U-M / Rutgers Postgame

John Beilein and players reflect upon Michigan's 79-69 bounce-back victory over Rutgers.

On the team's ability to bounce after Northwestern loss ?... "I was worried about it. We did not talk about the last game. We went over how to guard a guy when they need a three to reinforce things. That's all we did. We showed them positive things. We have had the two most positive practices because I know if they got beat up any more, they would not bounce back. Our staff did a great job, and Spike (Albrecht) and Zak Irvin and Max (Bielfeldt) did a great job inspiring the guys. If your leaders are showing that you have been kicked down and can't get up, then nobody is going to do it. They were terrific."

?On the milestones in this game ?... "It has been a big component of Michigan basketball for a long time that we see each other and we play together. Not that we have been selfish, we are just learning how to pass. There are some guys who are just learning about pivot feet. They have never had to do it. They were probably their scorer on their team, and now they are sort of learning about how to (pass). I am excited about that, seeing guys like Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with three assists today, and Zak had an assist, and of course Spike (Albrecht) was great. Max (Bielfeldt) had three assists. "

?On Max Bielfeldt's first career double-double ?... "He has been a great senior for us this year. He has worked his tail off. He's gotten opportunities that he has never had. Tonight it's only fitting that we have had all of these injuries all year, and Ricky (Doyle) can't go. Then Mark (Donnal), I still do not think is at 100 percent. Max gets all of that playing time and made the most of it."

?On Aubrey Dawkins' performance ?... "I am going to have to go back through the years. I know that we have had a couple guys hit seven but never eight, so that is amazing for him to be able to knock it down like that. He has a great future ahead of him. He is a hard worker, and he has another gear that coach keeps telling him about, and he can see the floor better, but you can't teach what he can do out on the court as far as shooting. Especially in tough situations."

?On Spike Albrecht's play ?... "Spike has been a key to this season. We have had a lot of keys to the season, there have been different games, but the one constant since we went through all the injuries has been Spike Albrecht. He has not had off-games. He has directed the team; he has done a great job of just being connected both to the team and the coaches."

?On heading into the Big Ten Tournament ?... "If you look at everybody's scores in this league and how tight we have been, we have had to shoot the ball well and play well together, but I know we can play with anybody. Even the Marylands and the Wisconsins, we have moments. Now when you get on the neutral floor, some of those guys may have already locked up their NCAA bid, who knows what can happen? I don't know whether we are going to play Indiana or Illinois. I know they will both be ready, but we have to be ready too and win a game, or two, or three, or four."

U-M Freshman Guard/Forward Aubrey Dawkins
On his performance ... "My shot was feeling good in warmups, and every game I am going to shoot the ball if I am open. I let it go."

On how his teammates contribute to his performance ... "They are all good players. They all know how to feed the hot hand, and they did a good job finding me."

On Max Bielfeldt's play on senior day ... "He played amazing. A double-double on senior night? It means a lot. It means a lot to our season and to end our regular season on that note, words can't describe."

?On scoring 31 points ...? "It means a lot. I don't even remember the last time I scored 30 points in the game, and it shows so much growth to our season."

U-M Senior Forward Max Bielfeldt
On what was going through his head as the clock ran down ... "I think just going to the Big Ten Tournament and having a great game like we played today. If we can pull games like this and how we played against Ohio State together, we believe we can make a little noise down the stretch, hopefully. We just have to come out a start strong. That is the key. We have had some strong starts, and we play well of it."

On his singing performance ... "I was in the huddle and heard it, and I go, 'they're not playing that right now.' They had everyone's, and I think they hadn't played them this year, and for some reason they decided to pull that one out of the archives at the very end. At least I had D.J (Wilson) to make me look good."

?On what he will take away after his career at Michigan is over ?... "Playing in Crisler with all of my best friends, and playing so well, and honestly the fact that everyone played so well. It was such a positive day for so many people, and that is just what you love to see."

On if he stopped and took it all in ?... "It was just about the game. I mean, I looked around a little bit at the crowd and stuff, but I wasn't taking mental pictures of every single inch of the place, but it was a good memory."

U-M Student Manager Ryan Kapustka
?On how crazy the whole progression was ?... "If someone had told me this would happen at the beginning of the year, I really never would have thought it would be possible. When we got moved up to the practice team that was different but very cool, too. I didn't think anything about dressing later in the season, too. But to Coach Beilein, I am really thankful for the opportunities. The team embraced us, and it has been a really enjoyable season."

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