Beilein Proud of Team's Efforts vs. KU

John Beilein reflects on his squad's 67-60 OT loss to Kansas. After watching his team battle the #3 squad in the country until the bitter end, he feels it's just a matter of time before the Wolverines will win games like the one they lost Sunday afternoon.

Coach Beilein:  "When Zach Novak hit that three in overtime to put us up by three after they had missed the first opportunity, I really thought that I wouldn't be standing here in this situation.  We played well enough to hang in there on defense.  Just their defense is difficulty.  They're very long.  There is a reason why they are such a good team.  They gave issues with our young guys just handling the ball, turnovers and just blowing up plays with pressure hurt us at times from getting where we wanted.  Too many clock shot situations that we just struggled with.  I loved our effort.  I love the way our kids just stayed together through it all.  Obviously, you hang around in a game and you hang around in a game, you have a chance to win it at the end you can do so, sure enough."

Question:  How happy were you with the halftime deficit given (how the Wolverines had played to that point)?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah the way we had shot the ball in the first half and we didn't get good shots either.  They guarded the heck out of us in the first half and we did not get many clean looks and they are so long and athletic, that challenges us right now.  We're trying to get to that point where we are, but we're playing the guys that we have right now.  I felt good that we were down seven at halftime without making hardly any shots."

Question:  You talk about Tim's (Hardaway) effort.  I mean he really turned it on down the stretch.  

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah he is getting better every day in practice with everything, just handling the ball against pressure.  Because there are all kinds of things coming at him and he is getting better reading what he should be seeing and he had a great pass to start the second half and just little by little I really like what I see from his development.  He is really anxious to get in the gym every day and I can see the development.  It just continues to grow with him."

Question:  Can you talk about the use of the zone.  Obviously it was a big key getting you back into it.

Coach Beilein:  "When they got us in foul trouble, there was some quick fouls and that size is challenging.  They had some foul trouble early and we had to find…otherwise they were going to spend the whole time at the foul line.  We've been working on it, we just haven't been using it.  Sometimes you just sort of get a mix of guys out there that really worked together in it and it just gave them enough trouble to change the tempo of the game."

Question:  Do you think your team did a good job of playing the game at their pace rather instead of Kansas?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, we wanted to play a short game.  We didn't want to only score teens by halftime.  You think you would want to play the game 67-60 in regulation.  We didn't expect not to be able to make a shot.  I shouldn't say it is …Purdue did a little it of the same thing to us; we got off to a tough start.  Just scoring the ball and running what we need to run, just typical.  Jordan (Morgan) would drop a pass or Evan (Smotrycz) would just misread something.  It is typical freshman thing you see and so I am just proud of our guys effort though."

Question:  What did you tell your team after the game?

Coach Beilein:  "I said we are going to win these games.  We're going to learn to win these games and there is all kinds of plays within the games.  It is winning basketball, winning basketball plays that we'll grow from.  Things that we can control and I told them that now we got another chance to do it in 72 hours.  We have got a huge rival coming in here.  It is not like you could get upset.  We weren't perfect today, far from perfect but it was one of those games that we could have won."

Question:  Are there positives that you can take out of this?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  We're not going to play better defensive teams than that.  It is going to be equal.  And the Big Ten is known for defense.  So what we'll do is take this now and just grow from it.  This is what we have to do in his situation so you can score points.  Just a challenge without a great deal of quickness, it is challenging for us, but we've still got to find ways to utilize the quickness that we have and pass the ball more efficiency so we can get angles."

Question:  On shot clock violation late in the game?

Coach Beilein:  "We were trying to get Darius (Morris) in the lane and they just really guarded it well.  They switched the screen and stayed in front of him so he had no other options and then they stayed up.  Stu (Douglass) and Zach, it is no secret, is hard for them to create their own shot and there were long guys on them and they couldn't get their shot.  I didn't like what we were doing with 15 seconds at that time.  So I said we got to at least talk about it.  It had just worked the play before, virtually."

Question:  Did you like what you saw from Hardaway at the top of the zone?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  He really was good today on it.  He is learning.  There is a lot to it.  Like I said, our man to man defense had been so good at different times this year that we have played more man, but we do, do it in practice about ten minutes almost every day.  He is growing in it.  He has gotten his hands on more balls today than he has all year, so that was good for us.  I just like the way he is playing.  He is just getting better, but he is growing into it."

Question:  You've to be pleased especially Zach and his effort down low.

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, Douglass and Novak had 21 rebounds between them.  They just worked his tail off and Tim is better job there.  I think he had six or seven rebounds.  Jordan of course is in foul trouble and with that type of pressure, our young kids, our new guys really have trouble handling some of that.  We'll get better at it.  I like the way they are developing but developing isn't enough, we've got to keep pushing on to win games."

Question:  You've played three Big Ten games already, now you have nationally ranked Kansas and now it is back to the Big Ten.  How do you prepare for a game like this; how do you treat it?

Coach Beilein:  "Any time you play in an atmosphere like that.  It is not like they said we didn't enjoy that.  You didn't enjoy the loss but it is part of the whole thing and now thank goodness we don't have ten days or a bye week or something like that and I think are kids as much respect as we have with a good Ohio State team coming in here, probably, that is a good game for us right now, just go and play another great team."

Question:  You went to (Blake) McLimans in the second half.  Was it something you saw?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, we were really having trouble with it.  They were coming up and really pressuring our five man hard and Jordan was in foul trouble and he really is a very good passer, so we were just trying to alleviate some other things.  He struggled rebounding.  It is a thing that he is getting better at, but they got three or four offensive rebounds.  He'll go back to just keep working on it, because he will get better, but so does everybody else."

Question:  You said that foul trouble had precipitated in you going to the zone.  It seemed like Kansas had some trouble with it, were you happy…?

Coach Beilein:  "Well there was two reasons.  Last year it was very successful against them and I cannot tell you why sometimes it is successful and sometimes it is not.  It takes people out of rhythm, so that was one reason and we did want to change defenses on them over and over just because their shear talent.  You've got to keep giving them different looks.  I think while there guard play is really solid, you really test your guards play when you do have those angles that they have to read all the time."

Question:  Considering that you guys struggled prior in weeks in the zone, is that a good sign?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah and we have played it so little that I haven't given it time to struggle.  People make a couple threes or do something, we've been getting out of it because our man to man has been so go, but it is good.  It is good that we can play multiple defenses."

Question:  Can you talk about the atmosphere?

Coach Beilein:  "It was great.  I hope that we have that same type of crowd on Wednesday with Ohio State.  I don't doubt that we will.  It is why a lot of these young men came here.  Tim Hardaway came here because he attended the Duke game two years ago.  One of the reasons he came here and it is big for us.  There was some great recruits that love this type of atmosphere, so it is good for us to have that and you're not always going to have the second or third ranked team coming in here.  The people who came to this game tonight, we walked away with a loss, but at the same time, I hope they say that I like watching that team.  That team is going to get better and they enjoyed the game despite the loss."

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