Michigan coach John Beilein was on hand to speak with the media following his team’s dramatic last-second 77-76 victory over Purdue in West Lafayette on Wednesday night. The coach talked about drawing up the final play for Glenn Robinson III, how his team mounted its comeback and much more. you can listen to the full interview using the embedded media player below and read notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “Really impressed with the Purdue played in this game. In the first half, they were incredible. People have been backing up on them, daring them to shoot. We employed that strategy and it certainly didn’t work in the first half. We tightened that up a little bit and our defense had to be good. I like our percentages defensively, we kept them off the boards the best that we can. And our kids were just resilient. I guess we were down 19 in the first half, I know it was too much for me to subtract. Somehow, despite blowing the last minute and a half of the first half, I thought we were going to be down eight or nine at halftime, and all of a sudden we were down 13. So we had to do it all over again. I’m really proud of our guys and happy especially for Glenn (Robinson III) and the way he played today. 17 points and eight rebounds. This game always means a lot to him because his brother’s coming here to school, his dad went here, it’s got a lot of emotion in it. So it’s great for Glenn as well.”
- On the final play of the game: “We’ve run it before. I don’t think we’ve run it yet this year, but it’s a last-second play. We practice it probably once every two weeks. We’ve probably practiced it 10 times, but they ran it last year, as well. So one of the options is to get it to Glenn and have Glenn just make a play. There’s other options in it, but Caris saw the switch, saw the mismatch and just threw it and Glenn went up and got it. He had to finish it through a crowd and did a great job. … That’s the whole idea, to throw it over the top and put Glenn in a jump ball on the other side. That’s the whole idea: bring the defense this way and throw it to the opposite side.”
- On the first 10 minutes of the game: “I thought we had a couple good looks — and they were making every shot, but we had a couple of really good looks that didn’t go. (AJ) Hammons really affects people the first couple times they try to get to the rim. You gotta go in there and finish through contact, but he blocked a couple shots and all of a sudden it was, we could get to the rim but we couldn’t do anything once we got there. When we did get some jumpshots, we were going to have to make them. We did not shoot the ball well in the first half and that had a lot to do with Purdue, as well.”
- On going to the 1-3-1: “Kendall Stevens had one go in-and-out late. They only got one basket out of it. Again, change the tempo, change things up a little bit. They’re a great driving team, and that’s one thing that can stop the drive a little bit. They still found enough holes in it. I wasn’t comfortable playing it too much late. Once Kendall Stevens had one go halfway down and come back out again, I said, we’re not going to take a chance on that again. It is something we’re going to have to keep playing.”
- More on the final play of the game: “It is a late-game play. It’s got 3-point options, it has all kinds of things to it. We got jammed up there and I thought I called time with, like, four seconds to go and somehow it didn’t get registered — Pat didn’t hear me until 2.9, or didn’t call it until 2.9. Glenn could have thrown it out of there, too — there’s another action going on. At any rate, it was just good. We saw Wisconsin score full-court with 2.9, so he did the right thing. It hung on that rim a long time, though.”
- On AJ Hammons not being in the game in overtime: “Nik got clean to the rim twice and I guess he thought Hammons was still in there because he changed his shot. A really physical game, and we’ve got to finish through that contact. These games are tough. Matt (Painter) and I talked before the game. Purdue’s done a great job of winning Big Ten championships. Matt’s done a great job of competing for Big Ten championships. These games are really tough to win, and you could see that today.”
- On seeing his team execute on a last-second play: “I think if we could have made a couple of those layups we could have gotten some distance from them and I didn’t like the play we called in a timeout with like 15 or 16, I didn’t like the way we had arced on that one — I wanted us to really drive that baby. But you’ve got to have those things. This is the way it’s going to be, this is it. We just got to embrace it and say we’re going to work hard for everything. We were really fortunate tonight.”
- On trying to get his attention late in regulation: “I looked at the clock when we fouled Stevens there. … There was a lot of time. I wanted to make sure that if he made both, we had our 3-point play working. We weren’t going to call a timeout unless we needed one. We had a 3-point package there if Stevens made both. And I just told them there’s a ton of time right now. Fortunately, we got just enough.
- On the possibility of it just being Michigan’s night tonight: “No, it wasn’t our night tonight because you watch Terone Johnson go to the foul line and knock down everything and he hasn’t been able to do that. It was their night most of the night. We just had the breaks down the stretch there that really you have. It did even itself out because I thought they just played terrific. They certainly outplayed us and played much better than us in the first half. The second half, we really played good basketball. Purdue, they’ve had two injuries now. It’s big for those kids to come out and play like they did tonight. “