John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary were on the podium after Michigan’s come from behind Sweet Sixteen victory over Kansas. Read their comments in the full transcript below.
COACH BEILEIN: I think everybody that watched this game tonight saw what we have been coaching all year. It’s a bunch of young men that have high character, they play to win. They play together. And they’ve been persistent all year long at trying to do their best, without any types of ups and downs getting in the way.
So we’re very fortunate being able to coach them, because this is what we dream of to have at the University of Michigan, and any coach dreams of having a young team that sort of gets that part of it, minimizes distractions and just plays together.
I’m proud of them because they deserve this. I feel bad for Kansas, they really have a good team. But the ball bounced our way down the last few minutes, and we keep on playing.
Q. When you’re down 14 and you’re looking at your guys and shots aren’t falling, what did you think?
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: We definitely didn’t see fear. Everybody knew that the game wasn’t over. We’ve been in this situation before, earlier in the year. And we just had to go out there and gut it out. And I think our freshmen, our upperclassmen did a great job of keeping everybody calm, cool and collected out there. And we just went out there and got it done.
Q. Take us through the last shot at regulation, and what was your thought once that went in and when you got overtime the next possession? Did you feel like you’d done the climbing back and now this game was yours?
TREY BURKE: Well, when Elijah Johnson missed ‑‑ missed the front end of one‑and‑one or he missed the second shot of the one‑and‑one, I knew we still had a chance. There was only about ten seconds left.
Coach called a play for me, but it was really to try to get into the paint and get a quick layup. And I seen that they were going to switch. And it was about six seconds left. I pretty much knew we didn’t have a lot of time to get a two and then a foul, just go through that.
And I just tried to hit the shot. I stepped back, got some separation and hit the shot. We were all very happy. But it was four seconds left, so I just tried to calm everybody down and let them know that this game isn’t over. They had another shot of winning.
But once we went into overtime, we just did a really good job of sticking it out, like Tim said, and staying together as a team.
Q. Trey, what was going through your mind at halftime, they shut you out, I think you missed your first five shots. What were you thinking?
TREY BURKE: Just staying confident, really. I think they did a really good job of keeping me out of the paint. We knew that they were really good defensively. My job is just to try to knock down open shots and get everyone else involved. And I understand that this team is best when we’re all flowing offensively. I tried to hit the right man.
Going into the second half, they told me to be a little bit more aggressive, look for my shot as well as getting everybody else involved. I just tried to get it into the paint and make plays for the team to win.
Q. Jeff Withey said he would dominate you in this game, but said you had more pounds on him. Do you feel you countered his size?
MITCH McGARY: He’s more of a leverage big, and I was trying to play behind him in the post and make him score over me. I am about 6‑10 and he thought I was shorter than that, I heard. He did a pretty good job. Got some buckets, but that’s basketball.
Q. Tim, your football team plays in the big house. I wondered what you thought about this atmosphere and whether you thought it was conducive for basketball?
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: I don’t know what to say. All I know is that when we came into the game it felt like an away game. That’s all I know. But it was just a great experience just to play in the stadium. And thank God that we have another opportunity to play Sunday.
Q. It seemed to take you a while to heat up a little bit. Talk about when the light went on.
TREY BURKE: Shots weren’t falling in the first half, but that wasn’t my mentality. My mentality was just to try to hit the open man.
Coach just told me that Jeff Withey was seven foot and he was a really good shot blocker. He kind of surprised me the first half, once I got to the free throw line and shot. He had a piece of it. I think he was deep in the paint and he still got a piece of it.
I tried to find different ways to attack their defense. Tried to find different ways to get in the paint and make plays for the team and be successful.
Q. Trey, you talked about getting separation on that final shot in regulation. That was a good 28 to 30 feet on that one, and once he hit that, you said you had a lift throughout the overtime?
TREY BURKE: We fought so hard to come back. It really didn’t matter how far the shot was. It was either all or nothing. The season flashed before our eyes those last two or three minutes. I had a lot of faith in that shot. And it went in.
Once it went in, like I said, there was four seconds left still and we still needed another defensive stop. Like Tim said, God is really good. He’s gotten us to this point, and we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re one step closer.
Q. Mitch, early in the season you were obviously getting playing time, but not anywhere near what you’re getting right now. Early in the year did you think you were going to be able to make this much of an impact in your freshman year?
MITCH McGARY: Coach has done a tremendous job of just allowing me for this opportunity to just get this many minutes, to be in the starting line‑up. I’m honored to have it.
He says if you play hard in practice, you’re going to earn these minutes. And I play hard in practice, so he allows me to get the minutes in the game. I go out and have the same mentality and play hard with a lot of intensity and a lot of energy. Trey finds me and Tim finds me for easy drop‑offs, and our team feeds off the energy, so I’m happy.
