John Beilein met with media Saturday afternoon following Michigan’s loss to SMU, part of its longest winless streak since January 2011. The coach discussed breaking out of shooting slumps, Mark Donnal’s big game and more.
Watch the full press conference in the embedded media player above and hit the jump for select quotes.
Opening statement: “Part of my angst would be the 14 turnovers. We had 12 from our veterans. Let’s credit SMU for a little bit, too: for speeding us up, just making us play. We made some really tough decisions in the game, whether some early shot selections, early execution. Start of the second half was really a telltale sign in this game. I was so proud of our team when we fought back, take a three-point lead. At that point, I thought, ‘All right, we’re making strides now. We can play with a lot of people. We can pull this one out. But obviously we didn’t have enough.”
On taking 36 three-pointers: “I thought when it really got opened up, we have to, especially if we’re open. We had to do that. You look at the game with five or six minutes to go, it was four-five [point game]. … There are some threes that you have to take when they’re packing the paint. And there’s some others ones where we have to finish around the rim.”
“We’re not a three-point shooting team, we’re not a throw-it-inside team, we’re not a drive team. We’re whatever the defense is going to give us.”
On breaking out of a shooting slump: “It is difficult. We’re not a three-point shooting team, we’re not a throw-it-inside team, we’re not a drive team. We’re whatever the defense is going to give us. Today, they gave us a good combination of that. On most days, and in most seasons here, we very rarely have a shooting day like today. That’s obviously part of it, but we also had good opportunities at the rim.”
On injured point guards limiting the team: “Well, it is. They’re two very bright players. They give us energy. They give us high IQ. They’re really good players. But they won’t say the injuries are just plaguing them a bit right now. They’re not going to say they make a difference, so I’m not either.”
On Caris LeVert not finishing drives into the paint: “His body is, at 200 pounds, going against some big guys in there as well. Sometimes if he doesn’t feel he has leverage, he’s going to kick it back out. There’s times he’s got to finish either through contact or around contact. He’s OK. He’s playing a lot of minutes. He’s a guy that, in practice, does not take turns off. We’ve got to take a look at that maybe. Practices are so hard, he competes so hard — how can we get him a little bit more rest? It’s obvious we need him on the court in games.”
On Mark Donnal off the bench: “I don’t know what the magic is. When you take a guy and take him out of the starting lineup, he comes back and he comes off the bench much more relaxed. So that’s a part of the reason that you make that change. The starters sometimes, maybe they’re feeling too much.”
On enhancing confidence: “I think there’s small victories tonight just in what Mark Donnal did. And that’s not only for him — that’s for the others to grow in their confidence for him. But that’s what we need right now: We need to get a win and grow from that as well. But we’ll grow a lot from this loss. It is tough. … There’s been time we didn’t lose the fourth game until the middle of February.”