Transcript: Beilein, Michigan players recap Wofford win

Dustin Johnston

John Beilein, Jordan Morgan, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas were on the podium after Michigan’s 57-40 win over Wofford on Thursday night. Read the full press conference transcript below.

COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  Congratulate Wofford on a wonderful year.  I’ve been on that side of it, winning — going through your whole season and winning a conference championship is the experience I’ll never forget.  Even I was at places like Canisius and Richmond in the CAA.  Hats off to them.  I was a coach that was today very concerned about how well they would guard us, and they did, and very concerned about the three-point shooting.  And they guarded us well.  They held us to 57 points, but we did a terrific job on guarding Cochran, Garcia, all their three-point weapons.  Jordan Morgan did a great job in the post.  We were able to get a win basically with our defense today.  And that’s something that a lot of people wouldn’t say as they watched us play this year, but these guys made a commitment to it today and it paid off.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.  Questions for the student-athletes, please.

Q.  Nik, just wondering how it was to get out there this year after having played so much and got out there last year?  Was there a little different feeling with all the experience you had?
NIK STAUSKAS:  No, not really.  Anytime you get to this time of year, you’re in the tournament, it’s just all exciting.  So it was the same feeling this year as it was last year.  And, you know, my teammates did a great job of coming out today ready to play, and, like I said, just really excited.

Q.  For Jordan, why do you think they whittled the lead down from 18 to seven and then when you heard the crowd getting into it, too, any nerves?
JORDAN MORGAN:  No.  We had a few open looks that we normally look.  Caris and Nik had some good shots that we normally make.  We knew they weren’t going to go away.  They kept playing good defense and they were excited to play, so they made some good shots, too.

Q.  What was the seven-point burst to make it 50 to 37 and how would you describe your team shooting up to that point?
JORDAN MORGAN:  I’m not sure, what burst?

Q.  When he made it 50 to 37 late in the second half. 
JORDAN MORGAN:  I think we just kept sticking to go our principles, and the same shots that we had early in the second half didn’t necessarily fall, they fell for us.  Caris had hit a three.  Nik hit a one.  We just kept playing good defense.  I think we played good defense all game long, made them make tough shots and sticking with that, eventually went in our favor.

Q.  You came out aggressive in the first half.  Was that something were you looking to do going into this game, Glenn?
GLENN ROBINSON III:  Yes, sir.  I just wanted to get myself going by attacking the rim, trying to get an easy layup, but they were playing off me, so I felt confident enough in my shot.  Coach been staying with me after practice, getting up some shots.  All my teammates have confidence in me and they set me up in good positions.

Q.  Glenn, you spoke a bit yesterday about your father’s career here and how much were you looking forward the playing in this building where he starred.  You played pretty well.  How much was that on your mind beforehand, and did it really feel as comfortable as it looked?
GLENN ROBINSON III:  You know, I actually didn’t think too much about it.  I knew that he played here.  You know, I seen him before the game.  He was out on the court.  But I just wanted to go out and play my basketball like any other time he’s at the games, just play for this team.

Q.  Question for all three of you.  Now that you’ve made a Final Four run, you’re a No. 2 seed, do you feel there’s a target on your back this season?
JORDAN MORGAN:  I mean, I think that’s kind of been like all year long.  People get up to play Michigan and, you know, I think that just comes with the territory.  It’s not something new to us at this point.  At this point in the year, it’s something that we’ve been dealing with pretty much all year long.
THE MODERATOR:  Glenn and Nik on that as well, please.
GLENN ROBINSON III:  Like Jordan said, I feel like we’ve had a target on our backs ever since we got to the National Championship game last year.  Whoever we play, especially being the No. 2 seed, everybody is going to come out the attack us.  We have to be on our A game at all times because this might be our last game.  We want to go out and prove to everyone and just keep this thing going.
NIK STAUSKAS:  Just piggybacking on what they said, people get up to play Michigan, you know, with the way Coach Beilein has built this program, people are excited to play us, and, you know, we just got to be up for every game, no matter who we’re playing, and I think we did a good job of that today.
THE MODERATOR:  Other questions for the student-athletes?

Q.  Sorry if this has already been asked, was there a special emphasis on defense going into this tournament, not just this game but into this tournament, and how you think you performed tonight?
JORDAN MORGAN:  Yeah, I think so.  We know we’re pretty efficient offensively and most times we don’t have very much trouble scoring the basketball from different people and different games.  So, we know we’re only going to go as far as our defense carries us, and we never know which game is really going to be our last.  So we just want to play every game defensively as best we can.

