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January 05, 2012 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012 - 7A

Michigan looks to slow down
resurgent Hoosiers on road

Blue drops tenth
straight to MSU

Daily Sports Editor
It appears
Indiana bas-
ketball is back Michigan
- and that's at Indiana
not good news
for the No. 16 Matchup:
Michigan bas- Indiana 13-1;
ketball team. Michigan 12-2
The Wol- When: Thurs-
verines face day,9 P.M.
a tall task as Where:
they travel to Assembly Hall
Bloomington TV/Radio:
on Thurs- ESPN2
day night to
square off
with the 12th-ranked Hoosiers,
who opened their season with
12 straight wins before drop-
ping their first game of the sea-
son last week at Michigan State.
Indiana's success is no fluke
either, which the team proved
when it knocked off then-No. 1
Kentucky on Dec. 10 and then
toppled then-No. 2 Ohio State
on New Year's Eve.
Significantly, both of those
upsets were home games for
the Hoosiers - Assembly Hall
is notorious for being one of the
most difficult road environments
in college basketball.
"(Assembly Hall) holds a lot of
people," said sophomore guard
Tim Hardaway Jr. "And a lot
of people are down your neck
every time you're shooting. It's
going to be very hostile, like last
year when we went there. We're
used to it now. ... You've just got
to block everything out and just
focus on what (Michigan coach
John Beilein) wants you to do out
The Wolverines have been
particularly susceptible to the
horrors of the building. Last sea-
son, Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 12-2
overall) got blown out in Bloom-
ington, 80-61, by an Indiana
team that ended up finishing last
in the Big Ten.
And three seasons ago, when
the Wolverines made the NCAA
Tournament for the first time
under Beilein, they had to claw
their way back from a 20-point
deficit to defeat the Hoosiers in
* overtime. That team went just
6-25 for the season.
But for all the unique chal-
lenges that Assembly Hall poses,
playing on the road in general is
tough for any team, particularly
in the Big Ten. And in its only
true road game of the season so
far, Michigan played poorly in a
disjointed 12-point loss to Vir-

Daily Sports Writer
gan women's basketball team
to find MICHIGAN 55
its stroke MSU 60
early and
often in Wednesday's game
against Michigan State, but a
3-pointer from junior guard
Jenny Ryan turned the tide for
the Wolverines, giving them a
27-24 halftime lead.
Michigan coach Kevin Borseth
wished the game could've ended
there, which would've ended his
team's nine-game losing skid to
its in-state rival.
But thanks to a one-two punch
early in the second half from their
pair of post players - redshirt
senior Lykendra Johnson and
freshman Jasmine Hines - the
Spartans went on to win, 60-55.
The two combined for a total of
18 points, puttinga passive Michi-
gan back line in atight space.
"You got a choice - you have
to play those big kids in front
or behind, and when we played
behind, they buried us," Borseth
said. "When they buried us, they
would just turn and score. We
struggled to get in front, found
ourselves on the side of them and
they used their leverage against
The Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten,
12-3 overall) made a few in-game
adjustments to try and subdue the
duo - everything from a double-
down to a three-two zone - but
they could not be stopped. Strong
pins led to easy lay-ins and com-
plete control of the weak-side
glass, two things Michigan des-
perately needed to hold on to its
first-half momentum.
To compound an already-
gloomv situation for the Wol-

verines, the changes ended up
exposing two new weaknesses in
Michigan's defense - poor rota-
tion to the corners and trouble
gettingthrough screens.
Though Michigan State (2-0,
10-5) didn't have a very impres-
sive nightfrombeyondthe arc,the
wide-open looks created through
screens and ball movement led to
Michigan scrambling defensively,
ties for the Spartans to score.
"We addressed Michigan
State's tendency to screen on the
ball before the game, but it was
an area we did not execute well,"
Borseth said. "They were getting
the high-low every time, and that
really hurt us."
Aside from the tough defen-
sive match-ups, the Wolverines
proved early on that they were
capable of competing offensively
with their in-state rival.
Junior center Rachel Sheffer
led the charge with 20 points,
including a 3-of-5 performance
from beyond the 3-point line.
Senior guard Courtney Boylan
added 11 points and Ryan finished
with eight.Borseth pinpointed his
team's loss to a lack of offensive
production during a three-minute
stretch of the second half.
"In that stretch in the middle
of the second half, we didn't know
what we were doing offensively
and it cost us the game," Borseth
said. "If we were able to answer
or have some fluidity, I believe it
would have been a different out-
The game marked the 10th
straight loss for Michigan against
the Spartans. Though the game
will fall in the "L" column for the
Wolverines, Sheffer remarked
that there is a lesson to this loss,
in particular, that Michigan is
sure to carry with it for the rest of
the season.


