John Beilein was available during his post-game press conference to talk about his team’s 58-57 win over Michigan State. He mentioned that he had not received any news about Nik Stauskas regarding a potential concussion resulting from the elbow Stauskas took in the first half. You can watch the full presser below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “We’ve had some real pretty wins here, where we did everything right and the ball went in and we just played lights-out. Today, it was all about grit. Michigan State really does a great job defensively and we were going to have to score the ball in different ways and stop them in different ways. Obviously you hate the offensive rebounds we continue to give up, and (Adreian) Payne’s a tough guy to keep off there. He just gets in spots where the space to box him out is so small, you can’t really get anything done. But, the big difference was the 18 turnovers they got to our seven. So, whatever offensive rebounds they got, the possessions that resulted from that, might have equalized to get the win. You can tell our team is really excited about it, we knew we just had to get a win, especially after the Wednesday night disappointment. Now hopefully this will help us in our next game against a Purdue team that just beat Wisconsin at Wisconsin.
- On Caris LeVert’s defensive effort: “Unfortunately, with Nik (Stauskas) it looked like an accidental elbow, or that’s what the ref said. So, he was going to be out.” Said LeVert’s finish at the end of the first half was “huge for us.” … “He’s one of our better defenders. We know that. He played a huge role today.”
- On the defensive effort overall: “It was all about grit. We’ve been preaching it and our guys, they buy into it. When you’re tired, when the schemes change, they have to really understand it and understand it better. We changed our ball-screen package a little bit from our last game, and that was very helpful.”
- On Trey Burke’s final two steals to seal the game: “He was incredible. … I take my eyes off him for a second to see (Michigan State’s) formation, and there’s Trey going down the other end. He’s very good at that, that was huge. And his defense on the last play was excellent.”
- On winning without making a 3-pointer: “I thought Trey sometimes over-penetrated. Just get in there and shoot it, or get in there and find somebody. But for the most part they guarded us well and we didn’t get many open ones now.”
- On what a win like this does for a team’s psyche: “For our kids’ perception it was really important that we get some little boost here. I thought we had gotten through it with the Illinois game, obviously we didn’t on Wednesday. Today, just to give us another boost in our step for these last two games is huge for a team’s psyche.”
- On the sigh of relief resulting from the win: “It would have been a shame to lose that one. … Let’s put it this way: the attitude in practice will be a whole lot different with the win, any way we could get it.”
- On how he feels about his team now that they responded to this challenge: “We needed something like this. There’s five teams (in the conference) that are up there a little bit separated, and Ohio State’s the only one we have a win over, coming into this game. … we needed to beat some of the higher teams in this league.”
- On what he thought coming out of halftime: “What we did at halftime was just stress to the guys, ‘listen: … we’re closer than we think to getting things done. We just have to execute now, and we’ve got to continue to play defense, and the shots will fall.”
- On Jordan Morgan’s role in the improved post defense: “He and Derrick Nix have been going at it now for three years, and then in high school. It was huge for him to do that, and taking charges.”
- On what they got from Mitch McGary: “He gave us a big lift. … those were a couple of big plays he made, whether it was a tap-in, or a little jumpshot. I mean, huge plays for us.”
- On how Burke has grown as a leader: “I continue to see it every day. There were some times today when he should have just shot the ball in, but he knew the point was to get into the paint, drive the ball at them. … What was he doing? He was following exactly what the coaches wanted to do. He’s becoming a better extension of the coaching staff every day.”