Q.  Nik on this one, the other guys can jump in, too, and hope I’m not putting you on the spot with the coach sitting there, but after today’s game, do you have any inkling what you guys might be working on tomorrow, the Coach will have you working on to get ready for Saturday?
NIK STAUSKAS:  At this point just really — it’s really going to depend on who we’re playing.  We got good trust in our coaches.  They do a really good job with all the scouting reports.  I’m sure they’re going to scout whoever we’re playing very well and we’ll prepare for that tomorrow.

Q.  Glenn, it looked like you came out fairly aggressive attacking the basket.  Was that a point of emphasis for you coming into the game?
GLENN ROBINSON III:  Yes, personally I wanted to get myself involved.  Like I said, I don’t think I played the best game I could.  I missed a lot of easy buckets and missed some shots, but, you know, stayed with it.  I don’t think overall we had the best offensive game ourselves, you know, but my teammates stayed confident in myself and I stayed confident in them.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for the student-athletes?  Glenn, Nik, Jordan, thank you.
Questions for Coach, please.

Q.  Coach, can you talk about the job they did defending your actions and did you kind of expect that a little bit?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  Yeah.  We watched them play in some tournament games, and they would select guys that they play off of.  They had really hard hedges that we knew we had to try to counter at different times, and they’re just a really good defensive team.  They’re not real tall, but they’re underneath you and they don’t let you get in front of them.  You can see that.
The thing that separates them from a lot of teams, including ours, everybody stands in there and takes charges and they’re a really good defensive team.

Q.  You’re a coach who obviously doesn’t like turnovers and sloppy play.  On the flip side, your defense was good.  What will you take out of this game more, the positive or the concerning things?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  Couple of the turnovers, they didn’t really create them.  We had some sloppy just plays.  I mean, we just threw the ball away a couple times.  And then Cochran got the two steals in the first half.  We had three charges would be in there.
So, that was — that call is still one that is difficult for everybody to understand, and those charges cost us turnovers as well.
So, we really told them that, we emphasized this week, we can’t talk about defense after a loss anymore.  It’s going to be your last game.  So, we got to make another commitment to make sure that you understand we’re going to have to do that, and that probably was our best defensive performance overall by everybody.

Q.  Of the year?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  It may be.  It’s tough to compare them, they’re four months apart, but you know, Cochran can score on anybody.  He’s averaged four 3s a game.  We were trying to think who guards him.  We put the freshman on him.  He’s a great defender, you know, off the ball and made Cochran take tough shots.

Q.  You had some guys quick on the trigger a little bit.  Were you okay with the shot selection for the most part?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  I definitely wanted Glenn to shoot in those situations.  As Mike said, you expect that when you look at just percentages of what they may do.  But they don’t see Glenn in practice every day.  And that’s what we want Glenn to shoot those when they leave him that open.  It’s the only way we want him to play.  And I was really happy with his with his first half.  That’s how we got out in front.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Coach?

Q.  Just wondering, Coach, if could you comment.  I know it’s kind of — you could do the whole season comparison, but for Nik Stauskas, can you say how he looks in his first game in the tournament this year as opposed to how he was last year?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  You know, he has a much different — he has a much different role on this team than he did last year.  So it’s a role that he’s created and we’ve created for him.  He’s playing sort of a residual role with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway last year.  Now he’s replaced them in those roles.  He’s going to have lot more opportunities.  He’s going to have a lot more playing time.
And I thought he really played well.  He hit some tough shots tonight.  That corner shot to start the second half, holy cow, that was a heck of a shot.  He missed a wide open one later on.  The young man is growing every day and seeing different action and getting better.

Q.  You talked about the charges a little bit.  What do you approach now going forward the way they were called today compared to how it’s been all year?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  I don’t want to get in trouble (laughter).  It’s a difficult call.  And, like I said, it’s a difficult call for the players, for the officials, for the coaches all to understand, and so we just continue to move forward and adapt.

Q.  Follow-up on last answer, would you say obviously a lot has to do with his confidence in Glenn?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN:  If the coach is saying, hey, listen, 25 shots graduated last year, we want you to take a lot of those 25 shots, we give him confidence and we expect him to shoot.  We expect him to score, but what Nik has really done this year, and he did it a couple times today, we weren’t able to hit the open one.  He hit several of our ones for wide open 3s because he was double-teamed.  That’s something that really helped him grow his game this year.
THE MODERATOR:  Anything else for Coach?  Thank you.  See you tomorrow.

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