John Beilein was pleased with how his team played without point guard Derrick Walton on Saturday against Houston Baptist. The Wolverines avoided a letdown after an emotional Big Ten-ACC Challenge win and with a big game at SMU on the schedule Tuesday. Watch Beilein’s full press conference in the embedded media play above or find select quotes below.
Losing one guy out of your lineup has this domino effect, and I think there were some times today that we didn’t miss Derrick a lot and there were some other times where obviously people were trying to get accustomed to playing a different role. We were just good enough defensively at the start of the second half to keep this from being a close game. I thought the end of the first half when they made three or four 3’s, it just shows you the power of the 3. I think they hit four in a row, and a 14-point game became a two-point game, then we made three in a row and it became a 10-point game. Those are the swings you see in basketball, we got better as the game went on and the video and the time that we’ll spend individually with our guys will help. … Other than that a good win, and with a huge challenge coming up for us on Tuesday
On Duncan Robinson:
Two of his first four shots were not good shots. They’re shots that you take when you just made four in a row — you don’t take that shot when you haven’t made one yet. That got his percentage down, but we believe in him and we’re going to find him whenever we can find him. There’s a lot of good shooters out there, but he’s 6-8. You (as a defender) close out when you’re 6-4 and (Duncan) has a quick release that he’s worked hard at, it’s tough to get to him. … We’re trying to work on his package and get him to understand that while he also works on his defense.
Every time he misses I’m more confident the next one is going to go in, and he’s showing that with the lights on and having him make shots. I’m sure — knock on wood — that he’s going to have off days. We saw it against Northern Michigan, we saw it against UConn, he’s going to have off days. We just have to live through it, because he’s going to have more on days than off.
On Derrick Walton Jr.’s injury:
He didn’t play today. That’s his status right now, I don’t know much else — he’s day-to-day.
On Ricky Doyle:
Ricky today had seven rebounds, and they were two-handed rebounds. Ricky has a habit of boxing out with one arm and trying to rebounds with one arm like the Fugitive. Not the Fugitive but you know the guys I’m talking about (this writer does not). He’s trying to get with the one-armed man and he can’t do it, he’s a one-armed man. Today he came in contact, and went up and got it with two hands.
On Spike Albrecht recovering but still playing:
He’s doing everything he’s gotta do, I don’t think you can turn that on and off. I want him out there to do what he just did so he gets through it. Every day is another step in this process to get back as close as he can to who he is.
On difference between this year and last year’s game against New Jersey Institute of Technology:
I think last year, we probably weren’t as mentally prepared for that game we’d come off — we hadn’t learned our lesson. And you could see in the tapes that Derrick Walton was a different player. He had the injury against Villanova, he sat out the Nicholls State game … didn’t play a lot the Syracuse game, Caris was a little banged up, so Spike was playing a lot of minutes and we were missing Derrick and Caris. But give (NJIT) credit, they had a heck of a year, they played all road games and won well over 20. They had a heck of a year and they deserved that win.
On Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s performance as a starter:
I see him growing right now. He’s learning to use his speed. He used to be a guy that when he had a speed opportunity he would just slow it down, now we’re seeing him using that speed. His defense is growing every day, last year it was separate for him and Aubrey, we couldn’t put them in those games in December because we couldn’t trust anything they were doing defensively now it’s slowing down for them a little bit more.