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December 09, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-09

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

December 9, 2013 - 3B

6

MEN'S BASKETAL
McGary embraces fast
break, all-around game
Back from an bringing the ball up the court. I think our team is best when
After re-entering the game we're in transition, and I like to
injury, McGary's later in the second half, McGary push it out on the break and get
came down with three defen- our guys open looks."
role evolves into sive rebounds and brought the Perhaps the best example of
ball up the court himself each McGary's newfound versatility
versatile forward time. He showed off his ver- came at the start of the second
satility, doing his best point- half Saturday. McGary grabbed
By SIMON KAUFMAN guard impersonation. The first a defensive board and pushed
Daily Sports Writer time, he dumped the ball off to the ball up the court himself.
sophomore guard Caris LeVert He took six steps to bring the
Early in the second half of near the basket. On the follow- ball from half court to the free-
the Michigan men's basketball ing possession, he kept the ball throw line, made a move to his
team's game against Houston and finished a layup after being left to draw a second defender
Baptist on Saturday, sophomore fouled. A moment later, the and then hit freshman guard
forward Mitch McGary hit the forward dished to sophomore Derrick Walton Jr. in the right
floor with a thud after getting guard Nik Stauskas, who buried corner for a 3-pointer.
tangled down low. a 3-pointer. Despite the forward becoming
Lying on the ground and "He makes us laugh because more comfortable with the ball
grabbing his leg, McGary we see it all the time in prac- at the top of the offense, he's still
looked to be in pain. With the tice, and he looks goofy some- earning the trust of his coach.
Crisler Center crowd waiting, times," Stauskas said. "But he "If I make turnovers, then
he rose and sprinted toward gets the job done." he's gonna take back the trust
the other side of the court, Though it may amuse some of a little," McGary said. "So you
trying to avoid being pulled his teammates, when he pushed kind of give and you get a little.
out by Michigan coach John the ball up the court it helped If I do well in practice, then he's
Beilein. But Beilein subbed in keep the Wolverines (6-3) in the gonna let me do it in the games.
redshirt junior Jon Horford, fast-paced transition offense in I gotta earn that full trust from
and McGary had to change his which they thrive. McGary fin- him, which I haven't really yet."
direction. The big man walked ished with nine rebounds and Beilein said the versatility
toward the bench and flailed 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but was something the coach has
his arms to pump up the fans in the statistic that stood out the and that the two discussed it
a way that only McGary can. most was his six assists - tying when Michigan recruited the
"Mitch would be unique," a career best. Chesterton, Ind. native. For
Beilein said with a grin after He's no longer someone who now, the coach says McGary
No. 22 Michigan's 107-53 blow- defenses simply have to worry has the green light to bring the
out over the Huskies. "We about boxing out and putting ball up as long as he doesn't
gotta embrace his strengths." a strong body on in the paint. commita turnover.
This season, that means He's comfortable grabbing a "He's establishing a trust
embracing McGary's all- defensive rebound and going with me," Beilein said. "He's
around game. The 6-foot-10, coast to coast with it. gaining that trust by making
255-pound forward has added "You don't really see many some pretty simple plays. Base
a new element to his game this guys doing it my size," McGary hits, (we) don't need home
year - the ability to be a threat said. "But it just comes natural. runs."
Stauskas leads onslaught
in front of famiy, friends

ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Senior outside hitter Molly Toon led Michigan with 15 kills, but LSU's offense late in the game proved to be too much.
Lmatch dooms voleyball

NCI

Wolverines never found our identi
Michigan finished
eliminated in Big Ten, the toughest
in the country, and
AA Tournament against its ranked tear
After two dom:
Friday, Michigan ca
entirely different te
By JAKE LOURIM third set. The Wolver
Daily Sports Writer gled with LSU's servi
result, couldn't distrib

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
"He shot pretty well from 3,
eh?"
More than a half hour after
the Michigan men's basketball
team finished its blowout win
over Houston Baptist, 107-53, a
group of 60 of sophomore guard
Nik Stauskas's family, friends
and neighbors congregated in
the Crisler Center concourse.
In thick Canadian accents,
those from his hometown spoke
giddily of Stauskas's dominant
shooting performance.
Thanks to buses organized
by Stauskas's parents, the group
made the four-plus-hour bus
trip from Mississauga, Ont. to
Ann Arbor. For many, it was the
first time watching the guard
play in person.
Stauskas knew he had to
put on a show for them. With
the help of his teammates, his
guests should've felt right at
home from their upper-bowl
seats as they watched a con-
tinuous party from beyond the
arc - one not all that different
from what they're used to see-
ing in Stauskas' backyard.
Led by the sophomore's
game-high 25 points on 6-of-9
shooting from 3-point range,
the Wolverines shot a season-
best 16-for-26 from 3, good for
61.5 percent.
"I didn't expect that kind
of shooting, although we are
a good shooting team," said
Michigan coach John Beilein.
Michigan connected on
10-of-16 from deep in the first
half before cooling off - by just
2.5 percent -

Sophomore forward Nik Stauskus tied a career high with six 3-pointers.

