U-M / MSU Postgame

John Beilein, Zak Irvin, Spike Albrecht, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman recap Michigan's 80-57 loss to Michigan State.

Postgame interviews courtesy of MGoBlue.com

Michigan Head Coach John Beilein 
On what made playing Michigan State so difficult ... "Every time that we got something, they ended up getting second-chance points or scrambling around to get a layup. At different times, our guys lost focus of the clock, and they still had a man to guard. It's part of the process that we have to go through right now."

On trying to climb out of first-half hole ... "(Travis) Trice came out shooting the ball really well. They even had their point guard (Bryn Forbes) making a three, which is just his second of the year. At the beginning, the big difference was that they could get a couple of transition baskets, and they were able to hit those threes early. That created a little separator, and that was tough for us. With our depth the way we continue to grow as a team, we aren't a great comeback team. We haven't done a whole lot of that this year."

On challenges with guarding Branden Dawson ... "When we did get him to miss, which wasn't that often, he cleaned up the rebounds. He has great hands and great touch around the basket. When he, (Travis) Trice and (Denzel) Valentine are on the court, even I could get open shots in the wings. The backcourt is solid, and it should be. They are really well coached. They have two seniors and a junior who have been at the top of the Big Ten for three years, and they played like it today."

U-M Junior Guard Spike Albrecht

On the disappointment following the loss ... "It's tough to lose a big rivalry game, especially at home. You have to credit them. They played really well, and we aren't going to win many games when we give up 62-percent shooting from the field. It's the first time we have lost at home to them in a few years, so it is tough."

On pinpointing what went wrong defensively ... "We could not keep them off the glass. That was tough. Their guards were playing extremely well. We tried switching things up, but we seemed to be in a little funk defensively, and we couldn't get in a groove. You have to credit them, because they must have had a good game plan, and they executed it well. There are times with how loud it gets in here that it is hard to communicate. We have struggled with communicating and making sure we are all on the same page this year. That is something we continue to work on each day."

U-M Sophomore Guard/Forward Zak Irvin

On the mental game of basketball right now ... "There is a lot of frustration. I don't think I'm shooting the ball as well as I can. Sometimes I think about it too much. At the beginning of the season and all last season I was just shooting the ball. I need just try to stay confident out there and have my mindset right going in."

On the special guests in the locker room pregame ... "J-Mo (Jordon Morgan) and Nik (Stauskas) were in there talking to us. We were hearing from J-Mo, who didn't lose to Michigan State on this home court. He got us fired up, and it was good to hear. He's from the state of Michigan, so you know this means a lot to him. Nik came in and talked to us too; he got us fired up as well."

On Muhamad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman's second-half performance ... "When we huddled up, we knew we were down by 15 at halftime. We knew we were going to make our run; they had made theirs. Muhammad started off giving us a lot of energy coming out of the half. It was good to see."

U-M Freshman Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman

On other teams starting to game plan for him, especially after his 18-point game at Michigan State ... "Yes, that is something I have to adjust to. Teams are starting to pick up tendencies that I have. It's getting harder to score."

On the defensive looks given by Michigan State ... "They ran a lot of good sets. They're a good team, and we had a little trouble with their plays. I think that's all that happened."

On his impressions of the Michigan State rivalry as a freshman ... "It's a rivalry, you always want to play your best. You have to accept the challenge of playing a rivalry game. It's all fun."

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
Opening statement ... "Well obviously I thought the difference in the game was in the first half when we made shots and they didn't make them; they had shots. I thought our defense was good, I didn't think it was great. I thought they had some shots that they missed; I've been in that situation before. We made a lot of shots and that was a big difference, and we moved the ball very well. Every time we made a couple big plays though we still had the tendency to turn the ball over and make a mistake. I think that kept us from maybe putting the game away. I give them credit because I've been in those shoes when you have injured players, and I think they have done a hell of a job. They played everybody very tough. I think we're getting a little better, a little better. People are starting to understand their roles a little bit more. We talked about the seniors last week, (Branden) Dawson and (Travis) Trice were phenomenal tonight. Dawson gets four assists, he gets 13 rebounds, he gets 23 points, we made every front end of a 1 and 1, and my best free throw shooter missed the most free throws, (Keenan) Wetzel. I just thought all in all, we played pretty well, except I thought we fouled too much, and that put them at the line, and they're a very good free throw shooting team."

On Travis Trice's impact off the bench ... "Well they (Michigan) did do a good job on Denzel (Valentine), but we did a good job moving the ball. When they went zone, I thought one of our big keys is that we knew they would switch defenses. We said that we have to attack immediately so that it doesn't look like we don't know what we're doing. I thought we did a pretty good job of that. In our running game, Trice did a nice job pushing the ball tonight. That one stretch where he got (Branden) Dawson a couple dunks and a lay-up; those things were big. We had some easy buckets, and that's how you shoot 62 percent. Michigan has been a very good defensive team, and tonight we just made shoots, and they didn't."

On failing to put the game away ... "That was the disappointing part of the night. I didn't think we closed off very well at all. In fact, I think we actually made some ridiculous errors. The game plan was that we weren't going to close in on penetrators, especially when you have (Zak) Irvin and (Aubrey) Dawkins in the corners, and we did. We had a couple of turnovers. We got a bit out of control when we had a 16-point lead, and Branden (Dawson) came down, there you could put it to 17 or 18, and we turned it over. We weren't disciplined enough, so that will give us some good coaching points hopefully down the stretch."

On Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman's performance ... "I thought he just licked his chops. The guy we had guarding him just went at him. He had three baskets in a row where he just tried to take the game over himself, and they were kind of tough shots. We had some issues guarding still, we're a pretty good team defensively, but we have some liabilities that we're working on. I thought Muhammad played very, very well. (Zak) Irvin bounced back and played pretty well too. I thought Muhammad was the guy; he played with some energy and played with some passion. He looked like he wanted to try and take the game over, and that's pretty good for a freshman."

On the team finding their stride at the right time ... "You look at what we have left, at Wisconsin, we're at Indiana, we're at Illinois, and then we have two of the hotter teams in Minnesota and Purdue at home. I don't feel very good about anything right now, other than the big win tonight. I think we have a lot of work to do yet. We have to become more disciplined; we just have to be more solid if we're going to close some people out. You play a rivalry game; it's a rivalry game. For the most part, we controlled most of the game, and I do have to give our team some credit for that."

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