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February 03, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

February 3, 2014 - 3B

Defensive lapses lead to loss
as Wolverines falter again

Daily Sports Editor
Kim Barnes Arico shed her
jacket just 26 seconds into the
Michigan women's basketball
team's loss against Minnesota.
For much of the second half,
the Wolverines' defense put up
about as much resistance as the
jacket did. The Golden Gophers
attacked, attacked and then
attacked some more to turn a
Wolverine halftime lead into an
85-69 loss.
Minnesota shot 17-for-22
from the field in the second
half, ensuring Michigan would
lose consecutive games for
the first time this season.
The Golden Gophers used a
multitude of different looks in
their outburst, and each look
was met without much of an
attempt to stop it.
The loss was a part of a
difficult stretch of four games
in 10 days for the Wolverines,

Junior Stacey Ervin celebrated in style after a solid showing in the parellel bars as Michigan easily defeated Ohio State.
Proars to triumph

Daily Sports Writer
On a day when it raised its 2013
NCAA National Championship
banner, the Michigan men's
gymnastics team showed why it's
once again the favorite to repeat.
Playing host to No. 4 Ohio
State, the Wolverines won
handily, 444.75-440.80. Though
using a more forgiving scoring
system than is used at the
national championship, 444.75
is higher than the score that won
Michigan the title last year.
Saturday, like throughout most
of the regular season, the contest
used the 6-up 5-count scoring
system, which often results in
higher scores.
The championship-winning
score of 443.20 and last year's
team were honored before the
meet as the banner was unveiled
by the captains, graduate
student Syque Caesar and senior
Matt Freeman.
"It's very special," Caesar
said. "We fought very hard for
that championship last year and
we've put a lot of work in this
year to hopefully repeat at home
in front of the home crown.
Raising that banner to a home
crowd makes it a little more
From Page 1B
handled the way he was being
defended, Morgan paused before
saying, "He kind of stepped
up a little bit towards the end
and wanted to get a little more
involved, but it's tough when
guys - they were bent on not
letting him get shots and making
everyone else score."
Michigan coach John Beilein
called the Hoosiers' defensive
game plan "outstanding," noting
that it was one he has never seen
since arriving to Ann Arbor.
Indiana pitted a smaller defender
on the Wolverines' big man,
allowing its four other defenders
to switch on every ball screen,
stifling the pick-and-roll sets that
Michigan - particularly Stauskas
- loves to operate out of.
The plan worked against
all facets of Stauskas's game,
limiting him not just in the
scoring column, but holding him
to only one assist - nearly three
below his average.
"They took their quickest
player and don't let Nik get the
From Page 1B
their 10-game winning
"Defense wasn't the issue
today," Beilein said. "Our offense
has got to get better and that falls
with me."
Ferrell's offense wouldn't have
been nearly enough for the high-
powered Michigan attack that
had been scoring 77 points per
game. He also guarded Stauskas
all day, denying him from catch-
ing passes and limiting him to six
points on 1-for-6 shooting.
But Ferrell's defense was a
product of the bigger defensive
scheme that Indiana cooked up,
one Beilein said he had never

seen since he's been at Michigan.
The way Indiana switched on
screens baffled Michigan, and
Beilein credited that strategy in
removing the Wolverines from

special and motivation for us to
put another one up there."
With that extra motivation,
No. 2 Michigan started off the
match on one of its best events,
floor exercise, and gained the
early lead on the Buckeyes (2-3-
1 Big Ten, 3-3-1 overall). Led by
senior Sam Mikulak with a score
of 15.85 and Caesar with a 15.30,
the Wolverines gave themselves
a nice cushion over Ohio State for
the rest of the meet.
"Floor is tricky," Caesar said.
"We have really high-level
gymnasts on there so hitting the
event is good, but hittingthe event
as well as we did is really great."
Parallel bars, usually a
staple in Michigan's arsenal,
proved to be a different story
as it struggled on that event.
While Caesar and junior Stacey
Ervin registered a 15.60 and
15.40 respectively, their fellow
gymnasts didn't fare as well due
to misses and low start values.
"We got off to a great start
at p-bars, but then the middle
and the end of our lineup we
had some trouble, and that's
traditionally our best event,"
said Michigan coach Kurt
Golder. "Hopefully, we will get it
straightened out soon."
Caesar earned the Newt Loken
ball," Beilein said. "He's seen that
before, but we haven't seen when
they put our primary screen
with a switch guy.... That's what
changed a lot of things. Drawing
that up in the huddle and in
practice is two different things."
Indiana coach Tom Crean said
that after his assistants crafted
the scheme, his team began
working on ita week ago.
"All I'll really say about the
game plan is we couldn't guard
them conventionally," Crean
said. "We had tough matchups,
so we had to overcome that a
little bit."
Freshman point guard
Derrick Walton Jr. led the
Wolverines with 13 points, but
just five came after halftime.
Sophomore guard Caris LeVert
chipped in with 12 but was held
to an inefficient 5-of-13 shooting
mark. No other Michigan player
scored in double digits.
Despite playing one of its worst
halves of the season, Michigan
went into the break trailing just
25-22. The Wolverines offense
sputtered to a 7-of-20 field-goal
mark in the period, missing on
each of its four 3-pointers. To
their element.
The Indiana game plan was
one the Hoosiers had been work-
ing on since last week, and one
that Crean said was designed to
limit Michigan's explosive scor-
ers, though he wouldn't elabo-
rate on the specifics.
"I just think you've got to be
conscious of where Stauskas is
at all times," Crean said. "You've
got to make his catches hard, but
you've got to make his ability to
get free looks even harder."
Michigan then devolved into
freshman point guard Derrick
Walton and sophomore guard
Caris LeVert running the offense
from the top of the key, but with-
out much success. Walton scored
a team-high 13 points, though
eight of those came in the first

