U-M / Wisconsin Postgame

John Beilein reflects upon Michigan's 69-64 overtime loss to Wisconsin. The Wolverines' headman discusses his team's valiant effort, Derrick Walton's strong showing, and more.

Michigan Head Coach John Beilein

Opening statement ... "When you have a team and a program going in the right direction and you lose some home games you want people to walk away saying, 'That was a well-played game,' and it was. We would like to have 10 to 20 possessions back, both on offense and defense to reteach some things and have some breaks go our way. I am proud of the way our kids competed. We are learning about competing, and we want to get better at it. It is still not where it is going to be, but today was a very positive step in the right direction."

On his players learning from tonight's loss ... "The hope right now is that we can learn from this game. My competitive instincts take over, and I do not like losing a game like that. At the same time, our kids know that they can play and they can be a good team and they have to continue to work really hard because the margin for error is so small. Credit Wisconsin; they are a heck of a team and they had a great plan. It really was a great basketball game. Our 12,700 fans did not go home happy, but my hope is that they can at least say they saw a good game."

?On player stepping up for a high-stakes matchup ?... "Unless we are on fire, making every shot -- even those we don't expect to go in -- we are going to have to come from behind and stay solid. The big issue tonight is that their offensive rebounds, all nine of them, were just huge. That includes three on one particular time down the floor, and that is what they do. We have seen someone -- tonight it was (Sam) Dekker -- make that same shot at the end of the shot clock every year for what feels like eight years. It is part of why they are so good. I am envious, but I am glad that they are part of the Big Ten because they are a great team."

?On the productivity of Derrick Walton Jr.?... "The biggest thing when facing Wisconsin is embracing the physicality of the game. Those bumps that every team at this level gives you -- sometimes it is a foul, sometimes it is not -- causes players to get to the line and just stop. We teach driving through the bump to get to the second bump, and Derrick (Walton Jr.) did that a couple of times tonight, and that was a huge step for him."

?On productive minutes from the bigs ?... "We had some big follow-up baskets from guys. Max (Bielfeldt) continues to play like a warrior out there in the limited minutes that he does get. Ricky (Doyle) had a great second half; he did not feel it in the first half, but that is the way it's going to be. Collectively they will have to give us as much as they can, and they had to handle a load today, between (Nigel) Hayes and (Frank) Kaminsky and then (Sam) Dekker coming in to rebound. Without the three of them I do not know what we would do."

U-M Senior Forward Max Bielfeldt

On proving Michigan is competitive without Caris LeVert ... "We are a tough, gritty team, and we believe no matter who goes down, we're going to rally together around our principles. It's worked for so long, we just kind of stick to it and keep playing together."

On where the game's added intensity came from ... "I think it was a little bit of everyone. Like I said, with Caris (LeVert) down, guys just know that they have to bring an extra something. The freshmen are playing more confident. We got a little run going against a really good team, and I think it just shows our competitiveness."

On going against Frank Kaminsky ... "Kaminsky and (Nigel) Hayes are both tall guys. (Sam) Dekker is in there at 6-9 too, so they have a pretty big lineup. They were crashing the boards real hard. We had a little tough time keeping them off for a little bit, but they're really good players and have a lot of talent."

On passing on knowledge of experience to Ricky Doyle and Mark Donnal ... "I try to do that a little bit here and there; nothing I can remember off the top of my head. It is more about what I see at the moment. Ricky had a couple big rebounds; Mark made a big shot; those plays are momentum-changers. Just keep encouraging them, trust your gut and keep doing what they can do."

U-M Sophomore Guard Zak Irvin

On Caris LeVert's role while being injured ... "He's a coach out there, helping us out. He's keeping us motivated, especially when we went down, I think 11 points early in the second half. We were able to stay together and just make our run."

On the pressure to be the difference without Caris LeVert... "Caris is so much for us; we just have to have guys that step up, and I thought we were able to do that tonight. Especially our bench, I think they had over 20 points coming off the bench, and that's big for us. We just have to keep that going in the future."

