketball team
almost stifled the coach and his
top-seeded team into a loss with
the help of its 1-3-1 zone on Sun-
It's a defensive set that's
proved difficult for several
teams Michigan has faced this
season, and it did exactly the
same thing when Michigan
coach John Beilein employed it
in the Wolverines' third-round
game of the NCAA Tournament.
"It kind of throws them off,

especially since we haven't been
playing it that much," sopho-
more point guard Darius Morris
said Sunday. "It's just a change
of pace. You know, we slow it up
and make the guard really have
to make decisions on the fly ...
It switches up the game and
changes up the pace."
That change of pace forces
guards to spread out more,
which in turn affects the way
even talented guards make
simple moves. Krzyzewski
explained Saturday that any
zone slows the pace of the game
and forces teams to take outside
But his fear with the 1-3-1
zone was that his players would

stand up too straight. And when
players stand up, passes often
are made entirely with their arm
rather than their entire body.
In effect, standing taller forces
players to make weaker passes.
"In man-to-man, if you're
pressured you get strong,"
Krzyzewski said Saturday. "In
a zone, sometimes that space -
and then people in front of you
in that space - makes you think
and stand up, and that's the very
first thing in playing against a
slouching man or against a zone
is to make sure you stay strong in
your stance with the ball."
The defensive pressure did
just that and held Duke's guard

Through dreams, drive and
perfection, Russell is a champion

Kellen Russell stepped to
the mat Saturday night
with a dream.
It's a dream he's had for
730 days - something he just
shake. DANIEL
of never On Wrestling
what he felt 730 nights ago. He
dreamt of winning.
Winning every match he
wrestled. Winning a national
730 days ago - exactly two

years to the day before he
stepped to the mats in Philadel-
phia hoping to make that dream
reality - Kellen Russell lost.
In 2009, despite beingthe top-
seeded 141-pound wrestler in the
country, Russell was stunned by
Illinois' Ryan Prater - abolish-
ing his pursuit of becoming a
The next day, Russell lost
again, before finally garner-
ing seventh place at the NCAA
Championships that year.
Now a redshirt junior, Russell
hasn't lost since that day. Grant-
ed, he was forced to redshirt last
year due to injury. For 39 straight

matches, Russell has stepped
onto the mats, each time emerg-
ing victorious.
And the 39th time brought all
730 dreams into reality: Kellen
Russell had just beaten Cal Poly's
Borislav Novachkov, 3-2, to win
a title.
It didn't matter when he heard
his anklepop while he was tied,
midway through the champion-
ship match and couldn't put pres-
sure on his leg.
It didn't matter that it took,
Russell a combined four over-
times to advance throughthe
quarterfinal and semifinal
rounds, or that both wins came

from the slimmest of margins - a
meager 21 seconds of combined
riding time, earned by being on
top of your opponent.
It didn't matter that Kellen
isn't flashy, or offensively ori-
ented, like many of the other top
wrestlers at Nationals who often
win by large margins or with
quick pins.
"I've been talking a lot about
his heart - it's a heart of a lion,"
Michigan coach Joe McFarland
said after watching his star win
the title. "They're tough to sit
through as a coach, but I love the
fact that he gets his hand up. He's
See RUSSELL, Page 3B

Redshirt junior Kellen Russell has won his last 39 matches en route to a
national title in the 141-lb. weight class.


U In today's SportsMonday Column, the
Fab Five experienced disappointment of
its own in the early 90s. This Michigan
team is different. Page 2B

0 The Michigan hockey team lost in the
CCHA semifinals against Western Michi-
gan, but still earned a No. 2 seed in the
NCAA Tournament. Page 4B

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