Senior middle blocker Jennifer
Cross thought about the differ-
ence between last year, the vol-
leyball program's first Final Four,
and this year, an unexpected
flameout in the first round of the
NCAA Tournament.
She thought about the close
wins Michigan had last year en
route to the national semifinal,
and the close losses it suffered
this year. She thought about the
two 3-2 defeats to Illinois and
all the other matches that could
have defined the Wolverines but
didn't. She thought about what
was different.
"Well, if we knew..." Cross said,
"we would apply it."
Friday, Michigan showed hints
of the power it could have shown
all year long, closing out a first-
set win over LSU, 25-23, and then
hammering the Lady Tigers in
the second set, 25-9. The Wolver-
ines headed to the locker room
with a comfortable lead and
thought that maybe, just maybe,
it would be the match that turned
their season around.
In a way, the LSU match rep-
resented the whole season. The
Wolverines started the year 10-1,
winning two tournaments. But
their success was short-lived.
"We just struggled finding our
identity as a team," Cross said.
"Our fault at the end is that we
VOLLEYBALL
From Page 1B
The Wolverines took control
early with a hard-fought 25-23
victory in the first set. In a high-
ly competitive set, the score was
tied on 12 different occasions,
and neither team led by more
than three.
Cross posted six kills and a
block in the first set, helping her
team overcome three key service
errors. Senior Ally Sabol led a
persistent defense, starting her
fifth consecutive game at libero
in place of sophomore Tiffany
Morales, who was not complete-
ly healthy and spent most of the
match rotating in as a defensive
specialist. Cross finished off the
first set by earning four of her
team's final five points to seal the
victory.
Energized by the victory, the
Wolverines stormed out and
dominated the second set. After
jumping out to a 6-1 lead to
force an LSU timeout, Michigan
pushed the lead to 12-2 on the
strength of a strong service run
by Toon. The early deficit was
too great for the Tigers to over-

to their balanced atta
freshman Abby Cole, s
Toon and senior Le
Michigan's success t
came from the equal
from all of its hitters
Wolverines
struggled, as
they did Friday,
they were lean-
ing too heavily
on one hitter.
In short, the
Wolverines
looked out of
rhythm.
"The game
really flipped,
and that's what
momentum can do,"s
gan coach Mark Ros
got away from us."
The senior core of T
Cross, setter Lexi D
libero Ally Sabol and
senior defensive speci
ny Lee had played in:
Tournament matche
careers. The LSU s
played in one.
But the experier
translate to compos
the Lady Tigers cha
game plan, Michiga
adjust.
"I thought they m
change defensively be
two and three, and ce

ity." changed the match," Rosen said.
8-12 in the "They served us very tough, got
conference us out of system and then they
went 2-10 defended extremely well. At the
ms. same time, our defense certainly
inant sets let us down in that situation, and
me out an we didn't defend nearly at the
am in the level we needed to."
rines strug- In the second set, the Wolver-
ng and as a ines forced side outs on 80 per-
ute the ball cent of points to LSU's 29 percent.
ck of Cross, They hit .538 without a single
enior Molly error and limited the Lady Tigers
exi Erwin. to negative .031, meaning they
his season committed more errors than kills.
production But as it has all season, Michi-
. When the gan struggled to sustain its domi-
nance.
After the
intermission,
"They just Michigan
looked unpre-
caught us a pared. The
e by Lady Tigers
looked like the
team coming
*p e off a Final Four
run, not one
playing in the
tournament for
said Michi- the first time in three years.
en. "It just "They just caught us a little
bit by surprise, and we didn't
bon, Erwin, do a very good job of adjusting
annemiller, our offense," Rosen said. "Their
d fifth-year block was touching way more
alist Britta- balls, their defense was deep and
nine NCAA aggressive and their libero was
s in their phenomenal."
eniors had Rosen talked after the game
about the character of the team
nce didn't and about how this could have
ure. When been a special team. It could have
nged their been at the beginning of a new
n couldn't season, and it would have been
if the Wolverines put it together
ade a great Friday.
etween sets "But the truth of the matter,"
rtainly that Cross said, "is that we didn't."

