U-M / Minnesota Postgame

John Beilein reflects upon Michigan's 62-57 victory over Minnesota. The Wolverines' headman sheds light on the Wolverines' comeback effort, Ricky Doyle's strong performance, and more. A host of Maize & Blue players and Minnesota headman Richard Pitino also chime in.

Michigan Head Coach John Beilein

Opening statement ... "Really, I just thought it was a great basketball game. Minnesota came in as a really good basketball team, and we really just answered the challenge that they gave us. We got up in the first, and they took the lead going into halftime. In the second half, we fumbled away the beginning, and they got out on us. It was similar to the Illinois game. I love the way our kids just hung in there. They took tough shots. We only had nine turnovers, but all of them were costly. We had some moments that were really good, and then some that we didn't capitalize on. We came out in the second half, and we played great defense but gave it away in transition. Our defense for the most part was good, we broke down a little bit, but down the stretch when we got the bonus and double-bonus, we knew they were just going to drive us; they were really quick. We decided to stay with the three-zone, which helped us figure what they would do."

On overcoming the nine-point deficient ... "Derrick Walton Jr. was key today. He's been banged up pretty good, but he's getting healthier, not 100-percent healthy, but he was the guy who was making his shots. Zak (Irvin) and Spike (Albrecht) have had good games for us. Caris LeVert has certainly been the guy who's been carrying our flag. But today it was all about Derrick, Caris and a few different players down the stretch. We were just going to trust that Derrick was going to make the right decision. That's a heck of a play there for Rickey Doyle too. And he told me in the huddle, I'm just throwing it up to dunk."

On Ricky Doyle's last-minute alley oop ... "We called the play, and he's got good reads. Derrick (Walton Jr.) was going to throw that baby up there, and then they'd have to figure something out. It was really a great choice by Derrick on that play."

On getting into situations where a great comeback is needed ... "You have to just watch this team and enjoy the progression. We're going to shoot ourselves in the foot many times over the year and then have to come back. It's just going to be part of it. The adversity is going to make us better, so down the road we'll learn to do this and we could lose. It makes it a little harder, but we'll really break down that film and show them that we can't put ourselves in this position. At the same time, whether you're home or away, you really have an opportunity to win every game if you just hang in there and stay solid. Just don't get dumb trying to get 10 points at a time."

On the 1989 Throwback jerseys ... "The '89 throwbacks. They were pretty nice. The first questions our guys asked was if they could keep them. I believe now they are allowed to keep them. We'll get them clean, and we'll let them keep them at the end of the year, if they continue to play really well. I think it was a great idea by adidas to promote that. Our kids were really excited about wearing that uniform."

U-M Sophomore Guard Zak Irvin

On the team's defensive performance today ... "We are able to switch up our defense, and that makes us better defensively because our opponents don't know what we are going to play. I really like the three-zone. I think that had a big impact on the game today. It seemed to rattle them a little bit, and that's when we made our run."

On three-point drought in the first half ... "As a team, we always have had the mentality that the next one is going in. We tried to get the ball inside and get to the line as well, and we were hoping to get back in rhythm."

On rallying to score late in the game ... "We had to dig deep. We told each other to stay connected. We went through a lot of adversity in the game, but we were able to get the big win this afternoon. "

U-M Sophomore Guard Derrick Walton Jr.

?On the alley oops to Zak Irvin and Ricky Doyle? ... "As you know, Zak (Irvin) worked on his vertical jump over the spring, so I have confidence throwing the ball up to him and letting him finish. All season, Ricky (Doyle) has been finishing in a crowd, so of course I have confidence throwing it to my big fella."

?On the alley-oop play to Ricky Doyle? ... "We saw the entire game that they were face-guarding Caris (LeVert), and whenever we ran pick-and-roll action to the side his man would affect our roll man, so my job was to read how the big man played and how Caris' man played, and Ricky (Doyle) was open."

?On turning the game around when they were down 49-40? ... "Our fans do a great job giving us energy. We wanted to protect the home court, and Crisler did a great job of giving us energy to feed off of. After that, we strung a couple of plays together, and we were able to win tonight. Also, we are young, and guys are still learning how each possession is very valuable. As time goes by you'll see this team start to become very consistent with their effort and play."

U-M Junior Guard Spike Albrecht

?On the importance of this win after facing a large deficit late in the game? ... "Coaches always preach to keep fighting until the last buzzer, and that's what we did. That was the message relayed with eight minutes to go, just keep working hard and getting stops, then get out and run in transition. I thought we did a really good job executing in the last six to eight minutes of the game."

?On not getting the charge call late in the game ? ... "I was setting up for a charge in our zone, and I didn't get the call. I landed kind of hard on my back, and you guys probably know I got a little bit overexcited. I apologized to the ref; I kind of lost it a little bit out there."

?On running the extended zone moving forward? ... "It was really good today. We work really hard in practice trying to disrupt teams when our man-to-man defense isn't going as well as we'd like. We just try to throw something at them to keep them off guard, and I thought we did a good job with it today."

?On Walton throwing the alley oop to Doyle late in the game? ... "That was D-Walt going to work. He just took over in the second half. He had that aggressive mindset. He was getting downhill and making plays and shots, and that's what we needed him to do."

U-M Freshman Forward Ricky Doyle

On handling Maurice Walker ... "He was really good at rebounding his own misses. He is a pretty big body. I was trying to chest him up as much I could to miss his first shot. I was also trying to get the rebound at the same time. That is a skill I need to develop, making sure a guy doesn't get a second-chance rebound. I will be working on that."

On what the team can improve on defensively ... "We are working on 2-3 zones and 1-3-1. Everyone is still learning a little bit. There are some areas we need to work on, and we are going to get better at it."

Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino

Opening statement ... "You don't have to be an expert to figure out why we lost that game. Give them credit because they made us pay when we made ridiculous turnovers. So give them credit. We knew it would be difficult."

On pinpointing the reason for turnovers ... "Their 2-3 zone wasn't effective. We got an open look on it. They went 1-3-1. I thought we were getting some good looks. You can't beat anybody playing like that on the offensive side, turning the ball over. I thought we played hard. We had a good attitude. We had a great will to win, but it's very simple. When you turn the ball over like that there is nothing you can do."

On his impression of Michigan's talent ... "I think they are an interesting team. You have (Zak) Irvin, (Caris) LeVert and (Derrick) Walton Jr., who are really high-level players. I think Spike (Albrecht) is an even better player than he gives himself credit for. I think at the end of the year they will be a good team when Coach Beilein blends them all together. They have some talent, and they are well coached, so that is a nice recipe for success."

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