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February 2, 2009Michigan head coach John Beilein said today that incidents involving freshman Zack Novak (at Ohio State) and sophomore Manny Harris (at Purdue) were different, hinting he'd proceeded differently in the Harris case after suspending Novak.
The Big Ten agreed Monday, ruling there would be no further punishment.
Novak missed U-M's game at Purdue, a 67-49 loss, after throwing an elbow at OSU guard P.J. Hill during a free throw attempt. The Big Ten concurred with Beilein's punishment.
Harris, meanwhile, caught Purdue's Chris Kramer in the nose while swinging the ball during a pivot, drawing blood. Harris was ejected with 18:29 remaining in the second half and the Wolverines up 29-27.
"We see this as a clear difference between our other situation. I'll make a statement later on in the day about it," Beilein said Monday morning.
"What we did [with Novak], we reviewed over and over again and we ended up saying what action we were going to take to the Big Ten, and they then approved of our action. We are in the process of doing the same today, [but] it's very clear it's a very different situation. I expect [the Big Ten] to accept that recommendation that we give in this situation. If not, I would appeal it."
Both Kramer and Purdue coach Matt Painter concurred it wasn't a dirty play, and Painter reiterated his comments Monday.
"I think he got high when he triple threatened and cleared his space and obviously hit Chris, and that's Chris's space. Chris was established," Painter said. "There wasn't any maliciousness to that at all. He didn't get the ball and triple threat and go right after him, but it is that person's space. You are entitled to that when you establish your defensive position."
Both Beilein and Harris, meanwhile, continue to insist there was no intent to harm Kramer.
"Because it was deemed a flagrant foul, we really had no choice," said Beilein. "He's very disappointed because we already were playing one man down, and he knows that two men down is hard as well. He'll bounce back. He's very young, maybe the youngest sophomore in the league, and he'll bounce back. He's resilient."
U-M next faces Penn State, a Sunday winner at Michigan State, Thursday at Crisler Arena.