more forward Glenn Robin-
son III chipped in with two
3-pointers of his own.
Though the Huskies (3-6)
aren't anything close to the
high-caliber opponents Michi-
gan will face regularly when
conference play kicks off in
three weeks, it was a welcomed
sight for the Wolverines after
a dismal showing at Duke on
Tuesday. At Cameron Indoor
Stadium, Michigan (6-3) shot
for 3-for-13

in a 6-for-10 from long
second-half « . xt range. Staus-
performance. I didn t expect kas, who was
While Staus- that kind of face guarded
kas's num- tha kind the entire
bers were I night, missed
the gaudi- shooting." his only 3
est, tying his pointer, and
° career-high the entire
against Flor- team strug-
ida in last year's Elite Eight, gled even to find quality looks.
a few of his other backcourt Stauskas is still recovering
counterparts proved that hot from a sprained ankle that he
shooting is contagious. suffered in the championship of
Freshman point guard Der- the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. After
rick Walton Jr. knocked down being sidelined in last week's
each of his three 3-pointers - game against Coppin State,
matching his career high - as Stauskas was stifled from start
part of a 14-point effort. Fresh- to finish against the Blue Dev-
man guard Zak Irvin matched ils.
Walton's 14 points with a 3-of-5 Stauskas estimated that
mark from long range. Sopho- the ankle is currently about

90-percent healthy.
"It's getting there," he said.
"It's not even really hurting
anymore. It's kind of a little bit
of stiffness."
By taking away Stauskas,
Duke essentially stymied the
entire Wolverine offense.
Watching highlight film, the
Michigan coaches weren't
happy with the offense's spac-
ing - a developing pattern from
other losses, namely the one at
Iowa State.
"I think in the Duke game,
there were times where our
spacing was horrible so, we
definitely worked at that a lot in
practice," Stauskas said. "I was
glad that we could see that out
there in the game."
But the team's pinpoint
shooting was a far cry from
what Beilein saw in Friday's
preparation for Saturday.
Working against a variety of
defensive sets, Michigan strug-
gled to shoot the ball in prac-
tice.
"I bet you we went 3-for-20
from 3, and the whole idea was
just keep shooting and ifyou get
open looks, knock them down,"
Beilein said. "We certainly had
that opportunity again today
and we made the most of it."

come, and Michigan took the
second set, 25-9 - one of its larg-
est margins of victory all season.
The blocking game was espe-
cially strong for the Wolverines
in the second set. Cross and Toon
each had three blocks in the set,
while sophomore outside hitters
Krystalyn Goode and Ally Davis,
junior setter Lexi Dannemiller
and freshman middle blocker
Abby Cole also joined in on sev-
eral tandem blocks.
Michigan looked like a team
destined for a date with No. 3
Washington in the second round.
Then, suddenly, the wheels fell
off.
Everything that went well
for Michigan in the second set
went horribly wrong in the third.
The Wolverines only managed
one block and committed seven
errors. LSU went on a 4-0 run to
begin the set and never looked
back.
The Lady Tigers rode the
strength of an 8-0 run in the
middle of the set to gain an.18-7
lead before ultimately winning
25-14.
"They served us short a lot
more, and that kind of threw our
rhythm off a little bit," Rosen

said. "We adjusted later, but by
then our ball control was strug-
gling a little bit, and we weren't
able to stay in system."
Rosen also acknowledged a
sudden decline in the Wolver-
ines' defense coming off their
dominant second set.
To remedy the situation,
Rosen sent Morales out in the
libero jersey to start the fourth
set.
Though Morales had a pro-
ductive match - she led the team
with 20 digs - the Wolverines
still couldn't close out the Lady
Tigers.
A 6-0 LSU run in the fourth
set broke a 6-6 tie. The Wolver-
ines' offensive struggles dictat-
ed the set, as they committed a
match-high eight errors. Michi-
gan couldn't capitalize on a late
rally and ultimately dropped the
set 25-19.
Michigan finished with nine
fewer wins than last season
despite being ranked No. 7 at the
start of the season. It was the
final match for seniors Cross,
Toon and Sabol, as well as fifth-
year senior defensive specialist
Brittany Lee and senior outside
hitter Lexi Erwin.

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