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November 20, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-20

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6A - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

fiA - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Wolverines still in search
of scorers late in games

TERESA MATHEW/Daily
Sophomrore linebacker James Ross III led Michigan with 13 tackles against the Wildcats over the weekend.
Michigan answering the
cal to finish close games

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Last year, with just seconds
remaining in the Michigan
men's basketball team's Sweet
16 matchup against Kansas, the
Wolverines trailed, 76-73. There
was no question who would
take the final shot - everybody
inside Cowboys Stadium knew it
would be Trey Burke.
It was the case throughout
the season. When games were
on the line, the Wolverines
knew to get the ball to Burke,
and when it counted most, the
ninth-overall pick in last year's
NBA Draft stepped back into
nearly the first row of seats and
drained the 3-pointer heard
'round Ann Arbor.
After falling to Iowa State on
Sunday, one thing became clear:
Michigan doesn't have a defini-
tive closer at the moment. The
Wolverines have a wealth of
shooting talent and players who
can drive to the rim, but they
don't have an established ringer
who they know they can give the

By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team's
Thursday practice always con-
sists of the offense and defense
going up against each other to
close out the week.
Earlier this season, the
defense would falter in the red
zone against the offense and
often missed assignments.
So defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison coined a simple phrase
during practice, one he constant-
lyrepeated toremindthe defense
of the mindset it needed.
"Finish it."
And last Saturday against
Northwestern, the offense could
be heard shouting that motto to
its defensive counterparts on
the field in a way that reminded
Michigan coach Brady Hoke of
the cheering on the sideline of a
high-school game.
The result was what Mat-
tison called the best defensive
performance he's seen all sea-
son, and the phrase has become
emblematic of the defense Mat-
tison wants to see game in and
game out.
"Northwestern was a very
good offense, a hard offense for
the guys to defend because they
could do so many things," Matti-
son said. "Whenyou play against
a quarterback like (Kain) Colter,
you make one mistake and you
aren't where you're supposed to
be, it's a 20-yard gain, at least.

Overa
that w
date.'
Sop
Ross
with
cats -
defen
the f
State
North
into o
at red
"wo
our s
the g
prove
"It's g
tunity
Int
and
notor
chang
end
quart
"W
go
oul
mana
the W
the th
pickin
game
finish

ll, for 60 minutes, I think touchdown until the first over-
was the best we've played to time.
"We all know that to be the
phomore linebacker James kind of defense we need to be
III - who led Michigan here, you've got to finish," Matti-
13 tackles against the Wild- son said. "It doesn't matter what
- said on Monday that the happens in three-and-a-half
se took responsibility for quarters. That's what being part
our-overtime loss to Penn of a defense is."
last month. So when the Mattison said that fifth-year
swestern game was thrust senior defensive tackle Quinton
)vertime, it saw it as a shot Washington was the underrated
emption. star of the defensive show, and
e felt that the game was on that the physicality of the defen-
houlders, and we wanted sive line as a whole also helped.
ame on our shoulders to "(Washington's) why our
to ourselves," Ross said. linebackers were able to run to
reat that we got the oppor- the football so well," Mattison
y." said. "There are times in that
the losses to Michigan State game where he has two guys on
Nebraska, the Wolverines him, and he's holding the line of
iously gave up two game- scrimmage. That kind of goes
ging touchdowns near the unnoticed."
of the second and fourth The other thing that made
ers, respectively. They Michigan's defense so effective,
Mattison said, was the rota-
tion of personnel at the free and
e felt that the strong safety positions, which
allowed the Wolverines to keep
fresh legs in the backfield.
une Wvas 011 But for as much as Mattison
r shoulders." talked about linebackers and
safeties, the one thing he kept
returning to was that new team
motto.
"When you start (finishing),
ged to avoid that against then good things happen," he
Wildcats, sacking Colter in said. "You're never going to stop
ird overtime period before everybody every play. I thought
ng off his pass to end the our guys did a really good job.
Not only did Michigan You saw tremendous effort
, but it also didn't allow a every day (in practice)."

Sophomore guard Nik Stauskus could emerge as Michigan's go-to scorer in
late-game situations this year in place of former guard Trey Burke.

