On Friday, John Beilein said he hoped Michigan would “hang in there” against Wisconsin to hopefully have a chance to win late.
The coach got what he wanted: The Wolverines forced overtime on a three-pointer by Derrick Walton. But the Badgers scored the first six points of the extra period and won, 69-64.
Here’s what Beilein had to say after the loss.
Opening Statement: “People walk away and say, ‘Hey, it was still a well-played game.’ While I would like to have about 10 to 20 possessions back, both on offense and on defense, to re-teach some things and have some breaks go our way and see if they went our way, I’m really proud of the way our kids competed. We’re learning about competing, and we’re going to get better at it. It’s still not where it’s going to be, but a very positive step in that direction today.”
On overcoming deficits: “I don’t think we’re at a stage — unless we’re on fire with every shot and balls are going in that we don’t expect to go in — we’re going to have to come from behind and just stay solid. The big issue today was offensive rebounds. They only got nine, and it seems like all nine were just huge.”
On Derrick Walton stepping up: “The biggest thing, especially against Wisconsin, is embracing the physicality of the game. Many of our younger players will … you get to that line and you stop, you pull up. And we say, drive through the bump. Get to the second bump. And he did that a couple times today, which was a huge step for him.”
On falling behind in overtime: “[Momentum] changed very quickly. We were playing in zone — we put the zone in a couple weeks ago. We made a huge mistake in the zone for him to get the first three-point play. And then on the second one, they sent the ball back. … We made some errors that we can correct.”
On performances by centers: “We had some follow-up baskets. Max continues to be a warrior out there with the limited minutes he does get. Ricky had a great second half, didn’t feel him in the first half. That’s the way it’s going to be collectively. They’re going to have to give us as much as they can. They handled the load today.”
On gaining confidence from close loss: “None of us should be happy. The pats in the back about ‘good game,’ I absolutely hate after a loss. I want them to have that mentality. At the same time, when we go over some of the things we need to fix tomorrow, we’ll also be showing what’s been fixed and what is making us better.”
On performances from freshmen: “I like that we’re proceeding in the right direction, but my makeup is such, somehow, we have to get there quicker. We have to get there quicker.”
On Zak Irvin at the rim: “His game right now is evolving right in front of your eyes. It’s going to be, you’re going to have to take the thick with the thin right now. … His balance is not great at the rim. Long strides, and he’s off-balance. He’s weak at the rim because he’s jumping off one foot when he should be jumping off two.”
On Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s big shots: “I like the strides that he’s making right now. You’ll probably see him more in the future. I don’t think Spike has rebounded yet from his sickness. He certainly wasn’t himself today.”