Q. In the early going, I think they had their first 22 points they scored in the paint. What did you guys do defensively to kind of transform things?
MITCH McGARY: For me, actually, I was helping off Withey a little bit and going for blocks that I couldn’t get. In the second half I just talked to the coaches and made an adjustment just to stick with my man and try to make the guards finish. And I think we did that well and they weren’t finishing as well in the second half.
Overall I think we tightened up the defense. Only one guy was hitting threes, McLemore and Johnson. But we wanted to be in the gaps and try to gap off when they were driving to the rim.
Q. Josh called Trey’s shot kind of an iconic shot. He finally made one, talk about that situation?
COACH BEILEIN: Most of the misses that he’s had, whether it was at Arkansas, whether it was against Ohio State this year, the ball’s been in. In and out. And he works at them and he’s been great at shot clock time so many times for us. But to win a game just hasn’t happened.
But it’s so close, it’s not like he’s ever thrown up an air ball at that time. So we’d run out of timeouts. He needed ‑‑ I don’t know if he missed both or whatever, but we were saying there’s time for two, but if you can get a three, an open three, we’re going to take it. He was open, but it was about 28 feet from the basket.
But we love coaching him because he’s got courage. He wants to take shots like that, and that’s why we’ve let him take them in the past.
Q. You guys weren’t defending very well at the half, but only down by six points and getting a lot of good looks. Did you feel you would have a chance to make a run at it?
COACH BEILEIN: The six points was actually comforting to us based on what we had done defensively. Not making excuses, I think it was the same for us, look at the score of two defensive teams. They’re a good defensive team and we shoot 49 percent. We’re learning to play better defense and they scored like crazy on us.
It looked like everybody was a step slow out there, the heat in the building and maybe a little bit of anxiety about going into this game. Both teams looked tired to me defensively.
It was tough stopping them. Some of them we could make changes on, and it’s a matter of being solid. Their length and quickness got us early. And Withey’s length, he made some good plays. On the other hand, they had some plays that bounced their way in the first half. So I felt good about just being down six.
Q. Some of the guys said that Corey was emotional in the locker room. You’re smiling right now. For a guy like Corey, some of these guys that are with you from a long, long time ago, what does it mean for you?
COACH BEILEIN: That’s what this is about. Those young men, the investment committee we call it, those five seniors that have given us so much of themselves.
Corey, he’s incredible. I just said to him, I said ‑‑ because he’s in his fifth year now, his eligibility will never end. When he was a freshman he’s literally a glorified manager from the standpoint that we had enough guys and he just wanted to be there. He wanted to work out with the team. And he’s become a heck of a player.
Yesterday that group, with Corey, beat this team like a drum in our practice. Running the Kansas offense. So we didn’t go in there with a lot of confidence to stop them, because Eso and Corey and those guys were good. But it means a lot to them and I thank them personally for preparing us once again really well.
Q. With Trey, with just 20 minutes to go, he has a decision to make after the season, it’s not guaranteed he’ll be back. For you to know you get at least a couple more days to coach him, regardless of what happens from there, what does it mean?
COACH BEILEIN: I think it’s the wrong time and the wrong place to ask that question. That’s all I’m saying. We’re not talking about ‑‑ ask me about Florida, you want to ask me about the next game. It’s special to coach everybody on this team.
Q. Can you just talk in general about the spark that Mitch has given the last two games?
COACH BEILEIN: It has been such a great progression for him, to watch him get better and better, his practice habits, getting in shape, the weight room, everything that he’s worked at this year just to continue to progress as a player. So it’s ‑‑ Bacari has worked hard with him. He’s done a great job of motivating him in many ways.
This man is a special young man with a higher ceiling than people are seeing right now as he understands how he can use that size, his high skill level to his advantage as much as he can.
Q. You mentioned heat. Did it feel hot out there?
COACH BEILEIN: Yeah, it was really warm in the building, to me it felt like. And I watched both teams. There was times when we were moving, just getting up and down the floor, it just seemed like it was warm in there and humid.
It could have been the anxiety of everybody building up to this game. But it was ‑‑ I’m glad we got through it and the biggest premium is rest before the game with one of those Florida teams. It was great.
I’m not making an excuse. It just happens sometimes that you get that many people in a building and playing basketball, I just sensed it was a little bit warm. I don’t know if they could do anything about it or whether it was even an issue. Maybe it was just me.
Q. Can you talk about Glenn’s play down the stretch and the two big free throws that helped you pull away?
COACH BEILEIN: That rebound basket that was dirty work. And Glenn is learning more and more about what he can do with his athleticism and sticking his nose in there. It’s really good. It’s terrific. He hit a big three to start the game, as well.
He’s just learning. He, in particular, needed more rest today. We tried to give him a couple of spots. He’s learning where he can really help us in different areas.