Transcript: Beilein, players react to NIT Season Tip Off opener

Here’s a full transcript of John Beilein, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas addressing the media after Michigan’s narrow win over Pittsburgh. Watch video of the players’ comments or John Beilein’s remarks in our earlier posts.

Q.  Tim, can you take us through that run?  You seemed offensively to be able to take over.

TIM HARDAWAY:  I think it was a great job of our teammates finding us, doing a great job, with Trey Burke, all the other guards and forwards finding us on the perimeter.

I think it was looking at the defense, taking what they gave us.  They were collapsing here and there a little bit.  They did a great job of making the play, kicking the ball out.

Q.  Since you haven’t played in a week, you went through a lot of drills where you were doing up by whatever, down by whatever.  How much did that pay off?

TIM HARDAWAY:  I think in practice we do a drill called ‘back to back.’  It’s a two‑minute game that you’re down a certain amount of points.  You have to make correct passes, can’t make no mistakes.  Just do a great job of taking each possession, doing it the right way.  No turnovers, no bad fouls, just doing a great job of getting a great‑looking shot.

 

Q.  Tim, you kind of came out slow a little bit in the first half.  Better in the second half.  Talk about what changed.

TIM HARDAWAY:  Like I said before, our defensemen talent, getting defensive stops and running out.  Like I said, Trey Burke and guards of not only finding myself, but finding Nik Stauskas on the wing, just trying to do whatever to help the team out.

 

Q.  What shifted for you guys in the second half, Trey?

TREY BURKE:  We came out at halftime with a different attitude.  We came out, pretty much knew what we needed to fix, pretty much knew the adjustments we needed to make.

I think coach trusted three zone enough for us to go to it.  I think that’s what slowed them up a little bit.  On the offensive end, they started collapsing down on me.  Like Tim said, I was able to kick it out to him, kick it out to Nik and Glenn to get them some open shots.  So I think it was a matter of making a couple of adjustments in the first half, give them some looks on the defensive end.

 

Q.  Tim and Trey, how much did this team need to be pushed after a relatively easy first couple weeks?

TREY BURKE:  A lot, really.  The first couple games, they weren’t easy.  They weren’t Pitt talent‑wise.  With this team, we know we need to stay grounded, humble, stay together.  That’s what we did tonight.

I think playing against a good team like Pitt, they’re from a good conference, they’re playing Syracuse, Georgetown night in and night out.

I think it was as important for us to get physical with them down low and on the boards as possible.  I think that was the biggest thing for us.  That was it for us, the physicality of the game.

TIM HARDAWAY:  Like Trey said, just trying to stay humble.  Just try to play smart each possession.  Take each possession one at a time, listening to time outs.  Trusting the offense, trusting what the game plan is.

I think everybody is going to give us their best game because they know we’re ranked.  We have to be prepared and ready for any possibility they throw at us.

I think the D‑line does a great job of finding us to win.  We have to execute it and just trust it.

 

Q.  Tim, when you look five games in, where you’re ranked, a chance to win an NIT title, how significant is Friday’s game?

TIM HARDAWAY:  It’s big.  Kansas State is a great team.  They do a great job of getting offensive rebounds like Pitt.  They’re going to give us their best game, just like we’re going to do on Friday as well.

Preparation is key to try to get a win.

 

Q.  Tim, your dad never heard cheers like that in this building.  What was that like for you?

TIM HARDAWAY:  I heard some boos when my name was called.  I heard a little bit.

But it was good.  Just have an opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden on the court, it was a blessing.  We have to do a great job of keeping our composure, limiting distractions, prepare like we normally do like we’re at home.

 

Q.  Nik, you as freshmen haven’t been in a scenario like this.  What was that emotion like?

NIK STAUSKAS:  It was great.  I think we live for moments like this as basketball players, on a big stage, playing at the Garden against a good team like Pitt.  We did a good job of coming together, staying poised.

 

Q.  Does the size of it, the background, play any role into how you shoot or what goes on?

TIM HARDAWAY:  I think we had enough shots, a lot of reps in our preparation before the game today, Shoot‑around.  I don’t think it was the lighting or anything.

It was probably the jitters, just trying to get the feeling of the game, the court, trying to do a great job of just staying in the moment.

 

Q.  Trey, both you and Nik and Glenn were able to make important free throws down the stretch.  What can you say about being able to keep calm in those situations?

TREY BURKE:  We work on free throw a lot in practice.  We put ourselves in situations in practice where we’re up three with 30 seconds or we’re down one with 10 seconds.  The coaches do a good job of putting us in those scenarios day in and day out in practice.  When it comes to game time, we tell each other to shoot it with confidence, and I think that’s the biggest thing.