half and six came from free
throws when he was fouled twice
shooting 3-pointers. LeVert's 10
points after the break accounted
for a third of the team's second-

Award, given to the gymnast
with the best performance of the
day, for his parallel bars routine.
But, as the season progresses he
will look to improve not only his
performance but the assigned
difficulty as well.
"I've been doing the same
structure of the routine for a long
time but have upgraded it each
year, and I've upgraded it about
three tenths since last year,"
Caesar said.
Though the Wolverines (5-0,
9-0) held the lead going into
the last event, the high bar, the
meet was far from over given
last week's performance on the
event. After an unusually low
score of 64.35 in last week's
match, Michigan . posted a
respectable 72.75.
"High bar is probably the
highlight this week, because
last week at Stanford, we had
a meltdown," Caesar said. "So
coming back going 6-6 on high
bar is huge for us and shows
that we are a good team on that.
That's a good sign, and we can
do a lot better."
At full strength for the first
time all season, Michigan gave
a glimpse of its true potential -
andhowthatmay meanunveiling
yet another banner next year.
compound the poor first-half
shooting, Michigan turned the ball
over eight times before the break
for the second time in as many
games - an anomaly for a team
that entered the game averaging
fewer than 10turnovers per game.
By time Stauskas connected
on a field goal, more than 18
minutes had evaporated from
the clock. Thanks to two trips
to the foul line on 3-point
attempts, Walton picked up the
offensive slack, as the freshman
scored a team-high eight points
in the first half,
Ferrell opened the scoring
with a 3-pointer, and his touch
never cooled. The sophomore
led Indiana with 12 first-
half points thanks to four
A layup and ensuing and-1
free throw from sophomore
forward Glenn Robinson III
narrowed Michigan's deficit
to four with fewer than two
minutes to play, but that was as
close as it got. Indiana converted
its free throws and a tip-in with
time winding down gave the
Hoosiers a somewhat misleading
11-point victory.
half output.
"We were trying to get some
mismatches through switches,"
Beilein said. "I thought we
could do a better job there.
Obviously we tried to get Nik
the ball or just let Yogi guard
him (in the corner), and we'll
play four-on-four."
The Wolverines' 52 points
were nine fewer than the
team's previous season-low, and
though they shot a mediocre
40 percent from the field, the
slow pace and lack of transition
opportunities contributed to
the low number.
"We just got to be able to get
spacing," Beilein said. "I gotta
look atlit on film, figure out what
they're gonna do. I don't have all
the answers. Obviously if I had

the answer, we wouldn't have
scored 52 points."
And after Ferrell dominated
offensively, that wasn't nearly

Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico had few answers after the Wolverines' loss.

