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April 09, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-09

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Sporta

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 7

.

TOP LEFT: Freshman guard Caris LeVert leaps to alter a Cardinal shot. TOP RIGHT: Freshman forward Mitch McGary tries to shoot over a Louisville defender. BOTTOM: Sophomore guard Trey Burke winces in agony during the second halfMonday,
LouisVille picks apart Saying goodbye to Trey

>IY, wins rebounding
battle late in game

By COLLEEN THOMAS two minutes to play. That lead,
Daily SportsEditor thanks to Behanan's four offen-
sive rebounds, proved too big for
ATLANTA - What Michigan Michigan to overcome.
finally figured out during its "It just came down to defense,
NCAA Tournament run seemed we should've played better
to disappear in the final 20 min- defense," said freshman for-
utes of its season. ward Glenn Robinson II. "We
The Wolverines held their had a stretch that we missed
own against some of the best two or three shots in a row,
college basketball players in which isn't good when you're
the country - Nate Wolters, not getting stops.
Jeff Withey, Michael Carter- "They stepped (the defense)
Williams - but couldn't find an up second half - we kind of low-
answer to Louisville's Chane ered it second half. We needed
Behanan defensively in the to stay on the glass, they got
National Championship game. more offensive rebounds, the
Down by eight points with less game basically flipped."
than three minutes to go in the - In the first half, though, it
second half and looking to get looked like Michigan had Lou-
some stops defensively, Michi- isville's number defensively,
gan forced Cardinal guard shutting down most of the Car-
Peyton Siva to take a less- dinals' shooters and dominat-
than-ideal 3-pointer, which ing the boards. The Wolverines
he missed. Behanan, outmus- outrebounded Louisville, 17-12,
cling freshman forward Mitch at the half and tallied 13 of their
McGary, grabbed the offensive 38 points off of seven offensive
rebound, but missed. rebounds.
Louisville got two more Behanan had just one
tries until its forward, Gorgui rebound in the first half, but
Dieng, committed a foul, send- found his rhythm in the second
ing Michigan sophomore guard half in the paint. Often times,
Trey Burke to the free-throw he'd find himself open down
line. Though Burke cut the low, as McGary came up to play
lead to six points at the charity help-side off of a pick-and-roll,
stripe, 20 precious seconds had and could lay it in for an easy
ticked off the clock due to sec- two points.
ond- and third-chance posses- But it wasn't just Behanan left
sions for the Cardinals. open under the basket. Siva kept
And on Louisville's next pos- attacking Michigan's defense,
session, Behanan did the exact driving to the lane and taking
same thing, grabbing two of easy layups or finding an open
his own misses before finally basket in transition en route
making a layup to put Louis- to his 14 second-half points. In
ville up by eight with less than total, Louisville tallied 34 of

its 82 points in the paint, 22 of
which came in the second stan-
za.
"I thought we could've done
a better job hedging their ball
screens so they couldn't split us
easily and get to the rim," Rob-
inson said. "I think that was
the biggest thing. We might've
stepped up and helped a little
too much, giving them easy
drop-offs and layups."
But if the Cardinals missed
on any of their offensive posses-
sions, Behanan or Dieng were
under the basket waiting for the
rebound.
Behanan had 11 rebounds,
seven offensive, and 11 points
in the second half to help Lou-
isville completely dominate
the boards. The Cardinals out-
rebounded the Wolverines,
20-10, and had 22 points in
the paint in the second stanza
alone. For the game, Louisville
had a 32-27 advantage on the
boards and won the offensive
rebounding battle, 15-8. Foul
trouble didn't help the Wolver-
ines, either. McGary picked up
his fourth foul halfway through
the second half, which he said
made him play a bit tentatively
against Louisville's big men in
the paint.
"They're relentless down
there," said Michigan redshirt
junior Jordan Morgan. "They
had two or three guys going
after the ball, they're going
after it even after you get the
rebound. They were able to get
some put-backs, and that helped
them take control of the game."

