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February 06, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-06

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Sports

8A - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I

TODD NEEDLE
Junior guard Tim HardawayiJr. ignited the crowd with tive straight 3-painters. In that stretch, Hardaway scared 15 at 19 paints tar Michigan, and hriefly gave the Wolverines a lead. Hardaway ieished with 23 paints an 6-at-9 shaating from deep.

This time, Burke
outmatches Craft
in filal seconds of
instant classic
By STEVEN BRAID
Daily Sports Editor
One day prior to Michigan's
76-74victory against Ohio State on
Tuesday, sophomore guard Trey
Burke took to the podium and
declared, quite emphatically, that
it was Michigan vs. Ohio State,
and not Burke vs. Aaron Craft.
But late in the contest, as the
two teams
slugged OHIO STATE 74
their way MICHIGAN 76
into over-
time, there were the two point
guards, dueling against each
other, trying to will their respec-
tive teams to a victory.
There was Burke, opening the
extra period with a 3-pointer, and
there was Craft answering mint
utes later with a layup. There'was
Craft, making Burke look foolish
as he stripped the ball from him
with less than 30 seconds remain-
ing. And there was Burke, deter-
mined to atone for his miscue,
blocking a Craft pull-up jumper
with eight seconds left in the con-
test.
Yes, the Wolverines edged outa
four-point victory in overtime, but
the score could have easily read:

Burke, 3, Craft 2, as Burke's three
points were the difference in the
extra stanza.
"You're watching two of the fin-
est point guards in America play
againsteach other," said Michigan
coach John Beilein. "That was a
great battle."
Tuesday's game started out
like so many others between Ohio
State and Michigan. Craft, the
Buckeyes' point guard and defen-
sive stopper, hounded Burke, get-
ting over screens and contesting
every jump shot. Entering half-
time, Craft had rendered his Wol-
verine counterpart ineffective.
Burke didn't record an assist dur-
ing the final 16 minutes of the half
and turned in a mediocre stat line
of five points and two assists. He
made just two of his six field-goal
attempts, shooting 1-of-3 from
beyond the arc.
But exiting the locker room,
Michigan made the necessary
adjustments for its offense to suc-
ceed.
"We tried to open the court up
more and create more spacing,"
Burke said. "We know that with
the ball in my hands, Craft does a
good job of not letting me use the
screen. We tried to allow other
people on the team to get pick-
and-roll action."
Added Beilein: "We tried to go
other- ways offensively to make
sure he did not have the ball the
whole time."
And that's exactly what Burke
did. He played off the ball and

allowed other players to step up Burke did miss a potential
and make big plays, biding his game-winning attempt at the end
time until there were just four of regulation, but he, didn't let it
minutes remaining in regulation. affect him going into the final five
With Michigan trailing 64-60, minutes of the contest.
Burke asserted himself. He caused "I know that basketball is a long
a Craft turnover, which led to a game, so you can't dwell on one
fastbreak dunk. On the ensuing play or you'll continue to mess up
defensive possession, he corralled on the offensive or defensive end,"
a rebound and found a wide-open Burke said.
Nik Stauskas, the freshman guard, And in the end, after each
on the break, which gave Michi- had thrown their best punch
gan its first lead since the opening at the other, Burke was the one
stanza. left standing. Craft lay on floor
And after Ohio State had knot- after his game-tying attempt was
ted tioe score at 65, Burke nailed a blocked at the buzzer. Three over-
huge 3-pointer to give the Wolver- time points were all the Wolver-
ines anotherlead. ines needed.

Sophomore guard Trey Burke elevates over Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft.

Burke battled his way to the
finish line, ending with 16 points,
eight assists and just two turn-
overs - his best statistical game
against the Buckeyes. Though

it wasn't Burke who ignited the
second-half run by the Wolver-
ines, Beilein knows it was his play
down the stretch that clinched the
game.

r.

ICE HOCKEY
Sucess starts inneutral zone

My Unions are:

By LIZ VUKELICH
j Daily Sports Editor
In its most basic form, the neu-
tral zone isn't a complicated part
of hockey. The area between the
blue lines belongs to nobody, so
when a player has the puck within
those confines, one of two things
can happen: possession will either
move down toward the oppo-
nent's goal, or the same player will
lose the puck and the game will
migrate toward his zone.
It's such an obvious concept
that it almost bears no explana-
tion, but as with all things, it's a bit
easier said than done. The Michi-
gan hockey team has seen first
hand this season how its neutral-
zone play can break a game, but in
last weekend's series over Michi-
gan State, the Wolverines finally
found a rhythm in no man's land.
A handful of the Wolverines'
eight goals against the Spartans
were set up by smart plays in the
neutral zone, be it by forced turn-
overs or quick passes.
"I think (neutral-zone play this
weekend) was pretty important,"
said Michigan coach Red Beren-
son. "Ithoughtwe did agood jobof
getting it in (Michigan State's) end
and not just dumping it (but) pass-
ing it and chipping it. I thought we
dictated alot of the territorial play
and alot of that was because of the
neutral zone."
Hockey box scores don't track
time of possession, but if they did,
this weekend's would have been
lopsided in Michigan's favor.

And the time of possession all away... nobody else might be open
goes back to the decisions the (and) I might be the only guy that's
Wolverines made in the neutral open."
zone. The key to playing smart in A forward has to break free, but
that area is almost as simple as the keep in mind there are three of
concept of the zone itself: don't get them on the ice at a time to keep
too fancy. track of. Each has his own duty,
"The key to the neutral zone but being in sync with the other
is just making simple and quick two is perhaps the greatest chal-
plays," said senior forward Kevin lenge associated with playing well
Lynch. "Not trying to make cute in the neutral zone.
plays at the blue lines, which "The centerman (has) to be
we've done in the past when we're open, he's got to come down low
trying to beat a guy one on one. and give a defensive play," Beren-
Just making simple plays whether son said. "The strong-side wing-
er's got to get up on the boards ...
then the weak-side winger, he's
got a chance to either come back
or look for a seam and go hard
across."
i pl pay. And what if the forwards aren't
in sync? Well, a player can try to
dump the puck, but it will prob-
its getting pucks in deep, or fore- ably just end up in his own zone
checkinghard." again. Both the defensemen and
Berenson has time and again forwards have equal responsibil-
singled out Lynch as being one of ity for what happens in the neutral
the team's most physical forwards zone, and for effective play, there
who consistently battles well in has to be seamless communication
the neutral zone. But the team's between the two corps.
success there over the weekend Communication during games
stemmed from much more than can be difficult, though. Which is
one forward's play. why, at the end of the day, noth-
Consider all the decisions that ing helps Michigan's performance
have to be made in the span of between the blue lines more than
about two seconds when the puck good old-fashioned practice.
enters the neutral zone. "Hockey is a game of repeti-
"If I'm a forward and our defen- tion," Berenson said. "The more
seman has the puck, I've got to you do things, the more you just do
be working hard to get where I them. You can't think in a game or
should, so he can get me the puck," it's already too late. Youjust react,
Berenson explained. "But if I have and you react the way you have in
my back turned and' I'm drifting practice."

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