Beilein Likes Defensive ‘Quickness,' Passing

Michigan coach John Beilein appeared to walk away quite pleased after his Wolverines toppled Concordia 117-44 in their exhibition opener Tuesday night. Beilein on what he was able to gather from his young, talented team (VIDEO included).

ANN ARBOR—By the time the buzzer sounded at Crisler Center Tuesday night the final score between Michigan and Concordia didn’t matter.

Ok, the score really didn’t matter after roughly midway through the first half.

The No. 9 Wolverines were up 60-19 after 20-minutes and pressed harder on the gas in the final frame to walk away with a laughable 117-44 win.

Even so, Michigan coach John Beilein walked away with a few observations of his young, talented team, still without sophomore forward Mitch McGary.

“The two things that I saw was the quickness on defense that we have,” Beilein said afterward. “And once again, Concordia, although they’ve got some veterans right now, make no mistake, they’re not like the competition we’re going to see later on, but that was the big thing. I’m watching our defense and our gaps and all those things, was very good.

“And then the sharing of the ball. I mean our core value is unity, we talk about that, and that was, to have those 26 assists is incredible because you miss some shots too. That’s a great selling point for our team.”

Beilein later added, “You score over 100-points yet you were patient with your shots so, our guys did a good job of seeing each other.”

Michigan shot 65-percent from the field (41-for-63) and 50-percent from three-point range (11-for-22) against Concordia, paced by a game high 33-points out of sophomore wing Glenn Robinson III, 23-points from Nik Stauskas, and 16-points to go with 10 assists for Caris LeVert.

Beilein wouldn’t go as far as to say the team on display Tuesday night is exactly what he’s seen so far in practice, at least from a shooting perspective, but believes the reason for the positive offensive flow is two-fold.

“We have really passed the ball well, one through five, whoever is playing out there,” he said. “And we’re cutting really harder than any team of, at this point in the year, that I’ve coached.

“And that just opens the floor out when guys are really cutting hard and that’s not easy to do. Sometimes when you’re playing so many minutes it’s hard to cut like that but we had some really good action today that can get you into open space and I think we might run the floor, as well, if not better than teams in the past.”

Michigan sophomore Spike Albrecht got the start at point guard over true freshman Derrick Walton, though both did man the backcourt at the same time in certain sequences against Concordia.

Albrecht finished the night with five-points, four assists and just one turnover while Walton showed flashes of quickness, scoring, vision and superior passing ability in an 11-point, 4 assist, two steal performance, also turning the ball over just one time.

Freshman wing Zak Irvin made his debut for the Wolverines Tuesday, scoring 10-points on 4-for-7 shooting, while freshman forward Mark Donnal came in in the second half to promptly knock down a long two-pointer in front of the Michigan bench.

Donnal finished with three points and a block, Beilein still uncertain whether or not the Ohio native will play or redshirt this season, though a redshirt seems likely.

“The one thing that we’re trying to replace is Tim and Trey and you look at Derrick and Zak and there it is,” he said. “There’s a lot of older bigs right now, bigs with options that (with) Mark, we’re just going to teach him the game, watch him wait in the wings and consider, after you know he’s got one more game where he can play without burning a redshirt.”

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