Video special to UM Hoops from Greg Johnson of The Daily Targum.
Michigan coach John Beilein met with media in Piscataway, New Jersey following his team’s 54-50 win over Rutgers on Tuesday night. The coach spoke about the Wolverines’ patchwork first-half rotation, burning Andrew Dakich’s redshirt, Zak Irvin’s foul trouble and the importance of eking out the win.
Watch video of Beilein’s press conference in the embedded media player above, or read select quotes below.
Opening Statement: “I love the way our kids responded today to the preparation for this game, the way they responded to the beginning of the game — the things that we had to change in order to change our gameplan against Rutgers. We still had to make some shots, and nobody shot the ball very well, so credit either defense for poor shooting. We hung in there, we hung in there. I thought when they made that run, I think they had a good look that they missed that would’ve put them up nine, and we came back and hit a three and it was back to three and then made some threes after.
“Great energy boost for our guys.”
On surviving the first half: “I’ve been watching our guys all year, and I’m watching Spike get off the court and Derrick get off the court. Andrew had told me a couple weeks ago that he wanted to burn the redshirt just because he felt he could help the team. So we double-checked and we double-checked and we double-checked and he wanted to do it. We just feel there’s going to be minutes right now that those guys gotta get off the court. Just normal wear and tear that goes through the season. But we just survived it.”
On “burn the boats” mentality: “Zak certainly didn’t help us by going out. That was not the plan, but Zak goes out and tries to steal the ball when he has one foul. I said to him five minutes before that, ‘You got one foul. You can’t foul.’ And immediately, he does. So we learn through all that. Sometimes, Sean Lonergan will be like Spike Albrecht: Not do a whole lot, but make sure the ball gets to the right people. And so he did a really good job.”
On Derrick Walton taking over late: “He played 40 minutes the other night in really a knock-down, drag-out game with Northwestern. Couldn’t practice the last couple days, but a little bit. Just look fatigued. We just told him, ‘Keep shooting.’ I thought he was shooting not to miss instead of shooting to make. When he had a look off a play and he didn’t shoot it, we directed him to shoot it the next time and it went in. Then he made another one after that.”
On first-half rotation: “The foul trouble determined we had to go with Sean. And Kam went in and got us a bucket, but I didn’t like the way he was moving out there. As we’ve been transitioning this year and playing 10 guys, everyone knows what they’re doing. Some are just better at things than others. We had a shortened playbook a little bit, so just try and get through it.”
On Ricky Doyle: “After three minutes, he said ‘Take me out.’ We gotta get him through this, and he’ll be better for it, but he’s going through a little health issue right now that we gotta solve.”
On importance of win: “Here’s the biggest thing that it does: You have a lot of coach speak. You say, ‘You can win this game. You can win this game.’ I don’t know if anybody looked at any game going forward and said we thought we had a [chance] — it’s just natural. They’re young, and there’s their leader, he’s down. And you gotta convince them. And now it gives credence to, ‘You can do things. You can get blown out as well. But you can win again.’ ”