Senior Brent Petway went from shooting less than 50 percent from the field against North Carolina State to recording a perfect 4-for-4 versus Wofford.

Senior Lester Abram improved from a woeful 2-for-8 shooting showing against the Wolfpack to scoring seven points in the final 45 seconds of the first half last Saturday.

Senior Courtney Sims rebounded from scoring just seven points in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, to drop 19 against the Terriers.

And senior Dion Harris went from missing 10 from behind the arc against North Carolina State to dismantling the Wofford defense for his first career double-double (14 points, 10 assists).

So what happened in the five days between Michigan’s 74-67 loss to the Wolfpack and its 83-49 beatdown of the Terriers?

For one, the opponent got easier.

Wofford is a below-.500 team from the Southern Conference, while North Carolina State is an undefeated team from the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference.

But while a weak opponent may have helped, the Wolverines’ senior class got in gear in part because of a meeting with Michigan coach Tommy Amaker.

“Coming off the loss to North Carolina State, (Amaker) wasn’t happy with our leadership,” Harris said. “We, as seniors, have to take more control of the team. He can’t always be the one jumping down our throats when things aren’t going well or guys aren’t giving their best effort. He said that’s up to us sometimes.”

Harris seems to have responded best to the meeting. After taking too many shots in the comeback effort versus the Wolfpack, the Detroit native simply played within the flow of Saturday’s game.

The 14 points against Wofford were expected, but 10 assists and just one turnover were what particularly impressed the coaching staff. For a team still searching for a reliable point guard, Harris’s performance was a welcome relief. His ability to set up other players allowed younger players like freshman DeShawn Sims to excel against the Terriers.

Even though the Wolverines have a number of young players on their team, the burden of making the NCAA Tournament will ultimately fall onto the seniors’ shoulders. With all four in the starting lineup, the onus is on them to produce every game.

“I guess coach saw that we could have done more as far as being the senior group,” Abram said. “Our team is going to go how the seniors go. . I guess it just took a loss to wake everybody up and see we have to have better practices and play better in the games.”

Michigan currently stands at 8-1, but all eight of those wins have come against teams from non-power conferences. There aren’t many potential blowouts left on a schedule that includes games against No. 1 UCLA and Georgetown, in addition to a challenging Big Ten schedule. But if anyone can handle that, it may be these four players.

Whether it’s injuries, arrests of teammates or just poor play, Amaker realizes that these seniors have endured it all in their three previous years as Wolverines – all except an NCAA Tournament bid.

“(Amaker) knows how much we’ve been through together with him, and he just wants to see us succeed,” Sims said. “Coach always says he’s here for us, especially the senior class. He meets with us a lot, so (the meeting) wasn’t just because we lost. He just wanted us to refocus on the goal at hand.”

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