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Posted on Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Spoiled senior night not a concern for Michigan basketball captains Zack Novak, Stu Douglass

By Nick Baumgardner


Stu Douglass on Michigan's loss to Purdue: "This can only be used as motivation. We've got to have that back-to-the-wall mentality."

Chris Asadian |

This wasn't a fairy tale home exit for Zack Novak and Stu Douglass.

There was no ceremonial kissing of the Crisler Center court, nor was there any time for a curtain call.

As for a standing ovation? Well it happened, sort of, as fans clapped with car keys in hand as they began to leave the building for the final time this season.

There was no storybook ending for the two Michigan basketball seniors who have meant so much to the program's resurgence. Then again, Novak and Douglass never expected one.

A wrecked senior night experience was the last thing on their mind Saturday after a lopsided 75-61 home loss to Purdue.

"Winning senior night wasn't one of our goals," Novak said. "I'll trade losing on senior night if we can become the team we're capable of becoming because of this."

Michigan entered Saturday 15-0 at home, one victory from scoring its first unbeaten home season in 35 years. Michigan also was poised to keep alive a shot at the program's first league title in 26 years.


Zack Novak on losing to Purdue: "I'll trade losing on senior night if we can become the team we're capable of becoming because of this."

Chris Asadian |

Purdue had other plans. The Boilermakers answered every Michigan run, grabbed a double-digit lead with less than four minutes to go and gave Michigan's home record one major blemish.

With 1:23 to play and his team down 16, Michigan coach John Beilein stopped the game to remove Douglass before coercing his disappointed bench to its feet to greet him.

On the next stoppage, he attempted to get Novak one final exit, but the three-time Michigan captain wasn't in the mood. He quickly walked to the bench in the midst of a media timeout.

"Maybe it'll be a good thing for us to not achieve one of our goals," Douglass said of Michigan's spoiled home record. "This can only be used as motivation. We've got to have that back-to-the-wall mentality, and, hopefully, this will put us closer to where we need to be from a mental standpoint."

Michigan dipped to 21-8, 11-5 in Big Ten play, while league-leading Michigan State slammed Nebraska two hours later to take a two-game lead on the Wolverines with just two games left.

In order for a share of the Big Ten crown to make an appearance in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1986, Michigan has to win out (at Illinois, at Penn State), and MSU has to lose out (at Indiana, vs. Ohio State).

Not all is lost for Michigan on the season.

The loss to Purdue won't go down as a bad defeat, as the Boilermakers are approaching 20 victories, and Michigan's RPI still sat at No. 13 on Sunday morning despite the setback.

A strong finish this week in Champaign and State College, coupled with a decent showing at the Big Ten Tournament will put Michigan in a spot for a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament, possibly a No. 3 or No. 4.

"We're going to keep fighting," Novak said. "Even if we were mathematically out of (the Big Ten title picture), there's still a lot left to play for.

"That's not something we can control, we need to control what we can. We've got one at Illinois coming up, we've got to win that one. Then take it one at a time."

Novak and Douglass' senior night was wrecked. But with plenty of season left, the Wolverines can still wash away the bitter memory of Saturday as fast as it came.

Novak and Douglass didn't get that one lasting home-court image to be remembered by.

"Stu told the team in the locker room, 'I didn't come to Michigan to win on senior night, I came to Michigan to win,' " Beilein said. "If you know this team, we'll hope the trend continues that when we get beat by a team that's better one night, then we get better ourselves."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Easy money, keep up the good work um.


Mon, Feb 27, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

We were pressing...and Purdue is playing the best basketball in the big right now, outside of msu. Not a surprise that we layed an egg.

Kevin Shabinski

Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

Hey Michigan Basketball, its me, earth, welcome back.


Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

That is on the money, I've repeatedly said the same thing. Morgan is a threat inside only as a result of someone else's penetration and getting the ball within 24 inches of the rim. That is not the same as having an insider who is impossible to stop one on one. When a defense has to compensate for that threat by collapsing or double teaming, then the floor will open up for the others and the perimeter shooters. If the team shoots around 40% on 3 pointers they can hang with anyone, when below that mark almost anyone can hang with them. Maybe McGary can develop quickly and add a dependable threat inside while we still have the other talent on board next year. This team could upset some teams and advance past the sweet sixteen, also could get knocked out by a mid level SEC team in the second round.


Sun, Feb 26, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

every time i watch this team, and recent teams under Belein, it is increasingly event that lack of an inside game and relying on the lowest percentage shot in it's offense will not bring championships to Michigan. maybe next year......... GO BLUE!!