The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2004 - 23
The Michigan basketball teams hoists the NIT Championship trophy after its 62-55 victory over Rutgers.
In NI1 Blue learns an
essential lesson: victory
NEW YORK - Michigan was ahead 41-29 in
the second half when it started.
Rutgers's Ricky Shields hit a 3-pointer. Then,
Juel Wiggan scored off an offensive rebound.
Herve Lamizana nailed a
* jumper, and Shields did
the same. In the blink of
an eye, Michigan was
down 44-43 and pro-Rut-
gers Madison Square
Garden was alive.
Suddenly, every Michi-
gan fan in the place was CHRIS
stuck in flashback mode, BURKE
their mind wandering to Goin' to Work
losses at Wisconsin, Illi- April 2, 2004
nois, Iowa, Minnesota
and Indiana - games where the Wolverines
played so well for so long, only to collapse in the
But last night, something strange happened:
Michigan didn't fold.
Instead, the Wolverines tightened up their
defense and rediscovered their confidence on
offense. A layup by Michigan center Courtney
Sims put the Wolverines ahead with 4:55 left, and
five minutes later, the Wolverines found them-
selves with something that had too often eluded
them in regular-season road games.
Don't kid yourself-- Michigan would not have
won this game earlier this year. No way.
The NIT version of the Michigan basketball
team, though, was different than the regular-season
version. After the win, senior Bernard Robinson
said that Michigan had been capable of a perform-
ance like last night's all year.
And therein lies the difference: Regular-season
Michigan couldn't get it done. Postseason Michi-
gan played up to its potential.
Regular-season Michigan would have imploded
had it turned the ball over four times in four min-
utes, as the Wolverines did last night during Rut-
But postseason Michigan found a way to get
the job done -be it Dion Harris nailing a 3-
pointer with all the Rutgers fans on their feet, or
Daniel Horton racing back on defense after a
turnover to get the Wolverines the possession
back with a steal.
The mantra all season for this baby-faced Michi-
gan squad was that it takes young teams a long
time to learn how to win.
Well, consider the lesson learned.
"Asa coach and asa teacher, when you see your
players and your students get better at the things
that you've been coaching and preaching and
teaching, there's nothing better," Michigan coach
And the result of that knowledge spoke for itself
It's a word that hasn't accompanied the end of a
See BURKE, Page 26
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