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Published: Sunday, 12/14/2008

Beilein-less Wolverines rout Eagles

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan's Jevohn Shepherd defends Eastern Michigan's Brandon Bowdry. On offense, Shepherd scored a career-high 13. Michigan's Jevohn Shepherd defends Eastern Michigan's Brandon Bowdry. On offense, Shepherd scored a career-high 13.
TONY DING / AP Enlarge

ANN ARBOR - To Michigan guard Kelvin Grady, it was like coach John Beilein was still standing on the sideline yesterday scolding him when he made a mistake.

Only Beilein was nowhere to be found.

Beilein, suffering from vertigo caused by an inner ear infection, was resting at home while the Wolverines blasted neighboring Eastern Michigan 91-60. His team didn't miss a beat without him.

UM set a season high in points, drilled a school-record 16 3-pointers, and tallied 24 assists against just five turnovers in hammering the MAC-dwelling Eagles from nearby Ypsilanti, Mich.

"It's a great compliment to the teacher and the leader that the pupil performs at his optimum when the teacher is absent," said associate head coach Jerry Dunn, who filled in for Beilein yesterday. "That's when you know you have greatness, so to speak, in coach Beilein because even when he's not here he's here. They still hear him."

Beilein, who is in his second season at UM, will continue to be re-evaluated by university physicians until he rejoins the team. Dunn said he hopes Beilein will be able to resume command of the Wolverines by this coming Saturday's game against Oakland at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

But if UM (7-2) is going to continue to play like this without Beilein present, the ailing coach can take his time to heal.

The Wolverines, who had a week off after beating then-No. 4 Duke last weekend, trailed by as many as seven points in the first half before going on a 19-6 run to enter halftime with a 44-34 lead.

UM got itself going with the 3-pointer. Kelvin Grady hit three 3s and scored 11 points in the first half, and as a team the Wolverines scored 15 of 17 points on 3s during one stretch to erase their deficit.

"I think it just took one," Grady said. "It took someone to get it started."

Wolverines forward Jevohn Shepherd scored all of his career-high 13 points in the first half. Teammate and UM star Manny Harris had just two points in the opening half because of foul trouble, but he erupted with four 3s of his own after halftime and finished with a game-high 22 points.

DeShawn Sims added 18 points for the Wolverines. Brandon Bowdry led EMU (2-7) with 16 points.

Dunn, who came with Beilein from West Virginia to Ann Arbor, was a head coach at Penn State from 1995-2003. He was on the road recruiting when he received a call Friday informing him of Beilein's condition and later learned he would have to coach the team in the interim.

"It was like, 'Ok, we're back in the saddle for a game,'•" Dunn said. "My main concern was how coach was doing and how our guys were going to react to not having him here."

And after reviewing the stat sheet, Dunn told reporters that Beilein was with the Wolverines yesterday even though he wasn't inside Crisler Arena.

"We were 16-for-33 from the 3-point line. That's coach Beilein's stamp all over it, all over the team," Dunn said.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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