John Beilein discussed Michigan’s 15-point win over Northern Kentucky on Tuesday evening as the Wolverines moved to 8-3 on the season. Beilein touched on the return of Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert’s milestone night and his tightened rotation in the win.
“I thought it was a really good win. Northern Kentucky ran some really great action. I know I told you against SMU, but this game is incredible with what video and copying from other people has done. Some of the stuff of what I call a rise-up action I have not seen (before) and it counters what we need to do. So we had to make quick adjustments, this was one time our guys really had to think on the fly. Who was the hot guy, who was fighting over the screen, what the matchup was and who the guy was. And they ran it, and they ran it and they ran it. Sometimes they got easy baskets, but at the same time, it’s the best tool for us to improve.
“I’m really proud of (the win). Obviously, in the first half, Duncan was incredible the way he shot the ball, even from distance and guarded, and then Caris the whole game was terrific. Good to see D-Walton back there again, Zak Irvin too. We went with a really short bench, really trusted those guys that were in there, and I just felt that that team could go with their big guys and score at will against us. He led the country in field goal percentage last year, Billups, led the entire country. We were having trouble guarding him with our young guys and I thought they could get back into the game early so we kept a short bench, may see more of that may not.”
On Caris LeVert’s triple-double
“I just knew that he was having a really good game. You all are looking at that scoreboard, and when everybody started cheering I said ‘What just happened? Are they giving out free hamburgers or something, did we score a certain number of points?’ I didn’t know what was going on. You guys can see all that stuff, I didn’t know. I just knew he was having a really good game.”
On Duncan Robinson’s hot shooting setting up the rest of the offense
“That’s exactly what happened. They chose to give probably too much halp off him in the first half, second half they just shut him down, said he ain’t gonna get it. So we’ve got to find to find ways to get him open, but without us working harder, the magnitude of what he’s doing for us I think we saw in the first half. He was shooting behind screens, he had guys on him and he was shooting, he had a swag to when he was shooting it, that was impressive. Those weren’t six open 3s, about three or four of them there was a guy on him pretty good. That’s where his height helps him.
On Derrick Walton’s return
“I just asked him before the game ‘Derrick, how are you feeling?’ And he said ‘Great.’ We went into this game planning to start him after yesterday’s practice.
“Yesterday, he couldn’t make a shot in practice, so I loved seeing his first 3 go in in the second half, but I thought he looked good. He still has trouble pushing off the bad ankle a little bit, but he looked good out there. He really helps us with defense and rebounding, that’s really encouraging.
“He’s becoming a better student of the game every day that he plays. His defense right now, his angles, as I said yesterday his GPS seems to be changing, getting to understand those parts of the game. Not just playing hard, which he’s generally done, it’s playing smart at the same time.”
On Mark Donnal
“You earn your time in practice, and yesterday he had just a terrific day in practice. He threw in three left-handed hooks and he battles on rebounds. We’ve been talking to him about this because there’s a reason he’s got a scholarship at Michigan — we saw some talent and ability in him. It’s in there, but he’s gotta bring it. He did that today.”
On playing starters more
“We’re getting in prep for Big Ten play (now), we’ve given a lot of people chances to play in practices and games. Now we’ve got to get ready for the Big Ten. We’ve got to get our rotation down, we’ve got to find out who goes in for who and what works.
“Hopefully, we’ve got a rhythm to us. Back in November I was asked if we had a rhythm, I said ‘We don’t have a rhythm yet.’ We’re starting to develop that right now and I wanted to establish that, and that’s why we played such a short bench.”