RALEIGH, N.C. – John Beilein met with the media after Michigan’s 66-59 win at North Carolina State on Tuesday afternoon. The victory moved Michigan to 5-2 on the season and gave the Wolverines a critical Big Ten-ACC Challenge victory.
Opening statement: “I was really proud of our defense today. They haven’t been shooting a high percentage as it is but the fact that in the first half – which was really where we could get away from them a little bit and was the second half difference – they only got three offensive rebounds, we really contested really well, Barber got into foul trouble. Our defense is getting better little by little. And we’re starting to learn a lot of things. I was proud about that. And when we have Derrick Walton go down, Muhammad-Ali did a great job staying with Barber – he’s quick too. Keeping him from getting the ball in spaces he likes it and playing out of that. He was certainly an outlier today because Derrick’s been playing so well. Really good win especially in the challenge, and to win on the road anytime, especially against a good team like North Carolina State.”
The latest on Derrick Walton’s injury: “He’s got a slight sprain. I don’t know how long [it will take to heal]. There is a slight sprain there, so we’ll have to know more, probably before Saturday. We have a game Saturday against Houston Baptist. … I don’t know if he came out and sat [in the second half]. We started therapy right away on it. The plane ride, all these things, the elevation, you have to be careful. So, the way I understand it, the sooner the better. … It looks like it’s not going to a long-range thing. That’s the hope.”
On responding to NC State’s second half run: “When they made that run – there’s been very few road games I’ve had in all these games where the home team does not make a push in the second half. And I probably talk about it a little too much to make sure we’re ready for it, but when they pushed hard, we didn’t make some really good plays a couple times, but we needed someone to step up. Like, Duncan Robinson, that was probably the only bad shot Duncan took, in the right corner. That was one of those, ‘no, no, no – that’s my guy!’ It was great. And then Zak [Irvin] had a big one too. … Caris will have a tendency sometimes to try to do it all, and sometimes they’ll load up so much but he found the right people a couple times.”
On learning how to win on the road: “The best way to do it is right now, just to experience what they did. If my teams have had any success on the road, [it’s because] we don’t turn the ball over a lot. You saw, when we turned it over – we had Zak, Ricky [Doyle] and Moe [Wagner] with turnovers in a 5-minute span – how it goes.”
On finding an identity: “I don’t know about identity, but I’m starting to learn more about the buttons to push defensively and offensively – what they can handle right now. Some guys can’t handle some things on certain ends of the floor – going to their right, going to their left – Zak had a big guy on him and he shot a step-back three when they were in the double bonus. These types of things. I’m starting to understand what we need to work on rather than identity, but I also know what we’re pretty good at.”