Michigan coach John Beilein met with media to discuss the Wolverines’ 72-70 loss to NJIT. The coach said he doesn’t believe Michigan overlooked the Highlanders and said “we can’t play better defense” against some of NJIT’s late three-pointers that helped secure the upset.
Opening statement: “No. 5 [Damon Lynn] was just sensational. We really don’t have a defense for those stepback jump shots he hit over people. Those nine points — those three straight — were the difference in the game. Caris LeVert was terrific. Some of the rest of our guys were mentally tired, but Caris was terrific. New Jersey deserved to win today. It was the better team today, and we’re going to grow from it. Over the time that I’ve been here, there’s moments in the season that make you a lot better. My hope is this will be one of them.”
On defensive intensity: “No, they made tough shots. They really made tough shots. They shot 58%. Now, some of them we gave them some layups as well, and we didn’t get to some people in that first half. We gave us a great advantage by turning the ball over a lot. We didn’t take advantage of it, and then they stopped turning the ball over.”
“I’ll have to watch the tape, but we certainly have to do a better defensively than we did. Not the three-point shot, those last three. We can’t play better defense. But their penetration to the basket was not good.”
On NJIT’s big shots: “I thought we were due to get a couple of stops, and obviously we got the last one down one with 10 seconds to go, but didn’t get the rebound. It knocked off a bunch of people. I thought we were going to to get one of those stops.”
On what can be learned: “We didn’t guard the ball screen very well. They’ve got some guys that can really hoop. They’re going to get baskets if you give them any type of space. And they got so many of those today, not just the three-pointers but the two-pointers that they got. Now, 58%. I can count on one hand the number of people that shot 58% against us.”
On team depth: “Maybe it’s my fault. I’ve got to put them in the game to find out. We haven’t seen it in practice, the type of efficiency that would lend to game play yet in a couple of areas. We have to keep working in practice. When I see it in practice, get in there. But it is a thing, we have to develop this bench right now.
On Caris LeVert’s performance: “It was really good. He did so many things out there, and I mean, big shots. … I love his growth right now. We just have to — all our other guys that have had the experience certainly didn’t have as good a night as he did. But he was sensational. If you like watching great one-on-one players between Caris and Lynn, that was quite a show.
On national response to the upset: “This is something that is humbling. We have to grow through it, through that humility.”
On Zak Irvin’s off shooting night: “That’s a big question we have to continue to work at. We have to make sure he remains positive when he’s not shooting the ball as well as he can.”
“He’s certainly a better player than some of the misfortune he had today.”
On Kameron Chatman: “For him to go out and guard quick guards on the perimeter is still the thing that he’s working at. … Offensively, just looking at his efficiency, he’s got to continue to improve in that area, and there’s counters that he has that are probably good. But they’re not working as well at this level, so he’s got to continue to work at his game.”
“He’s probably, in the last couple of weeks, made the biggest growth of a lot of the guys. Maybe if it wasn’t apparent tonight, it has been apparent in practice.”
On intensity early on: “I didn’t sense like we looked past the team at all. I didn’t sense that. I think we had a bad night, and we let it bother us.”