John Beilein was available to speak with the media following his team’s 79-50 win over Nebraska at the Crisler Center on Wednesday. You can watch the full interview using the embedded media player below or read notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “We’re really pleased with the way we came in with incredible focus on defense in this game. Nebraska, if you lok at how they’re scoring points — and they’re scoring points in all different ways with five guys out there, at least four of them can get 20 on you. And we came in so focused, and they didn’t get many good looks. Nik Stauskas did a tremendous job on (Terran) Petteway, and then Derrick Walton was assigned to (Ray) Gallagos. It was wonderful to see us respond to the loss at Indiana with good defense. Obviously, that allows us to run, it allows us to have so many good offensive opportunities. It was really about that first-half defense. Really, the first 35 minutes — until the end, we played 35 minutes of really good defense.”
- On the difference in the home game against Nebraska and the away game: “I think the ball bounced our way early, and we got a lot of those bounces. But once a team starts making shots, anything can happen in a game. The venues are important, but I think we’ve seen it the last couple weeks: things are happening in the Big Ten that are not normal in the Big Ten. People losing at home. So that’s why it’s a good W and a good sweep over Nebraska, who — just watch them. I’ve watched them a lot on video, and this was an out-of-character game for them.”
- On the offensive output: “When we had the bench come in, and all the sudden Spike (Albrecht) had a couple of assists and Jon Horford and then Zak (Irvin), that was a tremendous lift for us. We were going to attack them in different ways. Obviously, they chose a couple of different ways to defend us. When the three ball is going, we can play some pretty good offense and then that allows us to set our defense. Once again, we couldn’t have done anything if we hadn’t gotten some fast break things going. And obviously Glenn (Robinson III) was very comfortable today. Played really well both offensively and defensively.”
- On Zak Irvin: “To have a guy come off the bench and do that — and truthfully, that ball goes in the air and because his delivery is so unique, it’s like you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s been going in at 40 percent, so I just close my mouth and say, ‘keep shooting it, Zak.'”
- On not letting losses turn into losing streaks: “I think it’s a commitment by the coaching staff. We don’t like losing. I think we’ll always be really gracious wether in victory or defeat, but there’s a nasty edge to every one of us to try to do everything we can to not let that feeling come again. In this league, it is going to come again at different times. You’d better be ready to deal with it and bounce back. Because if you can’t bounce back in this league, you’re going to be done very quickly.”
- On Nik Stauskas: “He held Petteway to five points — what was he, 2-for-10? — that was the matchup all day long. I encouraged him, I’m really looking forward to seeing this matchup. Then, as he came off ball screens, they bracketed him, they doubled him every time. He had to become the pass out guy and he did a great job. Eight assists. Now, his turnovers, he can do better there — he threw a few around. But really good growth in him. And rebounding, as well. He ended up with five? He got five. Terrific. … I was hoping he’d shoot a few more, actually. But he was very — when Nik doesn’t feel that shot, he doesn’t shoot it very often. He usually has a real good feel for it. If he’s not feeling it, he looks for his teammates. And then, when Zak got hot, everyone just looked for him. I think that’s a great quality for a team to have.”
- On “playing angry”: “I wanted a huge boulder on our shoulders after that loss. You only have so many opportunities to win the Big Ten championship, and it comes every game in little pieces. Come in there with a chip on your shoulder — anger, mad, whatever. Just come in and get done what you have to get done.”