John Beilein spoke with the media during his post-game press conference after his team’s 62-47 win over Nebraska. Beilein addressed the slow pace of the game, how the experience will help Michigan moving forward and how it feels to be 16-0, tying the best start in Michigan history. Beilein also said Jon Horford could have played, and he may play on Sunday if he does well in practice. You can watch the full presser using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening Statement: “You may not believe this, but I thought that was a great win. We told our team there are so many things that stats will tell you that would back up my statement, if you coached long, and knew what the young men went through tonight. We talked to them all about it. You’re going to have games where you can’t make a shot, you can’t make a foul shot, the ball bounces the other team’s way, they get a hot shooter — (Ray) Gallegos was terrific at keeping them in the game — and you still find a way to win. Vall (Jordan) told me we had about 48 percent of our shots missed, we got offensive rebounds on them, we only had a few turnovers, we got to the foul line and got in the bonus early, and we didn’t give up too many easy baskets in the second half. We played really good defense — they shot 33 percent. They went to the foul line six or seven times. Believe it or not, as coaches, we love these types of wins. You don’t necessarily love coaching them, but when you look back at them, these are the ones that build teams. It lends credence right away to what we preach. I thought Nebraska did a great job of shortening the game. They had a really quick, athletic team that plays very solid man defense and made us do some things we haven’t seen this year. We’ll learn from it. So, good win. 3-0 in the Big Ten, let’s keep it going.”
- On rebounding from the wings (Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III both had double-digit rebounding numbers): “We really send all five guys to the glass, anyhow. We want Trey to actually be getting more rebounds because that’s the best rebound we can get because he’s got the ball and he’s flying up there.”
- On Nebraska’s defense: Beilein cited their quickness and the way they played a containing, man-to-man defense. “(They) guarded the ball screens a little bit differently, forced us to shoot from behind it a few times. Some of them were really good shots, some of them I think we would rather have back.”
- On Nebraska slowing the game down: “There were a few anxious moments in the first half” when his team had to learn how to play slower. “That’s not the last time we’re going to see that, that’s for sure.”
- On grinding out a Big Ten game after two straight blowouts to start the conference slate: “It’s a great win, that we had to grind one out. … That was difficult. At the same time, it was one we needed to have. That adversity is the good stuff in the long run.”
- On all but one of Michigan’s baskets coming from four players: “Caris (LeVert) had wide open looks, he didn’t get them. … I think there’s enough out there, we just needed to shoot a little better, (especially) freshmen off the bench. I think we saw a little bit of freshmen just getting used to the grind and the third game in the Big Ten in about a week.”
- “It’s difficult” to play against a team that slows the game down as Nebraska did. “They could beat us down the floor. They sent one or two to the boards, but those other guys were back. They had three men back. We had to get clean rebounds and we had to get rid of it.” Said they also did a great job of finding Nik Stauskas in transition and defending him well.
- On starting the season 16-0: “It’s a great way to start the season. … I think we’ll know more about this team after we go on the road a few more times and play teams that are playing at a high level on the road, we’ll know more.”
- On missing free throws (Michigan was 17-of-26): “I think if it had been a little bit tighter down the stretch where we had to make foul shots to win it, that’s one thing we’re going to have to do down the way.”
- On Mitch McGary’s play: “Those plays that he made, the one where he ended up with a 3 from Nik, that gave us a little space. He’s on that floor. The hustle points he provides for us, you can’t measure because usually those hustle points, first of all get everybody charged up, but second, could lead to something — once the ball’s on the floor and everyone’s collapsed, that’s one of the best times to score if you come up with it. … he was really good tonight.”
- On Jon Horford: “He could have played. … I just elected not to go there. We’ll really stretch him on Friday and Saturday.”
- On if he’ll play Sunday against Ohio State: “That would be a hope. If he plays really well in these next two days of practice and shows he’s in that type of condition, we’ll throw him in there.”