Michigan head coach John Beilein spoke with the media after his team’s 75-63 win at Indiana on Feb. 12. It was just Michigan’s second win at Assembly Hall in its past 18 tries, and the first since 2009.
“Obviously, really big win for our guys today. Can’t say enough about how they came and played with so much enthusiasm and so much conviction to win this game. This is a hard place for every team that’s every played in the Big Ten to win at. And it’s so good for us to be able to come out here and get a lead, keep a lead … they didn’t make any significant charges other than Blackmon hits a three, gets it to six in the second half, and then Duncan answered right back with DJ with the assist. Huge play of the game.
“And then Derrick Walton is just controlling the games. He’s doing a great job of reading what’s going on. (Xavier Simpson) gave us a great lift so that Muhammad could get his rest and go in and try to lock down Blackmon. Our kids are really enthused about the win. We get a day’s rest and then we go into a cluster of four games in ten days that we’ve gotta play just as well as we did today.”
On first road win:
“It’s not that difficult, really. Because you play at UCLA, you play at South Carolina, nobody wins there either. We played at Wisconsin, we played at Michigan State, nobody’s winning there either. So there’s four of the six. … That’s how you explain it. They’re really good teams. We’re a really good team. But it’s hard to beat a team that’s better than you on the road.
“You’d like to get the win so we can all stop talking about it. But in reality, we’re not talking about it if we throw in one at Iowa. We’re talking about one play here or there. But it was big for us to be able to get these wins, against Indiana and against Michigan State. Those have been the bluebloods in the league for the last five or six years. Whether it was Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana. … Those are the teams the last four or five years that have been up in the standings. Now with six games left, it may be as difficult if not more difficult than what we just went through. So just game to game, don’t worry about road record, don’t worry about anything … just seize the day and make each day better than you were the day before.”
On DJ Wilson’s progression:
“He still does some things that I scratch my head at sometimes, like turn down a three and go in — could’ve dunked it but went with his left hand. Watching him grow right now … here’s the thing that’s really good about him. When he’s critiqued, when we try to coach him up, he’s so receptive. Some things he’s doing now that he wasn’t doing at the beginning of the year. He asked, ‘Coach, was I doing that against SMU?’ and I said, ‘No, you weren’t.’ These are just habits that we just get. So he’s really been a pleasure to coach. … Since his injury — little tweak to his ankle — he hadn’t felt the same. He said he felt great, but he didn’t look the same. He looked better today.”
On defending Indiana:
“We were able to guard them at the three-point line. They are really, really good if you let them go in at the three-point line. We did a great job of doing that, trying to minimize Bryant’s ability. He’s a really, really excellent player. … To try to minimize what they could do and take away the three, that’s hard when they’ve got both the inside game and the outside game. Our kids did a great job. I told them, big point in the game — end of first half and start of the second half. We couldn’t score, but they only scored two points in I don’t know how many possessions, it seemed like there was six minutes … nobody could score, and that was good. Because our defense is getting better. It had to get better. It was really bad.”
On defensive progression:
“I think we are now, without a question. They realize it and Derrick won’t let it stop. It’s really interesting going into a huddle when I hear Moritz, or I hear DJ or Zak instructing other players about what we have to do on defense. It’s really healthy for us.”
On Zak Irvin’s slump:
“… He’s just one or two shots away from changing this thing. We got to continue to look at the big data, the big body of work with him. So when you watch him shoot drills, you know nothing is broken. But he’s just got to continue to go. It could be like in baseball, this bloop single to right fild that gets him off the slide. Something’s gonna happen good for him and it’s really going to help our team.”
“We need it. For Zak to say, ‘How can I help the team?’ When the game comes, don’t press. … Today he did on defense — great job on Robert Johnson. That’s what we need from him right now. Rebound, talk, use your experience that way, and let the other stuff come forward.”
“Freshman or sophomore, this would be much more difficult. In fact, it was. Now he understands there’s another part of it, and he’s got to embrace it. We had been down here three times and he had never won and he’s an Indiana game, and it was big for him. I was glad he could get that.”
On attacking with the lead/patience/dribble penetration:
“Especially with X in there and some others, we just really tried to attack with the lead. But maybe get a little bit of a rest as well, start running our stuff and trying to get two feet in the paint without throwing it into the paint.”