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January 06, 2012 - Image 8

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8 - Friday, January 6, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

8 - Friday, January 6, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Redshirtsophomore forward Jordan Morgan missed just one shot against Indiana on Thursday, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds at Assemhly Hall
Hoosiers drop Michigan inthriller

LUKE PASCH Christian Watford could not be
Daily Sports Editor contained, as he finished the game
8-for-11 from the field and 3-for-
BLOOMINGTON - Michigan 4 from long range. He tallied a
basketball's two seniors and co- game-high 25 points.
captains - guards Zack Novak Lessthan aminute intothe con-
and Stu Douglass - hail from the test, Watford squared up behind
Hoosier state, but Indiana was the arc and knocked down the
not kind in their homecoming on first bucket of the game. The bas-
Thursday night. ket electrified the crowd as if the
With 25 Hoosiers had already won, and
ticks left, MICHIGAN 71 indeed, the Wolverines were fight-
Verdell INDIANA 73 ing from behind all night.
Jones III "That guy - that dribble pull-
knocked down a midrange jumper up is a monster," said sophomore
to put Indiana up by four. With guard Tim Hardaway Jr. of Wat-
2.9 seconds, Douglass nailed his ford. "He's a terrific player, and a
third 3-pointer of the game to pull lot of people sleep on him. Once
Michigan within one, but it was you play him, you really got to
too little too late. The Hoosiers guard him. You got to give him
came out on top in gut-wrenching credit for what he's doing out
fashion, 73-71. there on the court."
"No, there are no moral victo- Heading into the first media
ries," a frustrated Novak said after timeout, Indiana held an early
the game. "We'll learn from our 11-point lead and all of the momen-
mistakes and get better." tum, as Michigan (2-1, 12-3)
Throughout the contest, Indi- couldn't find an offensive rhythm.
ana (2-1 Big Ten, 14-1 overall) By halftime, that lead was
backed up its reputation as one trimmed to seven, but the Hoosier
of the most efficient shooting defense was still solidly contain-
teams in the nation, pouring in ing the Wolverines' best shoot-
seven buckets on just 11 tries from ers. Freshman point guard Trey
beyond the are. Indiana forward Burke and Hardaway Jr. were a

combined 3-for-15 from the field at
the half. And at times, it seemed as
though the thunderous crowd was
getting to Burke, but Michigan
coach John Beilein did not think
that was the case.
"I thought he was fine," Beilein
said. "He didn't look like a fresh-
man to me.... He had pull-up jump
shots that didn't go, and they were
right at the back of the rim. They
weren't air balls, they weren't to
the side, they were right on cen-
tral. Taking the ball to the hoop
against a strong chest, it's tough
to score there. I thought he played
well, the ball just didn't go in."
Though Hardaway Jr. finished
with a team-high 19 points, he is
now 0-for-11 from 3-point range
over the pasttwo games. Had it not
been for Douglass's pair of clutch
3-pointers in the waning minutes
of the half, Michigan's outlook at
the locker-room break would have
been a bit gloomier. The second
half was kinder to the Wolverines.
Michigan inched its way back
into the contest, pulling within
one point just four minutes into
the half. And a minute later, soph-
omore forward Evan Smotrycz
nailed a 3-pointer in front of the

Wolverine bench to knot up the
score at 46 apiece and silence the
Hoosier faithful - temporarily.
"I hope that's always a great
trademark of our teams now,"
Beilein said. "I hope it's not a
trademark to be down by two dig-
its. I thought we really hung in
there.."
Over the next few minutes,
though, the Michigan defense had
trouble containing star freshman
center forward Cody Zeller, who
took advantage of the shallow
Wolverine frontcourt. He finished
an impressive 8-for-10 from the
field, with 18 points.
"That was the biggest part
of the game plan," said Indiana
coach Tom Crean. "We had to
establish an inside game - we
had to go at these guys. They were
averaging two blocks a game with
(sophomore forward Jon) Horford
injured. So we needed to go inside,
and our guys did that."
Though the Wolverines erased
another10-point deficit withthree
minutes to play on a Hardaway Jr.
breakaway dunk, Michigan failed
to take the lead and became the
Hoosiers' 11th-straight victim at
Assembly Hall.

