Beilein Goes With Veterans in Michigan Win

Michigan coach John Beilein stuck with the veterans in the second half as the Wolverines came back from a one-point halftime deficit to beat Detroit 71-62. Afterward Beilein says there's several different ways for the freshmen to learn.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Detroit Mercy (1-2) coach Ray McCallum Sr. had an interesting comment after Michigan’s (3-0) 71-62 win Thursday night at Crisler Center.

“We told our guys if the freshmen are going to be out there it’s not going to be good for us,” McCallum Sr. said post game. “We anticipated them having to go -- if we were playing well -- that they would have to go with their veteran guys because it’s the preseason.

“And as coaches you’re trying to get guys experience but the bottom line is trying to win games.”

And that’s exactly what Michigan did following a first half of heavy pressure by the Titans resulting in six first half turnovers for the Wolverines.

John Beilein leaned heavily on his five veterans, keeping the freshmen off the floor most of the second half except for minor substitutions here and there.

“I didn’t like the way the second half started,” Beilein said. “I just felt they were going to come out of halftime and just go after us and we needed to withstand that.

“So when I took Kam (Chatman) out we said we’re just riding with this and see what it does and it’s been very effective in practice. As we grow the young guys, we still got to win games.”

Sophomore point guard Derrick Walton Jr. never left the floor Thursday, playing all 40 minutes of regulation while Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert each logged 38 minutes.

The lineup of those three along with Spike Albrecht and newfound veteran center luxury Max Bielfeldt, keyed Michigan’s spurts down the stretch.

“I think there was a couple pivotal moments,” Beilein said. “When they went up 34-30 and we really did not execute offensively, it could’ve went the other way. And then we made a run and they jumped right back into it.

“That was good for us to see and probably the biggest reason we kept so many of the young guys off the floor and kept experience in there.”

Only two freshmen reached double digits in minutes in Kameron Chatman (10) and Mark Donnal (15).

Regardless, Beilein hopes the freshmen can grasp some things from this experience, even from the bench.

“There’s certain ways you can learn,” Beilein said. “Sometimes you throw them in there and you learn through real adversity, like losses.

“We’re going to have to pick and choose and learn in practice as much as we learn on the floor.”

Albrecht, who played a season high 32 minutes scoring six points to go with four assists, says it’s just another test this team had to go through.

“I think this was the first real taste, not only them, but we all got of seeing someone who kind of presented some match-up problems and kind of got into us defensively,” Albrecht said.

“Give them credit, they did a good job and we struggled a little bit in the first half. Fortunately we were able to clean things up a little bit at halftime.”

No veteran was more important to that second half run than LeVert who caught fire over the final 20 minutes, scoring 17 of his 21-points, including a 10-0 run all on his own with 12:54 to play, culminating in a tough lay-in and the foul.

“He’s one of those guys that is multi dimensional,” Beilein said. “He’s so quick he can get into the paint, he shoots it very well, and he really can see his assists. That was big for us.

“Now, and it was probably a good thing, we had six three-pointers probably go in and out. And that’s a good thing cause now we know that’s going to happen sometimes, you still got to win with your defense.”

Michigan did receive some better bounces in that second half, finishing the game making 6-of-12 three-pointers after sinking just 3-of-12 in the first half.

Michigan now heads to Brooklyn Monday to take on Oregon (2-0) in the Legends Classic.

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