and the grind of
manifested itse
defensive effort
half. Michigan c
defensive stops it
to give it a
38-34 lead
going into the
half, but stops
were few and
far between
early in the
second half.
"A lot of it
might have
to do with
Barnes Arico sa
only physical fatig
fatigue. We've ju
better at playing f
and not for 20 or 2
Minnesota star
half gunning1
the arc. The Go
consistently foun
from deep in t
minutes of the he
guard Mikayla B
3-pointer with 12
her team a 59-5
marked the sixth
Golden Gophers

f the schedule second half on seven attempts.
lf in their "We weren't checked
in the second in enough," said Michigan
reated enough freshman guard Siera Thompson.
n the first half "We weren't too focused on the
game plan."
"We've justgotMinnesota
g exposed the
to get better at Wolverines'
defense on the
playing for 40 perimeter, it
went to work
minutes." on finishing
Michigan off
inside. The
id. "And not had few answers for Golden
gue but mental Gopher center Amanda Zahui,
st got to get who got every look she wanted
or 40 minutes, to inside. Zahui scored six
5, or 30 or 35." straight baskets to push the
ted the second lead to 12 with 10:45 left in the
from beyond game. Zahui finished wi th 24
lden Gophers points and 16 rebounds, but
id open looks her 13 second-half points wore
he first eight down Michigan.
aif. Minnesota The Wolverines were never
Bailey made a able to get the stops they would
:38 left to give need to get back into the game..
3 lead, which Minnesota continued bruising
3-pointer the Michigan's porous defense,
made in the despite the Wolverines' efforts

to cut into the lead. Michigan cut
the lead to seven after Zahui's
run, but its defense couldn't
string together enough stops for
it to matter.
"The wear and tear is kind of
wearing on our team at this point
of the year," Barnes Arico said.
"We've got to find a way to get
ourselves back."
The Wolverines allowed
more than 80 points for the
second straight game. After
allowing 11 3-pointers against
Nebraska on Wednesday night,
the Michigan defense did
the same against the Golden
Gophers. Though the game
was closer than its final score
indicated, the Wolverines' lack
of game experience prior to
this season is beginning to rear
its head on the defensive end.
"They've gone on trips, but
they've never had to play, then
come back and then play again,"
Barnes Arico said.
Michigan better hope its
defense adjusts to the grueling
Big Ten schedule, so that its
recent blips don't mar what has
otherwise been a season full of
positive developments.

Michigan coach Bev Plocki thought sophomore Austin Sheppard deserved a perfect score, but judges gave her a 9.975.
Almost perfect, 'M'tops MSU

Daily Sports Writer
Near-perfect scores, falls,
career bests and floor mishaps
summed up the No. 4 Michigan
women's gymnastics team's
196.800-193.900 win over
Michigan State at Crisler Center
on Fridaynight.
One of the night's biggest
successes was senior Joanna
Sampson. She tied her career-
high all-around score with a
39.650, previously set at last
year's meet against the Spartans.
Sampson also earned career-
high scores on balance beam
(9.925) and uneven bars (9.975),
receiving a 10 from one judge for
her bars performance.
"Bars was always one of my
stronger events before college,"
Sampson said. "But I feel like
I've stayed the same since
I've been here, so (to get a 10)
was just really cool. I wasn't
expecting it at all."
Sophomore Austin Sheppard
started the meet off strong on
vault for the Wolverines. The

height, rotation and landing on
her Yurchenko full - a round-off
onto the springboard into a back
handspring and full twist - also
earned her a career-high 9.975
and a 10 from one judge.
"I have no way to know how
anyone could have found a
deduction on Austin's vault," said
Michigan coachBevPlocki. "That
was a 10 overall if I've ever seen a
10 overall. It was gorgeous."
Sampson tied with a Spartan
gymnast for second on the
vault, with Michigan taking the
next four spots.
The Wolverines, led by
Sampson, dominated on bars
with a season-high 49.475. All
six gymnasts scored at least a
9.800 to take the top six spots.
Sampson, Sheppard, senior
Shelby Gies and fifth-year senior
Natalie Beilstein all stuck their
landings cleanly.
While strong routines on vault
and bars - along with several
falls and mishaps made by the
Spartans - salvaged the win for
Michigan, Friday's meet exposed
areas of weakness. The overall

score was below the team's
average of 196.883 in the first
three meets.
After solid leadoff routines by
freshmen Nicole Artz and Talia
Chiarelli, the Wolverines faced
their first major difficulty on
beam this season.
Struggles followed Michigan
into the floor exercise, where
missteps and stumbles plagued
the first half of the rotation.
Sheppard's power got the best
of her as she went out of bounds
on one of her tumbling passes,
and junior Sachi Sugiyama was
forced to touch the floor after
stumbling on her landing.
"We had a fantastic meet
going, and it's disappointing
when you have something like
that going and then you take your
foot off the gas," Plocki said.
The meet was Michigan's first-
ever Autism Awareness Meet.
A win against its in-state rival,
all while promoting awareness
about a serious and relatively
low-profile disorder, capped a
rewardingweekend for Michigan
despite its weaknesses.

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