John Beilein was on hand to talk with the media after Michigan’s 80-67 victory over Penn State at the Crisler Center on Tuesday. The win places the Wolverines at 4-0 in the Big Ten before a tough three-game stretch against Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State. The coach talked about that tough stretch coming up, as well as closing out the game against the Nittany Lions 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: “I’m really pleased with the way we defended in the last seven or eight minutes. We were able to switch the matchup and put Glenn (Robinson III) on (DJ) Newbill and he did a wonderful job on him. Jon Horford got rebounds, we played as a defensive unit, we shrunk the gaps and that got us into transition, got us easy baskets. I’m proud of our guys — six turnovers, all those assists on all those baskets. We only took 50-some shots and scored 80 points. That’s an efficient offense. We’ll continue to work on the defensive field goal percentage, points per possession. In the meantime we have to keep being able to score, and I was happy with that today.”
- On Nik Stauskas picking his spots: “We got them into the bonus very early. Nik has been a really good driver — he finds his people and he finds Jon as well, he finds Jordan (Morgan). He’s got that rare combination that (not that many) people have, where he can really shoot it — it’s not just that he can shoot it, he can really shoot it — so now you can drive and you can pass. If you look at his assist numbers right now, after a 5-0 day, he’s showing he can really play the guard position. Because of his height, because of his shooting, because of his feel. His improvement has been good for us.”
- On Derrick Walton going to the basket: “I think that everybody plays us differently, but he’s jet quick and we want him to get there (in the lane). When they got it back down to two, he got a huge basket for us in a shot clock situation. He’s shooting it well. … He can get in there. Now, finding people is what he’s getting better and better at.”
- On the point guard position becoming dangerous again in the offense: “I think both Caris (LeVert) and Derrick can give us some more. It’s tough to dial up more than two guys. It’s really difficult to do. So we run a lot of action with Glenn and Nik, and they have residual effects there. To have Derrick be able to do that, and Caris can do that as well. His five assists and one turnover today was very helpful. … He got them by getting in the lane and finding people.”
- On production from Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan: “They put pressure on the rim. The guy underneath — we call him the gutter — he’s in that gutter and he’s looking for a step across, he’s looking for anything. Obviously Jon hit a big shot today that he works on like crazy. What did we have, 17 points and nine rebounds out of them today? If we can keep getting those numbers, that’s really good for that position.”
- On the last 7-8 minutes defensively: “I thought Nik got really tired when they were making that run when he was matched up on Newbill. He was just taking them. I told you, Philly guys can get buckets.When Glenn got on him and we got in some gaps, it was much more difficult. In the first half, they ran a lot of screen-and-roll, a lot of action, and we guarded it pretty well. In the second half, they just spread the floor and did what so many people are doing, which is everybody just driving at you. They’re not going to call the charges like they used to, you’re going to get to the foul line, or you’re going to bail out. That was really effective for a while, but it wasn’t effective in the last five minutes.”
- On what makes Wisconsin so difficult to play: “They don’t beat themselves. They make foul shots, they don’t turn the ball over. They have a great post up game with everybody. I don’t care if it’s (Josh) Gasser, I don’t care if it’s (Ben) Brust, they’re going to post up everybody. You don’t see that very much. In the few days you have to prep, you don’t work the whole season in prep to get ready for a team that you only see once a year.”