EAST LANSING — The Michigan basketball team provided another valiant effort against a heavily favored team, but it again lost in overtime.
After the Wolverines fell to the Spartans, 76-66, John Beilein discussed the maturation of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, gave updates on Derrick Walton’s injury and spoke on the overtime struggles.
Opening statement: “Good Michigan-Michigan State basketball game. Michigan State really is a great team. Valentine, no matter what we threw at him, he sees the floor well, he rebounds well, he shot the ball well. Obviously they had a lot of other good players as well, but I thought that he really stood out in that he was able to pick us apart with different things we did. … I didn’t like his game, but I’ve got to respect his game a ton.
“I thought the first half in transition we weren’t as good. We can’t mimic the speed they play with, and we can’t mimic Branden Dawson’s ability to rebound. He and Costello had blocked shots. Big players in this game.
“I like to think of it as a really close overtime game instead of the disappointing way we played in overtime. But we’ll grow from it. Failure is fertilizer for growth, so we have all kinds of sprinkles of fertilizer out there today.”
On picking types of defense: “I have this formula when you look at a team whether you can play 1-3-1. Teams that really are high assists and a good shooting team, they’re not ones you can play 1-3-1 on. I pulled that out real quick after they had a dunk and a three to start. They’re good, and they should be.”
On Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s 18 points: “I think you’re seeing that great growth from Muhammad right now. We saw a little bit in video when we recruited him. … We saw it in video, but we haven’t seen it in practice and games.”
On the Breslin Center crowd: “Breslin crowd was great. They have a great crowd here, and we love playing here, because it’s such a great college basketball atmosphere.”
On Derrick Walton: “We don’t anticipate him being back for a while. It will be some time. … Don’t have a definite date yet, but it won’t be in the foreseeable future.”
On Abdur-Rahkman’s second foul: “Our timing in our offense — not an excuse, please — is off because we have so many new guys out there playing. … They’re learning on the fly. That’s why you can’t get guys open sometimes.
“That foul, yeah. That’s for another time.”
On effort in closing minutes of regulation: “I like the way the team is growing right now. God knows, if you saw some our games, that we had room to grow.”
On going scoreless in overtime: “We had a couple of good looks that didn’t go in. We probably panicked when we got down by six. We took an ill-advised three. Your jump shot shouldn’t get blocked. You should shot fake and go to the basket. Those types of things changed the momentum.”