Senior guard Zack Novak returns to his home state when Michigan travels to Indiana.

ginia on Nov. 29.
"Road games, they're tough,"
Beilein said. "There is an ele-
ment there. You've really got to
play well. You can't have an off
game and win on the road very
often. As a result, you've really
got to have a special day to (win),
and it's hard to do that in those
"If we don't (win), we learn
from it, we get better for the next
time. We do (win), we learn from
that, and try to do it again."
Perhaps the most surprising
thing about the Hoosiers' turn
around is that, for the most part,
it's the same group of players
that scuffled all season long last
That's except for one notable
addition. Indiana (1-1 Big Ten,
13-1 overall) is led by freshman
sensation Cody Zeller, who paces
the team in both scoring (14.2
points per game) and rebounding
(6.7 per game).
The center was a five-star
recruit, rated No. 15 in the coun-
try by Rivals.com. Zeller was
expected to provide an early
boost, but so far he has exceeded
even what Hoosiers headman
Tom Crean could have antici-
Zeller's emergence is particu-
larly troublesome for the Wol-

verines, who are still thin on
the interior with the continued
absence of sophomore forward
Jon Horford due to the stress
fracture in his foot.
So far, redshirt sophomore
forward Jordan Morgan has
done a solid job of keeping out
of foul trouble in Big Ten play.
He'll have to maintain that trend
against Indiana for Michigan to
have success.
"(Zeller)'s really a tremendous
player," Beilein said. "He can
pass, he rebounds, he's tough.
He's been a big difference maker
in their team from last year....
Maybe in the past, when they
threw it in (the post), you didn't
have to worry about a scorer in
"They have a scorer in there
right now in the post."
But Beilein was quick to
point out that the Hoosiers are
far from a one-man show. Indi-
ana has four other players that
average double figures in points
(though one of them, forward
Will Sheehey, likelywon'tplay on
Thursday night due to alingering
injury in his lower left leg).
In fact, Crean's squad has been
nearly unstoppable on offense
this season, tied for eighth in
the country in scoring with 82.6
points per game. The Hoosiers

have been particularly lethal
from deep, ranking second in the
nation with a 44.7 3-point shoot-
ing percentage.
Forward Christian Watford
- who hit the game-winning
3-pointer over Kentucky - and
guard Jordan Hulls are both
shooting 50 percent or higher
from long range, as is bench play-
er Matt Roth.
Beilein noted Michigan itself
will have to play well offen-
sively to limit Indiana's attack,
so that the Hoosiers can't take
advantage of misses and get out
quickly on the break. Beilein
also said that there have been
stretches in recent games where
he's been very pleased with the
Wolverines' defense, but that
they haven't put it all together
Against Indiana, Michigan
may need a standout defensive
performance to steal one on the
"We pride ourselves on play-
ing some defense," said senior
guard Zack Novak. "We know
they're going to score and go on
runs. There's going to be times
when we'll probably have to
push the pace a little bit, and
score and keep up with them.
But we're going to try to slow
them down a little bit."

Junior center Rachel Sheffer led the Wolverines with 20 points, and shot
3-of-5from 3-point range.

Moffatt reshaped into two-way player for 'M'

Daily Sports Editor
The admissions are tough. The
grading is harsh. The esteemed
professor meticulously molds his
The Red Berenson School for
Two-Way Forwards is an Ivy
League-caliber institution. And
the Michigan coach has gained a
* reputation for developing some of
the most intelligent forwards in
the sport, or "complete players" as
Berenson puts it.
Sophomore forward Luke Mof-
fatt has earned his fair share of
gold stars this season. Berenson
sees him as one of the more dedi-
cated skaters on the team.
"He's always been a hard work-
er," Berenson said. "You couldn't
work harder than Moffatt."
Freshman forward Zach
Hyman added: "He's one of the
hardest working guys on the
But Moffatt hasn't always been
the type of forward that best fits
in the program. In fact, he was a
very raw talent coming in - he
possessed mediocre skating skills
but was brilliant with the stick.
"He's had a lot to learn like
all other young, good players,"
Berenson said. "I think Moffatt
is much improved this year. He's
getting more confidence with
the puck and (is) working harder
without the puck. He's bought
into it, he's trying and he's doing a
much better job."

And far more often than not,
it's what players do without the
puck that determines games,
something Berenson constantly
stresses. He has team meetings
about how to play good, two-way
hockey. He sifts through game
tapes looking for examples of
when the Wolverines skated well
without the puck - or when they
didn't. When they did, chances
are that senior captain Luke Glen-
dening was instrumental.
Glendening and his fellow
seniors take the responsibility of
adapting their own playing style
to the system and then teaching it
to younger players. Their efforts
have had a clear influence on Mof-
"(Playing both ways is) some-
thing I've been working on since I
got here," he said. "It's just being
more defensively reliable and
knowing my positioning."
Watch him this weekend at
Yost Ice Arena, even when he
doesn't have the puck. Moffatt
has learned from two-way players
like Glendening, and he in turn is
expected to help out the newest
players to the program - mostly
his linemates, freshmen forwards
Hyman and Andrew Sinelli.
"On the backcheck, (Moffatt)
comes back really hard," Hyman
said, noting that those are quali-
ties he loves to see in a linemate.
"He's a great two-way player."
But the most encouraging part
about Moffatt's recent surge -
he's scored twice in the last three


games - is that he's an extremely
adept scorer, too. That's what
caught Berenson's eye when he
first observed the Arizonan's raw
talent. Though Moffatt has just
four goals this season, they've
all been timely - each has been
scored with the game in a tie or
one-goal differential. He has ten
points with an impressive six
plus-minus rating.
"He's always been an offensive-
minded player," Berenson said.
"That's one of the hardest things
for a good offensive player, to
learn how to work hard without
the puck."
And what should the Wolver-
ines do when they aren't skating
with the puck?

"You better play your posi-
tion and get (the puck) out of the
zone," Berenson said. "You bet-
ter back-check. You better watch
your man. You better play the
Moffatt knows how important
this two-way style of play is to
And if his fellow players don't
buy into it quickly like he did, they
won't see the ice.
"If you're not playing both ways
... you're not going to be playing,"
Moffatt said. "You're going to
be practicing. That's one of the
things that's just absolutely man-
datory if you want to play."
Sounds like someone wants to
be a straight "A" student.

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