On whether or not he thinks he can be the difference in tight games in the future ... "Yes definitely, I think so. I'm just going to keep working hard, and hopefully when my shot comes back. That will be a big factor for us going forward."

On whether or not the game proves Michigan can play with the best in the Big Ten ... "Yes, definitely. We knew going into this game that it was going to be a dogfight, and it wasn't going to be easy. We wanted to go get this one, especially in front of the great atmosphere that we had today. We thought we executed the game plan really well, and we took it to overtime, and Wisconsin is just one hell of a team."

U-M Sophomore Guard Derrick Walton Jr.

On the last minute 3-point-shot that sent the game into overtime ... "Every day we work on those last-second situations. Zak (Irvin) can make that shot. Aubrey (Dawkins) can make that shot. Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman) can. You will see guys stepping up in different situations depending on how the game is going. It just so happened to be me tonight."

On the defensive performance ... "I just want to credit their bigs. They did a great job of showing one thing and doing another. (Frank) Kaminsky and (Nigel) Hayes got into the sweet spots and found their shooters. The first couple of times we could discourage them, but as the game went on they found some weak spots. We will study it and get better at it."

On how the team played without Caris LeVert ... "With or without Caris, we feel like we are able to compete with anybody. Most of all, I am really proud of the younger guys being able to showcase what they can do with the opportunity they are given. I think tonight and other games prove we can play with anybody."

On whether or not this is a moral victory for the team ... "Of course we look at it like that, but at the end of the day we want to get a win. You credit them (Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Aubrey Dawkins) for making the plays they need to make down the stretch. Going forward it gives us some hope, but this is tough. We really wanted this one."

University of Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan

On considering to foul with three-point lead late in regulation ... "We have a philosophy, there's time when we will. We never got into that situation, we were trying to set it up, and we were just a little late. That's still a tough three, but there are times when we will so that we avoid the four-point play and avoid a three-point play on a guy driving ready to pull up and shoot."

On responding early in overtime compared to a more inexperienced Michigan team ... "They were always responding, this is a Big Ten game. These guys have all played basketball. Sometimes you might have more years of experience; maybe you don't have the athleticism or jumping ability, but easily in a game like this it's all pretty equal. It's the exact kind of game we talked about, us coaches, and try to get the guys to understand. It's the Big Ten, it's a road game, and this is how it is.

On the three-pointer at the end of regulation and the strong overtime start ... "We have some guys that have been through quite a bit. They (Michigan) were jacked, they were the ones who tied it, and they were the ones flying high."

On his impressions of Derrick Walton Jr. ... "He's quick, and he hit some shots; I don't know what he ended up shooting from the floor. What was he? Four-of-12; he shot it better, but (Zak) Irvin hit some. A big key is two turnovers in 25 minutes in the second half. The way we were throwing the ball around, I asked one of the managers to call back home and buy this building that's near my house, and I was going to build a bakery. I'm telling you, I was going to build a bakery. Wow, that's not us."

On games going to the wire with Michigan ... "It's two old guys doing this [butting heads]. I'm referring to John (Beilein) and I, battling it out, two old-school guys having fun. Yes, they have been, pretty close and pretty interesting for [the media]."

On having the experience of Frank Kaminsky and Josh Gasser and others in the final minutes ... "I'm not trading them, but again that's why we've worked with them since the time they've come into the program and try to get them to this point. That's what they've been working on, that's what we're trying to teach them. So they had a chance to use some of that. Sam (Dekker) had two really bad misses, and he grimaced once on the catch of a pass, so I had to get him out of there. I knew somebody was going to ask me. He had a cut, and it was hard. But we got him back in there; he didn't touch the ball very much, but his presence (mattered)."

On (Bronson) Keonig's free throws at the end of regulation ... "He was solid. I said at halftime, when was Keonig's last basket? It was 13-something to go on a drive and lay up, but it's not like the other guys took bad shots, but you pick your poison; whoever they're going to leave open. They were changing the zone, forcing different reads as the ball goes to the wing and the base line. You're always going to shade more to a guy that's hit a couple shots in the zone."

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