John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary took the podium at the United Center after Michigan’s Thursday afternoon win over the Nittany Lions. Read the post-game press conference in the following transcript.
JOHN BEILEIN: Really proud of this team. From the way they — we had a really disappointing loss on Saturday. Bouncing back is always a difficult thing to do. But then you get down 14-3, we could have pointed fingers at each other, we could have lost our composure. Within no time it was a tie game or we were ahead by one.
So really proud of the way they showed great composure to come back and then win the game going away.
Q. Mitch, Jordan [Morgan] struggled a little bit. Did you feel the urge that the team needed a spark to kind of get things going?
MITCH McGARY: Coming off the bench I wanted to provide a spark. We were down 14-3 and I know we needed to pick up the intensity on the defensive and offensive glass and I was able to score a few buckets.
Q. For any guys, how much motivation did you derive from the last time you played them and what happened?
TIM HARDAWAY JR.: It was a lot of motivation coming into this game. We knew what they did to us at Happy Valley and we really wanted to do a great job just going into the game, sticking to the game plan, and just playing Michigan basketball.
We knew we came off a loss against Indiana at home and once we got up with 12 minutes to go in the second half, we just reminded everybody that they can still come back, they can knock down threes, [Jermaine] Marshall’s a threat. Everyone’s a threat. So we wanted to make sure that we went out there and just played basketball.
Q. For Tim, you face a Wisconsin team that you guys had a very difficult loss at their place. What lessons did you learn from this game and are you eager to get a chance again, since you only played them once.
TIM HARDAWAY JR.: It was a tough loss. The second time that’s happened to me. And it’s tough just to go on a stretch like that and then come up short.
So we just have to make sure that we watch the film, see the things that we did wrong during the game, and just try not to make the same mistakes again. So we just got to go out there and just play ball, like I said, and just stick to the game plan.
Q. Trey, at the 10 and a half minute mark you were up 15, which is the same thing when you were ahead at Penn State. Couple of guys were coming out smiling, but I think that the mood of the team was still we got business. Was that what you saw as well?
TREY BURKE: Definitely. I think it’s important for us to go out there and have fun and at the end of the day I think that’s when we’re our best when we go out there on the court and are having fun.
It was obviously in the back of our head that we were up 15 points with 10 minutes left at Penn State and that they’re capable of coming back and winning the game. This is a team that’s playing for pride, a team that’s been through a lot this year. We just had to make sure we did what we needed to do to pull out the win.
Q. Trey, talk about how Mitch [McGary] kind of saved you guys a little bit there in the first half with everything falling apart. He was huge.
TREY BURKE: Definitely. That’s Mitch McGary. That’s how he is. He’s able to come off the bench and give us a spark. Once he comes off the bench and gets the crowd into it — he does that a lot. But that gives us energy. Him being a freshman, that goes a long way. That goes to show that, hey, he’s definitely going to be a future captain on this team and that he has the ability to bring the spark to this team, not only at the offensive end, but on the defensive end. I think he had six or seven rebounds within 10 minutes. And that just goes to show how much effort and intensity he plays with.
Q. Trey, you guys talked about the slow starts and again this is another one. Is that part of the trend or do you think the way you guys rebounded from it makes it not as important?
TREY BURKE: Well, I think that is just something that we’re still continuing to get better at. Just coming out with a lot of intensity. We came out and we had some really good looks that we missed and they executed off the good looks that we missed. But we just continue to give each other encouragement and confidence out there. Once we kind of relaxed and got through the first five, seven minutes, we just were able to come back as a team and we were able to stick it out.
Q. Tim, there was a stretch in the second half where you hit a couple of shots, [Jon] Horford hit a couple of shots, and at that game at Penn State that was the drought that opened up that come back. But tonight you guys really closed it out. What was the difference offensively that you guys were able to execute tonight?
TIM HARDAWAY JR.: Our point guards recognized that they were in zone and they did a great job of recognizing what defense they were in and just called our zone plays, called our man plays. And I was able to get inside the paint and move without the ball and just get open looks. And that really opens up, not only for myself, but when I get the ball, me being a good threat to shoot, but to pass as well. So our bigs did a great job of finishing down low and it just helped us get the game to open up.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. You may return to the locker room. Take questions for coach.
Q. With Jordan [Morgan] struggling early and Mitch [McGary] playing so big in the first half, Jon [Horford] played so big in the second half, do you consider changing that at all, given the last 48 minutes or whatever it’s been?
JOHN BEILEIN: We talk about the roster and rotation every day. We’ll probably do that again. But a change, I’m not going to say we’re going to do it or not going to do it. Sometimes a guy, if we do
make a change, maybe Jordan will play more relaxed coming off the bench and make some of those shots he missed. It will be up in the air, if I decide it’s up in the air. Right now it’s too soon to make that. I will watch some film and talk and see what — again, look at our matchups for the next game and decide what we’re going to do.
Q. You had a wink at Mitch [McGary] there. What kind of leadership and I guess an overall spark off the bench has he provided this year, especially tonight?
