WEST LAFAYETTE — John Beilein, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson were on the podium after Michigan’s 17-point loss at Purdue. Abdur-Rahkman discussed his career high while Beilein discussed what it was like to face Purdue’s talented front court.
“They’re a good team, you can see that. Their defense is terrific, but defensively we could not (match). I was so proud of the way our guys played defense. We were all over the place, we had the right “quick man” is what we call it when you can get to shooters, get the ball off somebody — we made it tough for them. The second half we just were not as good defensively. Post defense is something you try and work at, then you play the best in the country at post offense, and it’s an eye-opener. So that didn’t help us, it didn’t help us that A.J. Hammons was terrific defensively, he changed a lot for them — his seven blocked shots can be game-changers.
“When you’ve got a six point game with six minutes to go, it could have gone either way. But at the same time it’s just tough to score against them and tough to stop them.”
“I don’t know if (Purdue) knew Caris wasn’t going to play, I think they probably suspected it, but their best two defenders, they load up on (opposing guards) and they pay a lot of attention to them, and that’s really the first time (Irvin and Walton) have had that type of attention. So it’s good for them. They can learn a lot from it, they can learn from the things we work on in practice and they’ll get better. It’s not good to lose, but it’s great a teaching tool for them.
“There’s going to be good games and there’s going to be bad games. This wasn’t a good one, but they’ll bounce back.”
On preparing for Purdue’s length and A.J. Hammons:
“We had the old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sticks out all week. Hitting the ball all week. It’s not broom handles, some guy’s making money off that thing, and we’re batting the hell out of it. And you can’t play against them like that, you can’t just float it up there, but in the game we just did it. (Hammons) just affects the game. It’s very rare that you see that right now — a great shot-blocker like he is … it really deflates you.”
On D.J. Wilson’s presence:
“He had a great two days of practice. That’s the way it’s going to be with the big guys — whoever practices the best in practice is going to be the first guy off the bench, and he had a great two days.”
On hanging tough with Purdue for most of the game:
“They’re a little deeper than we are right now given our roster situation. They’re a little bit more veteran in some areas, and they’re just better defensively than us, there’s no question about that. So we were getting tough baskets, they were getting easy baskets … Pretty soon, they’re going to start pulling away at that rate.
On Muhhamad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s play:
“He’s got what I call an East Coast type of thing where he can get buckets in the wind, in the rain, outdoors, indoors, crooked rims, everything. He just can find ways to score, and he did that today. … It’s really a positive sign for us to get that type of game out of him.”
On other positives:
“I liked the way we competed. For the first 34 minutes, I think we really competed against a really good team. I mean that team’s terrific — throw that Iowa game away … We’re playing high level teams here. So I like that we competed, that we didn’t back down, they didn’t bully us around.”