John Beilein was available to speak with the media during his post-game press conference following Michigan’s 74-51 victory over Northwestern. The coach talked about his team’s defense in the second half, the production of Nik Stauskas and much more. You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below or read notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “Really feel good about this. Really feel appreciative of all the fans who came out without the students with the storm approaching, and it felt like a regular home game. It was really good. I don’t know how Northwestern will finish because we won’t play them again, but they have played some people really tough all year long and we were really fortunate to get away in the second half and get away from them. Hopefully I don’t see Drew Crawford again. For four or five years he’s been a really good player and tough to defend. I love that our big guys were able to get 18 points and 16 rebounds between the three of them today. We’re finding ways to make up for the injury to Mitch, and they did a heck of a job today.”
- On Nik Stauskas: “This was my message to the team after the game: every game, we have to go into it prepared for any game plan people are going to give us. (The Wildcats) weren’t no-catch today, but they were containing today. It’s a different type of defense. Synergy had them as one of the better pick-and-roll defense in the country. So we had to make some adjustments in the angles and different things like that. It’s a puzzle. This game continues to change, and Nik is learning to change with it. He made some glaring mistakes today and then he adjusted down the stretch.”
- On the production of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford: “Those guys, if they have a hot hand, they’re still not going to be in there very long. The energy they have to expend with their big bodies is going to be four or five minutes and then the other guy’s coming in. We might put him back in again, but if the other guy makes plays, we’re leaving him in there. Jon was having trouble finding some smooth air for a while, so we just left him there with a cushion, we left him in there to play through it and he ended up getting a basket at the end.”
- On the slow start on offense: “As we change in each game, they change in each game. We missed some shots, we had six turnovers in the first half. For some teams that may be good, for us we can’t be giving the ball back like that. The three (turnovers) in the second half was huge. But our defense has been such a point of emphasis, playing primarily man-to-man and people are starting to understand how to guard their individual guy. In the second half, Glenn (Robinson III) was on Drew Crawford a lot. We switched some screens, but Glenn did a great job on him.”
- On Derrick Walton’s play over the past few games: “His turnover numbers were pretty normal, actually. Two a game for a point guard is very normal going into the games. What I really like is he’s creating more for himself and doing it efficiently. Sometimes, you can’t mistake activity for achievement. He was doing some things before that weren’t conducive to finding open men. At the same time, he’s picking his spots so he can score. He and Zak Irvin, the game is slowing down for both of them as we go into the second semester.”
- On Robinson’s ankle: “It didn’t look like (it hurt) today, although I think it helped that he hadn’t practiced in a couple days. He was probably landing gingerly on it at times. I think if he could go up and land, but I think he was just a little bit off. He’ll be in rehab now for the rest of the year though. Once you sprain one, you’re in there for a long time. Both in weight training and ankle exercises in the training room.”
- On playing Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht at the same time: “You’re going to see that a lot when it’s late in the game and you feel that pressure is coming and I was sort of preparing for that. And getting them both in at the same time. We lose some size obviously. They’re both six-footers and with some of our switching patterns, they could be matched up with Drew Crawford at times. So our length changes. But having ball possession and running our offense with speed, they’re both really good at it.”