Saturday, February 24, 2007

Basketball Live-Blog: Documenting the Futility

Michigan wins the tip. Smith controls it. Petway give and go almost works, but Petway doesn't shoot well from the block.

Minnesota immediately runs back down the floor and launches a bad (but open) three.

Jerret Smith turns the ball over, but the Gophers don't capitalize.

Udoh takes the rebound, and makes the bucket on the other end, an 8-footer.

Udoh, all over the place, gets an authoritative block that turns into a quick layup by Jerret Smith. 4-0.

Nice ball movement by the Gophers and overly aggressive defense leaves Abu-Shamala (sp?) wide open, and he hits the three

Abram's half-hearted attempt at dribble penetration goes nowhere and he kicks it out to Jerret Smith, who surprisingly goes right at the basket and draws a foul on the floor. All for nought, though. The Gophers push it back up the floor and Abu-Shamala nails a looong three. 4-6.

Bah. Quick trip up the floor gives us nothing. ANOTHER WIDE OPEN ABU-SHAMALA THREE. GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH. 4-9.

Abram 3 no good. Minnesota's frosh point guard gets trapped in the corner and launches a pass to Tacopants, who's made the trip up to the Twin Cities. TV time out.

Jerret Smith curls off a screen and makes the bucket. 6-9, 15:21 left in the first.

Gophers get nothing. On the other end, they knock the ball out of bounds. Deshawn Sims somehow DOESN'T get the foul called when he goes up under the basket. Coleman tries to go up, but is blanketed. Jump ball, arrow favors Minnesota.

Again, nothing for the Gophers. Michigan's attempt is blocked. Back down to the other end, where the Gophers lose it out of bounds. Sims gets the basket for the boys in blue. 8-9.

Exchange of possessions, the Gophers eventually get it over to Abu-Shamala for a long two. 8-11.

On the other end, Courtney Sims draws a foul. His strongest point is probably his free throw shooting and he hits both. 9-`11, 12:53 left.

Good defense, the Gophers drain the shot clock before finally taking an awkward shot that Udoh gets a piece of. Michigan converts into a layup. 12-11.

Abu-Shamala gets another long two, he has all of Minnie's points. 12-13.

Abram answers with a layup on the other end 14-13. Minnesota's Coleman decides that maybe he should score too. 14-15.

Ball out of bounds, Michigan. 10:45 remaining, TV time-out. The in-bounds play results in a scrum and Dion Harris at the line. He makes both. 16-15, 10:10 left.

Steal by Udoh! Deshawn Sims goes up inside, but falling away from the basket. It's a tough shot, and he can't convert.

One of Minnesota's guards gets blanketed by a pair of our guys. It's like one of those situations you'd get into in elementary school leagues, with the panicked kid looking for any outlet. He finds one, out near half-court, who in turn finds a wide-open Webster down on the block. He's fouled and hits both. 16-17.

Michigan can't get anything. Minnesota's spending a lot of time nowhere near the basket, which is nice. Sims and Webster are halfway to the sideline when Webster's desparation shot goes up. Airball right to one of our guys underneath.

Up the floor, I think it's Deshawn Sims who gets hacked, but on the floor. Jevohn Shepherd, as the clock winds down, tries to drive the lane...right through a Gopher. Offensive foul.

Bah. Bad defense when Abu-Shamala starts making a move down the lane. Turns into an easy pass and a Gopher dunk. 16-19.

Hey, nice job finding a wide open man out on the wing. Problem: It's Petway. By the time he gives it to Ron Coleman, Coleman's double-teamed. Freakily, as he makes the outlet pass, someone's been hanging around long enough to draw a three-seconds call.

Short possession by the Gophers, and Abram's having a decent game so far. He draws the and-one on his bucket and sinks it. Tie game, 19-19.

Minnesota also draws a foul on the other end, but they miss the front end. 19-20.

