John Beilein, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass were on the podium after Michigan’s loss to Ohio. Here’s the complete transcript of what all three had to say.
COACH BEILEIN: We obviously have a very disappointed locker room right now, but Ohio University, as you can see, is a very good team and they played a great game. They played a great game. And we forced us into really some turnovers that really got us down, and we had to make some shots that we normally do make. I’m not talking about 3-point shots. It was — it was a tough loss for our guys, but it’s a difficult way to end the season, but we did not lose to a team that wasn’t worthy of this win today, they’re a good team.
Q. Zack or Stu, do you think this was a particularly tough first round draw to get Ohio?
ZACK NOVAK: Definitely. I think we knew that the opponent we had in front of us was very good. You know, they had — I just know personally Walter, Big Ten transfer. The Cooper kid is very good. They had talent and we just — we knew it was a tough team. We just got executed a little bit today.
Q. Zack and Stu, how tough was it to struggle today knowing your career was on the line? Stu?
ZACK NOVAK: A joy.
STU DOUGLASS: Very tough. I really don’t even know how to answer that. It’s going to be hard to swallow. Something that’s going to motivate me all summer. I’ll put it that way.
Q. You guys, the two of you sort of seem to be the best defensive players on the team. What were they doing offensively that they were a step ahead of you? It seemed they were most of the night.
STU DOUGLASS: With a guy like Cooper, you got to be prepared for the ball in his hands. Their ball movement kind of gets, you know, underrated a little bit because they run so much stuff for Cooper, and I think Kellogg locate got a lot of open 3’s. Very good at swinging the ball, finding the open man. Our rotations weren’t fantastic the entire game. You know, Cooper is a slippery guy. You try and corral him into a double team or make him pass it. He’s a very good ball handler and quick. He’s not the easiest guy to try to force turnovers. I think in the second half, tried to force him to his right hand and caused a couple turnovers in the second half. They really didn’t go back to the right side ball space. Caught it in the middle and gave them space. They did a good job executing stuff.
Q. Stu, does this first round loss sting more than, say, the second round loss last year or your freshman year?
STU DOUGLASS: From an emotional standpoint, yes and being a senior, yes, but, I mean, I haven’t cried over a basketball game since I got knocked out in high school. So that kind of paints the picture for you.
Q. How tough is it for you that this year’s seniors’ careers ended the way it did?
COACH BEILEIN: It’s difficult, because they’ve been the heart and soul of this team for four years through so many good times and certainly some low roads at times, but you hate to see that — this happen when they end like that, but frankly, most teams do end with a loss, whether it’s first round or the fourth round. We thought we could play for awhile. We knew we were going to have to play a really good game today. We didn’t play as well as we had played earlier in the year.
Q. Just talk about the Trey’s two shots at the top of the key at the end. Is that what you wanted and did you think about going for two?
COACH BEILEIN: We were really emphasizing, this doesn’t have to be a 3-point game right now. We can get 2’s and Trey was in isolation. You’ve seen him make that. He’s really our highest percentage 3-point shooter in that situation. He made a couple to get back there. They really switched all our screens so we couldn’t get any kick and pop, and it was either penetration and kick or choose to do those, because I don’t think you can’t make a wrong decision there based on — he wasn’t a 20 percent shooter shooting that shot. Could we have gotten more open ones? Well, time would have told, but those were choices he made and we live with them.
Q. Coach, Ohio had a lot of success with its guards most of the season in conference tournaments. Little surprised at the post play today?
COACH BEILEIN: We do a lot of different things in the post that we end up played one-on-one today. We thought we could handle them one-on-one and not give Cooper space by doubling down. The Achille’s there. Hadn’t thrown out of the post all year long and he ended up throwing out when we did double team one time on him. They played very well inside. Cooper makes a lot of that go now. He’s as good a guard as we played against this year. He’s tremendous. So he puts pressure on others to get help and then — or not give help and play one-on-one in the post. Got a really good team.