 

Q.  Nik, I don’t know the last time you came off the bench before this season.  Are you finally getting into a groove?

NIK STAUSKAS:  Yeah, whatever Coach Beilein needs me to do, I’ll do it.  I think I’ve done an okay job of coming off the bench and giving us a spark.

THE MODERATOR:  Coach will make an opening statement and then we’ll take questions.

COACH BEILEIN:  I think we all saw today that Pitt has a very good team, a veteran team.  Number zero is the only guy that hasn’t had significant minutes for them.

We sort of anticipated that type of defensive struggle.  They really guarded us well.  Really proud of the way we handled the comeback and got ahead, then made our foul shots down the stretch.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

 

Q.  Why the decision to go into the three zone?

COACH BEILEIN:  We were working on it to change things up.  We were having trouble with their pick‑and‑roll action.  It puts them in position to offensive rebound.  Usually you don’t rebound as well out of zones.  But certainly in the first half, if they did miss, they had a put‑back.

 

Q.  Was there any concern to go with it with such a young team?

COACH BEILEIN:  Absolutely.  And we’ve began practicing it a little bit ago.  We keep working on it.  There’s a lot of things to it.

I think it has some merit if you look at it in the future.  But with our length at the wings, the three, the two and the four spot, it has a chance to work.

 

Q.  Hardaway scored in a number of different ways to give you a convincing lead in the second half.  How much more complete a guard is he than a year ago?

COACH BEILEIN:  Without question, he’s worked so hard on just being more than just a shooter.

Now, the big thing in his freshman year is when we put him in the ball screen, that’s when we really took off that year.  He’s become much more comfortable in that.  As far as driving and finishing at the basket, he had a couple really big shots today against strong chests.  He still scored.  That’s something that the weight room has done and a whole lot of practice.

 

Q.  How nice is it to see, when you’re waiting to see somebody step up and take over the game, that you had Tim and Glenn do it?

COACH BEILEIN:  That’s big for Glenn.  He has been playing well.  He lets the game come to him.  We’d like him to be a little more assertive.  He didn’t make a couple shots, had a tough turnover.

It’s tough to read his body language.  He’s just playing.  He’s not as emotional as the other guys, but then he knocked down some really big shots for us.  He was huge.

 

Q.  You were 3‑17 from the three‑point range today.  Can you give me a reason why?

COACH BEILEIN:  Pitt guarded us well.  Nik made the first one.  We didn’t get many chances.  They guarded us well.  We got to knock those down because this is big‑man basketball.  We hadn’t had that type of good defense on us yet.

 

Q.  Lost in everything else that the other three guys did was what Jordan did.  He did a lot of little things for you.

COACH BEILEIN:  We talked so much about this the last couple days, how Pitt were winning games off the offensive rebound.  They always have been very good at that.  We challenged him, that he had to be more physical, he had to get in there.

His rebounding numbers going in, we had‑‑ our rebounding numbers as a team were high.  His were not.  Felt he had to be more assertive.  He was.  He really was.

 

Q.  Back to the zone.  You talked about the length.  Do you have so much more of it this year.  Does that overcome ‘they don’t know it yet’ kind of thing?

COACH BEILEIN:  Yeah, it does.  When we had Stu Douglass and Zach Novak out there at 6’4″ and 6’2″, that was hard to have them on the wings and make it effective, and they’re still learning.  But the length does make a big difference.

It was a thing you have to go to at certain sometimes just to change tempo.  We’ll continue to work on it and get better at it.

 

Q.  Do you need this kind of thing here tonight?

COACH BEILEIN:  Yeah.  We had a shaky last inbound there with 1.5, or nine seconds, I think.  We did just enough to win the game.  We’ll break that part up as much as we do the others.  A little sloppy, inefficient on some of the cuts.  We need to read the defense.  We got it in, made our foul shots.

 

Q.  Is that tape more constructive to you because?

COACH BEILEIN:  We won’t have a lot of time to watch it.  We do have a day off.  We’ll have to be very selective in that video.

We’ll have similarities between what Kansas State does and what Pitt does so we can execute it against them.

 

Q.  How great was it to have the support of a lot of the fans making the trip from Ann Arbor?

COACH BEILEIN:  It was interesting when they announced the Pitt team.  There were good cheers.  Jamie said at the press conference, they played 44 games here in the last 11 years, between the Big East tournaments and others.

Whenever we’ve come to New York or Connecticut to play, we’ve really felt the Michigan presence here.

I didn’t know how many were here.  I knew it as soon as they said that Michigan game.  The ‘beat Ohio’ was good as well.  Didn’t know they were thinking about football, as well.

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