ATLANTA -
W ith six minutes left
in Michigan's 82-76
loss to Louisville in
the Nation-
al Cham-
pionship,
Trey Burke
launched
himself off
the ground
and toward
the back- EVERETT
board,
stretching COOK
his arm as far
up as it could
possibly go, trying to stop the
trajectory of Louisville guard
Peyton Siva.
It was a breakaway play in
transition, one-on-one, point
guard against point guard. Siva
rose up with his right hand, cra-
dling the ball, trying to slam it up
and over Burke.
Any other point guard either
lets Siva go or goes to strip the
ball in the air. Burke went to
block it.
Ninety seconds prior, the
sophomore point guard had been
lying facedown on the court, try-
ing to recover after being fouled
hard on a drive. He had been
beaten up all game by the physi-
cal Cardinal defense, and it was
starting to take its toll.
Burke got up and walked to the
free-throw line, head down. Jor-
dan Morgan caught him before
he got to the stripe, telling Burke
to lift his head. Morgan knew his
point guard was hurting. The
redshirt junior center told him,
"Just keep fighting. Just six more
minutes."
Burke nodded, but missed the
first free throw. He muttered
somethingunder his breath, took
a breath, stepped forward and
made the second one. He was in
pain.
But in the open court against
Siva, the 6-foot Burke got up
higher than he had all season.
Half of his forearm was above
the rim, .where his hand met
nothing but the ball.
It was a clean rejection, a per-
fect defensive play and a perfect
snapshot of two leaders leaving

everything on the line.
Then, a whistle. Burke was
called for the foul, and Siva made
both his free throws.
After the game, 11 players
and coaches were asked if the
play was clean. All 11 said it was,
but all said it ultimately didn't
affect the outcome. There were
so many other plays that swung
the game.
All 11 praised the point guard
for being able to even get there.
"If there's one person who
can't hang his head, it's Trey,"
said freshman guard Nik Staus-
kas. "He's carried us all year
long."
There's a story that Michigan
assistant coach LaVall Jordan
likes to tell about Burke.
Inthe first opengym of Burke's
Michigan career in the sum-
mer of 2011, Jordan approached
Burke and asked him, "You like
winning, don't you?" Burke, then
19, responded, "Coach, I win.
That's what I do."
Jordan knew that Burke had
won the Ohio State Champion-
ship as a sophomore in high
school, so he laughed and nod-
ded, trying to humor his young
point guard.
Dead serious, without a glint
of humor, Burke looked up at
Jordan, shook his head and said,
"Coach, I win. That's what I do."
That's not the interesting
part. The interesting part is
that Jordan believed Burke, the
soon to be freshman who hadn't
yet played in a collegiate game.
Jordan could see the drive that
earned Michigan a Big Ten title
last year and brought it six points
away from a national champion-
ship this year.
After two years, Ann Arbor
has seen it, probably for the last
time Monday. He almost left last
year, but on April 9,2012, he said,
"I felt like it was the best deci-
sion for me to stay my sophomore
year and compete for a national
championship next year."
After sweeping the four major
National Player of the Year
awards and getting the Wolver-
ines to Atlanta, Burke accom-
plished what he wanted to.
For him, there's nothing left

to accomplish at Michigan. It's
almost a foregone conclusion he
will play in the NBA next year.
But on Monday, he was still a
Wolverine, and he was still the
best player in the country, still
the player capable of making
shots 30 feet from the basket.
Every time it felt like the game
was slipping away, there was
Burke, willing Michigan back
into it.
He finished the contest with a
game-high 24 points while'miss-
ing just four shots and tallied six
of i.iLigan's last 10 points. He
couldn't, wouldn't let his team
let it slip away.
"He's a superhero. A mytho-
logical figure," said senior cap-
tain Josh Bartelstein. "I've never
enjoyed playing with anybody so
much. He's the best basketball
player I've ever played with, and
I've played with some good play-
ers. That kid is going to have an
unbelievable career in the NBA."
It's not a one-man game,
though. With 40 seconds left,
Burke knew Michigan needed to
foul, but also knewhe had four of
his own.
Manically, he tried waving
freshman guard Caris LeVert -
or anyone he could find - over to
commit the infraction. Nobody
else understood, and time kept
ticking away. Burke's last two
shot attempts fell short.
At 1:42 a.m., a pocket of con-
fetti fell from the rafters, the last
of the celebration. The court was
already being disassembled, the
nets already cut down. The game,
season and career was over.
Trey Burke wins. That's what
he does. On Monday, there was
nothing more he could have done
- he had nothing more to give.
With the seconds ticking
down, Siva walked over to Burke
and gave him a hug, a nod of
respect. He saw what Jordan
saw, back before Burke came
onto the national scene.
Siva knew that there was
no point guard in the country
that could have made that play,
because there was no point guard
in the country like Trey Burke.
-Cook can be reached

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