Quick whistle on the other end of the floor. No one bothers to say what for. Gophers' long three attempt goes off the front of the iron. Dion Harris hilariously misses the rebound, allowing the Gophers to reset and get two. 19-22.

Another turnover for Michigan leads to nothing but my annoyance, thankfully. Abram's comparatively on fire and hits a big, arcing three to tie it up. 22-22.

Lots of guys at the top of the arc leaves an open man under the rim. His unnecessary pump-fake gives Petway enough time to come flying in to make a sweet, clean block.

The announcing team is confused when Ekpe Udoh draws the foul. He hits both to retake the lead. 24-22. Just over 4:00 left in the first.

Minnesota's Dan Coleman catches Udoh out at the arc, forces him to get his feet moving, makes his shot, and draws the foul. He hits the extra one. 24-25.

Minnesota comes back down the floor and commits a charging foul. 3:19 left. Jerret Smith is committed to driving the lane today and he draws a foul, but misses a makeable basket. He goes 1/2 at the line. 25-25.

Lot's of ball movement by Minnesota. Big-time overcommitment by Abram leaves Abu-Shamala an open look at a three, which he knocks down. 25-28.

On the other end, Dion Harris gets to go to the line. He hits both. 27-28.

Quick offensive foul by Westbrook. Weird stiff-arm. Oh, beautiful. The Gophers left Dion Harris wide open on the wing and he drains the three-ball for his first field goal of the day. 30-28.

The ball movement has Michigan jumping all over the place. Abu-Shamala gets fouled on the floor, but it's a one-and-one situation. Of course, he hits both. 30-30.

Macro: Oh, beautiful. Harris hits another three. 33-30.

Exchange of high-tempo, quick possessions. :50 seconds left and Minny wants a timeout.

Tipped out on the in-bounds. Reset goes easier. Slight block on the shot, which is a dying, mid-range quail that flops out of bounds. Sims can't hit a fall-away shot with an arm in his face (duh), so the half ends 33-30.

My sister, a Michigan State student (Hee! Oh, what a concept.), went to Game Day at the Breslin Center this morning. She says there was a kid there dressed head-to-toe in maize Michigan gear. Izzo reportedly went up to him and gave him a State jersey to replace it, with ESPN at least taping the whole thing. Does anyone know if it actually aired?

Well, we start the second half by trying to force a pass through Abu-Shamala. As he remains composed of matter, this does not work. Foul on the other end, Payton(?) hits one of two. 33-31.

Udoh wastes no time in answering. 35-31. Dan Coleman says, "I can do that." 35-33.

Exchange of possessions. HILARIOUS flailing shot by the Gophers. Udoh starts another half quickly. 37-33.

Lester Abram is wide freakin' open, but doesn't land his three. Foul on the floor by Petway, his third. Courtney Sims comes in to replace him. Sims is a shot-blocker? OK. Reed Baker is also in the game now. There's Sims' shot-blocking ability fouling. Spencer Tollackson looks like a native Minnesotan. He makes one of two. 37-34.

Harris makes a nice, low bounce pass right into Sims and he cashes in. 39-34. Tollackson answers. 39-36.

Udoh rocks, from outside this time. 41-36.

Abu-Shamala had been under wraps for the first four minutes, but bombs in another three. 41-39. Just as quickly, we answer with our own. 44-39.

Injury timeout, as Tollackson gets whacked across the nose. Oh, nice. The Minnesota band is playing some P-Funk. "Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)"

Nothing much happens on the next pair of possessions. Michigan again forces Minnesota to burn a lot of the shot clock, but this time Sims commits another foul on Coleman. He makes both, easily. 44-41.

Reed Baker looks a little jumpy. A nice, strong drive to the rim comes AGAIN from Jerret Smith. He hits the runner and draws the foul. With the and-one, it's 47-41. He's having a heck of a game.

Minnesota's time with the ball is brief. Michigan keeps it longer, but has no more to show.

Abu-Shamala finally misses a shot from three, but we fail to get the rebound. The offensive rebounder sets him up perfectly for a lay-up. 47-43.