JOHN BEILEIN: I think it’s very similar to his game. It’s developing. He has got a lot of potential, as we all can see. And he’s trying to become more efficient with his game. He’s trying to become more efficient with his leadership, with his practices, with all the things that could take him to, make him a very, very talented player and, frankly, when his basketball career’s over, make him talented at anything he wants to do in life, because he’s so blessed.
So that’s what I’m winking to him about, because he’s got a load of potential in more ways than just basketball. As long as Brady Hoke stays away from him he’s got the potential to do anything. And Brady is messing with him right now. I’m just kidding.
Q. Coach, you sense any extra motivation with your team after what happened last time with Penn State?
JOHN BEILEIN: Let me say this about Penn State and Patrick Chambers and this thing. I’m watching this thing, there’s seven guys, they have been playing together — after they lost Tim Frazier — huge change in their game. And I’m telling you, if it was anybody, even Michigan, besides Michigan, in that game today, it probably would have been the same.
They are playing so well together. They got a great scheme. And this game concerned me greatly. At our place we couldn’t get away from them. So I think our kids were motivated and I think it’s probably the silver lining that if we had beat them twice, let’s say we make our foul shots, we don’t turn it over at their place, we would have looked past them.
That is going to be one heck of a team next year when Frazier is back with those guys. So that’s, I just, I think Pat’s done a wonderful job. They’re running things offensively that had us, our minds were just, like the last night, were very concerned about how we could stop them.
Q. Penn State shot 48 percent from the field. What was the reason for that and how do you prevent that?
JOHN BEILEIN: I think that they have two guys, [Jermaine] Marshall and [D.J.] Newbill, that can get about anywhere they want to get to on the court. I don’t care who is guarding them. They can get to there.
Now what happens is they end up attracting help or they get their own or people get rebounds or they get dropoffs. Those two guards are the second or the leading scoring guards in the league, between Tim [Hardawau Jr.] and Trey [Burke]. They’re two of the best guards in the league. And so that’s a pig part of that.
At the same time, they’re running some really good stuff that, if you blink — it’s like Northwestern, there’s different stuff, but off the ball screen, maybe I’m stupid, but we haven’t seen a lot of that action that they’re running right now.
Q. How good is the Big Ten right now and how dangerous will the conference be, in your estimation, come tournament time?
JOHN BEILEIN: As you can see, I think it says a lot that we’re playing the 5-12 game and people think so much of us, rank us so highly in the country. It’s tough for me, because you get so into your league. I love watching Illinois and Minnesota play. Those are some terrific basketball teams that have showed it off the court and showed it in other leagues.
So I think — I don’t know what our number is for bids in the past when we were the Big Ten or the Big Eleven or the Big Ten that’s got 12. This could be a year where you have eight or nine now. I think they’re worthy of it. I sincerely think they’re worthy of nine bids. Depending upon how this all plays out.
Q. You got up by nine in the first half, they made a run and it was a throw up ball game at halftime. You made another run in the second half. This time, no run. What was the difference in the two halves do you think? Did your team crank it up a little bit?
JOHN BEILEIN: We got more comfortable with the action that they’re running. After you see it over and over again — and we’re growing in so many areas, every game. And sometimes it’s game to game, timeout to timeout, and sometimes it’s half to half.
And as our team looks at this, as they continue to grow as a team, they’re recognition is quicker and they recognize it quicker and are able to defend it. So I think defense was key and then our bench was key. It was big. For Jon [Horford] to come off the bench and what Mitch [McGary] gave us was huge.
Q. Wisconsin tomorrow, obviously a team that you guys are familiar with. What do you expect from that game?
JOHN BEILEIN: One thing that you can expect is the same old winning, don’t beat yourself, style that we have seen
over and over again. We’re the victim of two buzzer beaters against them as well as about 10 of shot clock time over the six years I’ve been coaching against them.
They’re not going to beat themselves. They’re going to have big guys. You’re not going to get too many offensive rebounds. They’re going to stay very tight with their formation.
We’re going to have to make shots. We’re going to have to make tough shots.
On the other hand, we’re going to have to be very patient on defense. They’re not going to turn it over. Be very patient with our defense and solid with our defense. Make them score over us, without giving them second opportunities. Same speech I’ve given any time. A really well coached, really good team.
Q. How good are Penn State’s guards going to be next year?
JOHN BEILEIN: I was talking about Tim Frazier before the game. And I told him, when Tim is in there, [D.J.] Newbill — the good thing with Newbill right now is he’s learned to play with the ball and to be a point guard.
So you put Frazier, Newbill, and then [Jermaine] Marshall in that back court, that will be as good as anybody. I don’t know if Sasa [Borovnjak] has another year, but if he has and comes back for another year — I think he might have one — but if he does, Sasa is a really underrated player. And [Ross] Travis is really, I love the way Travis plays. There’s a whole bunch of coaches that would love to have Travis as well. He’s a really good player.
So this should be, this past two years, what Pat’s [Chambers] gone through has been difficult, but he’s got the makings of a really good team.