ball to
late in
Tha
in the
F
when
came i
It
forwa
misses
3-poin
sion, R
3-poin
the op
again,
Sopho
ended
his att
didn't
Tra
throw
omore
receiv
but h

when they need a big shot 3-pointer - one that he's made
a game. look easy before. A missed Rob-
it was painfully apparent inson midrange jumper and a
game's final two minutes, Stauskas layup that didn't fall all
but buried Michigan's chances
of winning its first game on the
1 road.
low do you With the game on the line,
lac r ? and the Wolverines in need of a
pabig shot, there was no one to go
to - no Burke to seal the deal.
Levert, who had been Michi-
gan's leading scorer prior to
Michigan shot 1-for-8 and the Iowa State game, struggled
up empty behind the arc. shooting-wise all night. He fin-
began when sophomore ished with just five points in 37
rd Glenn Robinson III minutes.
d a potential game-tying "We justthought he was going
ter. On the next posses- to make his next shot," said
Zobinson threw up another Michigan coach John Beilein of
it attempt, this time from his decision to keep LeVert in the
posite side of the arc, but game despite his lack of produc-
it caught too much rim. tion. "It didn't always happen."
more guard Caris LeVert Of the sophomore shooters,
up with the rebound, but though, Stauskas appeared the
empt from beyond the arc most confident late in the game.
go, either. He nailed a 3-pointer to put
iling by six after free Michigan within three points
s by the Cyclones, soph- and'then dished a crisp pass
guard Nik Stauskas to Robinson under the hoop to
ed the ball off of a screen, cut the lead to one before the
oe couldn't hit a deep Cyclones ran away with it. The

guard, who stayed on campus
over the summer to work on his
game, showed that he could be
the player that Michigan looks
to late in games. Stauskas is the
team's best shooter - shooting
50 percent from the field so far
this season.
Stauskas scored 20 points
on Sunday, 15 of which came in
the second half, when he went
3-for-5 from behind the arc.
Despite missing three of his
final four shots in the game, he
was still getting good looks -
his misses were more the result
of bad luck than bad execution.
With Beilein's confidence in
him, Stauskas will find himself
with the ball in his hands when
Michigan needs a late bucket in
the future.
"Nik is certainly one of them,
based on his performance,"
Beilein said of the players he'd
choose to take a last shot. "We
just got to continue to build a
play sheet that is drawn up for
those who have it going a little
bit. ButI think it was easy to see
that Nik had the best flow at the
end of the game."

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By MAX COHEN to avoid being neutralized by the
Daily Sports Writer Panthers' center.
Given how much the team
The Michigan women's basket- works on rebounding and how
ball team's game against Pittsburgh much it has improved on the
on Wednesday will mark the end- glass since the start of the season,
ingof a hectic portion of the team's Barnes Arico thinks the team can
schedule, in which the Wolverines meet the challenge if it continues
played three games in five days. the upward trend.
"I feel like we're in the NBA The Wolverines will also need
with the schedule that we've to contain the offensive abilities
had the last week," said Michi- of Pittsburgh guard Brianna Kie-
gan coach Kim Barnes Arico on sel. In the Panthers' last game, a
WTKA on Tuesday. "But the kids 48-45 loss to Lafayette, Kiesel
love to play games, so they should scored 15 points, dished out five
be fired up every time we have the assists and grabbed five rebounds.
opportunity to step on the court." Kiesel currently leads the Pan-
So far, the condensed sched- thers in scoring, assists and is sec-
ule has been a boon for the Wol- end on the team in rebounding.
verines. Michigan (3-2) blew In its first five games, Michigan
out Detroit Mercy and Western has found itselfinalmosteverytype
Michigan in the first two games of situation. The Wolverines trailed
of the stretch, due in large part and were forced to play from behind
to improved rebounding. In againstBowling Green, they've won
those games, the Wolverines out- and lost overtime games against
rebounded their opponents by Arizona and Xavier, respectively,
44 - a feat more impressive for a and they've blown out both Detroit
team that had a lack of size as its and Western Michigan.
primary offseason concern. Because this inexperienced team
The Panthers (2-1) will present has faced such a variety of game sit-
a new challenge for Michigan, as uations early in the season, Barnes
they possess the size the Wolver- Arico and her staff worked to shift
ines coaching staff initially feared. the focus from wins and losses to
Pittsburgh center Marvadene working on specific things each
Anderson poses the biggest prob- player can improve. In particu-
lem, standing at 6-foot-1. Though lar, after the overtime loss to the
Anderson is only the Panthers' Musketeers in which Michigan
third-leading rebounder, averag- had many chances to pull away
ing 4.6 boards per game, her size but couldn't, the entire team was
will present matchup problems in devastated in the locker room. The
the post for Michigan, which has staff chose that moment to share its
6-foot-3 junior forward Cyesha new philosophy, one that focuses
Goree as its tallest starter. on daily improvements instead
Because the Wolverines rely of results, so that the young team
on their guards for rebounding, would be able to turn things
they may face difficulties going around after the loss.
up against Pittsburgh's height. "We just said, 'everybody focus
Junior guard Nicole Elmblad on two things,' " the coach said
is Michigan's leading rebound- on WTKA. " 'What two things
er at 5-foot-11. Averaging 1.6 can we get better at and what two
rebounds per game, she'll have to things are we going to do individ-
get crafty in terms of positioning ually in the next practice?'"

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