IOWA CITY — After a back-and-forth game that resulted in an 82-71 loss to No. 16 Iowa, the Michigan basketball team ended a three-game stretch in which every game was against a top-25 team. Michigan coach John Beilein discussed the loss, improving as a team, and the state of the Wolverines moving forward.
“I’ve been in the Big Ten a few years now. Not as many as some but more than others, and Iowa’s got a really good basketball team. They’ve got some things a lot of teams would love to have. They’ve got four seniors, they’ve got a heck of a junior who has stayed the course — we didn’t worry about him when he was a freshman, now all of a sudden he’s Tim Hardaway III out there. He’s getting all kinds of good stuff and good looks and they’ve become a good team. But what’s really stepping up for them is their bench play, they have guys coming off the bench that can make plays as well.
“They were a better team than us tonight without question. We fought hard, but we hard three really bad spurts in the game … we just made mistakes. Thirteen turnovers for us is catastrophic, and some of them were forced, but some of them were unforced. … Those are things we can’t afford to do. Right or wrong with the refs, we’ve got to make it so it can’t happen.”
On team’s resiliency:
“We’re really happy with this from the standpoint that we didn’t go down. (When) you go down like this and this place is rocking — everybody’s trying to stay warm on this day, they come in here for a basketball game and they were good. They didn’t miss many shots, and in the second half they made tough twos to beat us. There were some easy shots they made, without question, but they also made some tough twos and tough threes. But we did show a lot more than we did in a couple other games.”
On Derrick Walton Jr.:
“I’m just realizing this right now, that last year he didn’t have what Spike had when LeVert went down, this ‘Alright, I’m going to run this team, this is my job for the time being.’ Now he’s doing it, and again, that 30-second shot clock is changing a lot of that where that (point guard) has got to think five seconds quicker, and I really like his growth rate now; running the team, making the shot, make the best decisions.”
On playing Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson at the same time:
“The length, we tried to get a bigger hand up on a few guys, and then they ended up going with five shooters out there. We’re just trying to find ways to get D.J. on the floor, Kam actually ahd a good week of practice but we couldn’t get everybody in there, but D.J. has too and we wanted to get him some exposure out there. I hope he can turn the corner … he’s a heck of a player.”
On what the loss means:
“You’ve got to put it all in perspective. We have short week this week with a game on Wednesday and Saturday. It’s a game you’d like to get, it’s a road game that’s really tough to get — not to many people can come in here and win. But at the same time, we’ve got to move on, we’re going to learn from this. … We’ve got to get ready for Minnesota in one day, it’s going to be hard. So we won’t be frustrated by this, we’re going to move on.”
On 3-game stretch:
“We certainly grew up at the Purdue game. We’re battling, we’re really battling. I just think sometimes we have a tape delay in some areas. Areas that some of our guys are getting better at, but still not fast enough to play against a team like this — it can work against a lesser team, but not a team like this. But it all deposits in our knowledge bank so we can get quicker with out thought process as opposed to just saying ‘Oh man, my bad, I missed it again.’ I think they’re starting to realize a little quicker, but it’s not quick enough.”
On defensive slip-ups:
“Transition defense is really hard when (they) have five shooters, and I think they got us a couple times where we had bad matchups. Mark Donnal is all of a sudden over on Jok, and that’s bad anyway, let alone if you’re running down the court trying to identify him. Other times our bigs got mismatched … We’re telling our guys, they all want to be 3-men right? Well you are who you can guard.
“These are all things we want to grow in, but it’s tough. It’s tough to do on the road against a good team.”