U-M / MSU Postgame

John Beilein, Zak Irvin, and Spike Albrecht recap Michigan's 76-66 OT loss to Michigan State.

Postgame interviews courtesy of MGoBlue.com

Michigan Head Coach John Beilein 

Opening statement ... "It was really a good Michigan-Michigan State basketball game. Michigan State has a really good team. I was impressed with (Denzel) Valentine, and it did not matter what we threw at him. He sees the floor well, he rebounds well, and he shot the ball well. They have other good players on their team as well, but I thought he really stood out and picked us apart with different things that we did. One-on-one, zone defenses, everything. When you have a tall guy who can really see like that and can shoot, it really makes your team go. I respect his game; he was a big difference in this game. We felt that we weren't as good in transition in the first half. We can't mimic the speed that they play with, and we can't mimic Branden Dawson's ability to rebound offensively. He and (Matt) Costello had some blocked shots, and they were big players in this game. I like to think of it as more of a close game that went to overtime instead of focusing on the disappointing way we played in the overtime, but we will grow from it. We say that failure is fertilizer for growth, so we had sprinkles of fertilizer out there today that will help our team grow down the line."

On today's game overall and the takeaways from it ... "It was a great basketball game between two really good programs that are both in transitional years. We did everything that we could do but win the game, and we love the way some of our guys stepped up really big today. There is going to be so much we can learn from in that game because when it is a one-possession game in overtime, that means doing something better earlier or even later in the game could have meant getting a W."

On areas where he saw the most growth from his team ... "I think we are seeing the old Spike Albrecht back; he was really struggling with his health and his body. We were able to get him some rest, and I saw him playing with that swag out there. I see some great things from Muhammad-Ali (Abdur-Rahkman) and from Max (Bielfeldt), staying on the boards and doing what he does. We have a lot of things we have to clean up, but we have guys doing things that they have not had to do all year, like executing a play under duress. I like the way that we responded many times today."

On the backcourt of Spike Albrecht and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman carrying the scoring load today ... "They were really good. This is what we saw from Muhammad when we recruited him. He has a little bit of that swag and can score one on one. You know how I feel about Spike, and that was why he was so disappointed when he had some games that did not live up to today's performance."

On Michigan State's top performers ... "Branden Dawson is really good, and his blocked shots were big. (Matt) Costello's blocked shots were big, too. The big thing was Denzel Valentine; man or zone, he knows how to play. He is a big guard and was always matched up with a freshman; he did a great job."

U-M Junior Guard Spike Albrecht

?On what he saw from his teammates today ?... "We played really hard today. I thought we were relentless out there. We withstood several runs; we went down six (points), eight, 10, and we kept clawing back, so I was really happy with the effort, and I was proud, especially of the younger guys. They competed in a hostile environment."

?On his runner that missed but was tipped back in by Max Bielfeldt at the end of regulation ?... "I was thinking, 'Attack, get to the rim,' and I didn't want to settle for a three. I was just trying to get to the rim, and then Max did a great job tipping it in."

?On added scoring from the backcourt and whether or not that is the new recipe for this team's success ?... "It will vary from game to game. Today, Ham (Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman) and I were getting open looks, and we had guys setting us up. They were out, pressuring, so there were some gaps, but we have several different guys -- Zak (Irvin), Aubrey (Dawkins), Kam (Chatman), Max (Bielfeldt) -- who, in any game, can step up and have a big game for us."

?On what Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman's performance says about him as a player ?... "He is a really tough kid. I have been in that spot before, where you are thrown out there and have a lot of pressure on you, but he continues to deliver. That is the epitome of 'Next Man Up.'"

?On what Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman brings to the team that others may not have ?... "He is super fast, first of all. He does a really good job of getting into the paint. He always gets two feet into the paint, and he has a variety of ways to score. He did it today -- getting two feet in the paint, using his shot fake, going up and under, using his step-back. There are all kinds of crazy things in his game. He scored over 2,000 points in high school, so you know the kid knows how to score."

U-M Freshman Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman

On playing poised in a tough environment ... "It was a great atmosphere, and I had a lot of fun playing in it. It was a great battle. I wanted to come out and get going early, and I was able to knock a couple of shots down."

On the overtime frame and Michigan's final few possessions ... "They are a good team. They kind of jumped out on us in the beginning, and we had to continue to fight to get back in the game. We were just trying to score to tie things up and then play good defense on the other end to set up the win."

On battling through foul trouble ... "It was pretty frustrating (having to sit with two fouls). I want to be out there trying to help my team try to win, but those things happen."

On what has enabled him to play at a higher level in recent games ... "Focus in practice and preparing like I'm going to be out there playing. That has been our mentality."

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