MEN'S BASKETBALL
Backcourt struggles
doom'M'in defeat
BEN ESTES a 1-on-3 disadvantage but still
Daily Sports Editor decided to push it, resulting in
another missed shot.
BLOOMINGTON - For most Burke played better in the sec-
of the season, point guard Trey ond half, but with a minute left
Burke has looked like anything in the game and Michigan down
but a freshman, making plays 70-68, he once again found him-
and decisions beyond his years self swarmed in the paint and
and making Michigan basketball failed to hit the tyinglayup. *
fans forget that the Wolverines "It was just rushing (things),"
relied almost exclusively on Dar- Burke said. "The first half, we
ius Morris for offense last season. rushed. If we would have played
At many points early on, soph- the first half like we played the
omore guard Tim Hardaway second half, maybe the game
Jr. has looked like the young would have turned out different-
star that opposing coaches gush ly.... There's a couple possessions
about and that NBA scouts have I wish we had back, but Indiana
taken plenty of notice of. played good."
They're Michigan's best two For Hardaway Jr., the problem
offensive threats, and the team's seems more endemic.
only two players that create Againthe final stats show that
matchup problems for opponents the sophomore finished with 19
everytime they're on the floor. points, and he was 7-for-12 on
And Burke and Hardaway Jr.'s 2-point field goals and 5-for-6
inability to produce like they're from the free-throw line.
capable of was a big reason the But the real story for the
Wolverines failed to upset Indi- Miami, Fla. native was his out-
ana in the team's 73-71 loss on side shooting. Hardaway Jr.
Thursday night. went 0-for-7 from 3-point range,
Neither player could seem including a miss with just over
to get in a rhythm in a raucous a minute left that would have
Assembly Hall. For Burke, it was given Michigan the lead for the
evident early on. The Colum- first time all game.
bus native missed his first shot His shooting struggles are
a minute into the game. Later, becoming a pattern. Against
Burke found himself guarded by Penn State, though he finished
lumbering Indiana backup 'eni with 26 points, Hardaway Jr.
ter Tom Pritchard and couldn't went just 1-for-7 from deep. And
score, failing to use his mas- the guard had one of his worst
sive quickness advantage to get performances of the season
a better look than a fadeaway against Minnesota last Sunday,
jumper. scoring-just seven points and
Several times against Indiana, missing all four of his 3-pointers.
Burke would run up the floor, For a player that was so produc-
only to immediately launch up tive from the outside in Big Ten
a shot or try to force a play that play last season, Hardaway Jr.'s
just wasn't there for the offense. recent shooting problems are
He finished the game shoot- curious.
ing just 4-of-15 from the field, "He's continuing to learn
and went 0-for-3 from the free what his right shot selection
throw line. But Burke's difficul- is," said Michigan coach John
ties went beyond the box score. Beilein. "While he struggled
A perfect example was late in from (3-point range), he did some
the first half, when the fresh- other things to get us on the
man got the ball in transition on board. But he's still learning."

Blue looks to gain ground in ..
CCHA race in LSSU series

LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Writer
There couldn't be a better time
for the Michigan hockey team to
start the second
half of its sea- LSSU at
son.
January Michigan
means it's a Matchup:
chance to start LSSU 11-8-3;
fresh. The Wol- Michigan
verines' last loss 12-8-2
five weeks ago When: Friday
is something of and Saturday
a hazy memory, 7:35 p.m.
and winning Where: Yost
the Great Lakes Ice Arena
Invitational on TV/Radio:
Dec. 30 has No. MGoBlue.com
16 Michigan rid-
ing a wave of momentum heading
into this weekend's series with
Lake Superior State.
But it's still not all smiles - at
least, not yet. Even though it won
four of its last five games, Michi-
gan (5-6-1 CCHA, 11-8-3 over-
all) currently sits at eighth in the
CCHA. According to Michigan
coach Red Berenson, the weekend
will be important for the team to
prove that its GLI win wasn't just
a "fluke," and that it can indeed
contend with the best of its confer-
ence.
"You can dig yourself a hole and
there's not much of a cushion in
the bottom of that hole," Beren-
son said. "We've got to dig ourrway
out of where we were. Everyone
we're looking at in the upcoh-
ing weekends is ahead of us in the
standings, so we've got to make up
ground."
Making up ground becomes
easier for the Wolverines when
they can compartmentalize the
year. For players like fifth-year
senior goalie Shawn Hunwick,
the new year essentially feels like
a new season - and this seasonis
the one that really matters.
"The first half is over (and) th'e
guys have to be excited for the
opportunities ahead," Hunwick
said. "You want to have a nice sec-
ond-half run. You're not going to
remember the first half of the year,
you're going to remember how

Fifth-year senior goalie Shawn Hunwick boasts a .917 save percentage in net.

you've finished."
Michigan kicks off its second-
half run against No. 18 Lake
Superior State (7-6-1, 12-8-2) in
the first home series of 2012. The
fourth-place Lakers sit comfort-
ably toward the top of the CCHA.
Though four points separate them
from the Wolverines, the two bear
a striking resemblance.
The Lakers and Wolverines
have similar margins of wins and
losses over the same schools. They
both boast reliable goalies - Hun-
wick and Lake Superior State's
Kevin Kapalka have save percent-
ages of .917 and .916, respectively.
Even the top scorers for Michigan
and the Lakers - freshman for-
ward Alex Guptill and junior for-
ward Nick McParland - are only
separated by one goal, and they
bothhave accumulated 16 points.
But the Wolverines have to
work harder to play catch-up. Lake
Superior State wasn't plagued with
a seven-game winless streak like
Michigan was this season.
Berenson said Michigan hasn't
spent time discussing measur-
able achievements, like how many
points players should be putting on
the boards or the number of games
needed in the win column.
The Wolverines aren't lament-
ing any mistakes they may have
made back in October or Novem-
ber, either.

But Berenson still needs to stop
his players from reverting back
to detrimental patterns from the
first half. Instead, he's put focus on
bringing the team back to what he
calls "Michiganhockey" - playing
strong defense and aggressively
chasing after the puck.
"Hockey is a habit," Berenson
said. "(You have to) repeat good
patterns. Right now I think our
team is more in good habits than
we are bad. Our team is starting to
come together (and) I like where
we are." C
For Hunwick, a return to Mich-
igan hockey has more to do with
self-assurance than anything else.
The pressure on Michigan for
a strong "second season" run isn't
unfamiliar - two years ago, the
team's NCAA tournament berth
was only made possible by their
winningthe CCHATournament.
Hunwick prefers not to look too
far down the road. But with this
series being just one of three that
the Wolverines will host at Yost Ice
Arena, Berenson knows Michigan
has to make an early statement
to maximize the few home-ice
advantages it has left.
"You make the most of whatever
(the schedule) is," Berenson said.
"We didn't help ourselves at home
(duringthe firsthalf).You've gotto
find ways to win and take advan-
tage of your home games."

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