Reed Baker hasn't looked great away from the ball. His 3 attempt bounces on the rim forever before falling off. Sims fouls Williams from behind on the rebound attempt. He returns the favor in a nearly identical situation on the other end.

Damn. Harris makes a probably unnecessary pass to Petway. A foul on the floor is called before Petway can sink his shot. Dion Harris gets run over by Westbrook for another foul. After the in-bounds pass, he takes an awkward quasi-layup that nearly falls, but just won't drop. Somehow Minnesota fetches it out of the pile.

Lots more fouls this half than the previous one. There's 11:30 left to go, but we've got to be near the one-and-one for both teams. There's just a cliff between Michigan (6-7) and Minnesota (3-11) in the Big Ten standings, but only one place.

We switch to zone for some reason, which may or may not have something to do with Minnesota missing their shot. Deshawn Sims draws a foul under the basket, but it's on the floor. Petway hits a nice shot halfway to the free throw line, drawing a foul and ending the scoring drought both teams had been experiencing. He converts the three-point play. 50-43.

Sweetness. Petway breaks up a telegraphed pass and Jerret Smith, with some nice hustle, saves it right back to him from out of bounds. Too bad we can't get a shot to drop. A block gives us a second chance. We run the floor and Deshawn Sims winds up on the line (Minnesota's 7th foul!). 51-43.

WTF? We're taling about golf domes now? Whatever, ESPN+. Petway collects another block. D. Sims gets the ball just a little too far under the basket to make it easy.

Decent defense and some cold shooting are hurting Minnesota. We come back down the floor and pad the lead just a little. 53-43.

Well, duh. If we beat Minnesota on the road and MSU and Ohio State on our home floor, we absolutely deserve a tournament berth. Doesn't mean we're good enough to pull off that performance.

We're starting to drag out our possessions. Sims underneath can't throw it down. Minnesota is scoreless in the last 5:43. C. Sims again isn't doing much underneath, but he manages to uselessly foul Abu-Shamala after he grabs a rebound. Yes, give the cold team you're playing an opportunity to shoot a free one-and-one. Great plan, thanks Napoleon!

Missouri must be a very bad team. They just lost to the same Nebraska team that was better than doubled-up by Kansas earlier this week.

Abu-Shamala hits both. 53-45. Minnesota decides to foul Courtney Sims even when he's out of his comfort zone. Sims rattles the first one out, but makes the second. 54-45.

Shot block fiesta underneath on the other end. About four Wolverines get blocks. Dion Harris gets another layup opportunity, and he's quietly had a pretty good day. 56-45.

Foul on the floor, and Minnesota can't make the front half. Rebound goes our way. Lester Abram drives the lane and Minnesota just looks out of sorts now. 58-45, 5:30 left as Minnesota bricks another shot. Timeout.

Udoh passes up a three-point opportunity, but Harris doesn't. Meanwhile, Udoh has taken up station under the glass. Big offensive rebound and we get another two. 60-45. 4:16 left.

Tollackson gets a much-needed basket for the Gophers, one of their few from the paint today. 60-47.

Minnesota's not really battling anymore. Dion Harris picks McKenzie's pocket on a lazy pass. Lester Abram finishes off the glass. 62-47.

Even with a win all but assured, we're still scrapping under the rim. Harris didn't have a shot at getting that rebound away from McKenzie, but he flew in there and slapped it out of bounds. On the other end, three blue jerseys are under the rim. Petway gets it, and now we're eating clock with only 1:00 left. Jevohn Shepherd's shot is short.

ESPN+: If Michigan can play defense like they did today, they'll do great in their last two games. Some might claim, however, that there's a big difference between Drew Neitzel, Greg Oden, and any of these Minnesota schmoes. 62-49.

Abu-Shamala gets to the line with 23.3 seconds left in the game and gets another pair of meaningless points. 62-51, and that's how it ends.

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