Beilein Out of Answers vs. 'Quick' EMU Zone

Michigan coach John Beilein was quick to credit Eastern Michigan's zone defense following 45-42 loss at Crisler Center Tuesday

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan just beat it.

Exactly a week ago at home against Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Wolverines were up to the task against a long, assignment based zone defense employed by coaching legend Jim Boeheim.

But Tuesday night at Crisler Center, Eastern Michigan executed a zone, with essentially the same principles, to perfection as Michigan managed to muster just 42-points in a 45-42 loss to the Eagles.

“It’s so much quicker,” Michigan coach John Beilein said afterward. “Just incredibly quicker and of course they had our scouting report. You don’t see a lot of it. I think we’ll see it with Ohio State this year, but they had the scouting report so we tried to wrinkle some things but much, much quicker.

“I’ve never seen anything that quick,” added Beilein. “They got everywhere. The first two times that Caris (LeVert) got the ball they just took it from him. They were on him like crazy.”

In that win over the Orange, the Wolverines knocked down 11-of-33 three-point attempts, including 50-percent (8-for-16) in the second half on their way to 68-points.

Against Eastern Michigan and coach Rob Murphy, an assistant under Boeheim from 2004 to 2011, Michigan connected on just 4-of-21 shots from downtown, good for a putrid 19-percent.

“We didn’t get open shots,” Beilein said. “If you’re missing a lot of open shots then you’d probably have a confidence (issue). We didn’t get many open shots. They were really good.

“We pride ourselves on being a pretty good offensive team and our coaches do pretty good; we didn’t have a lot of answers today, their quickness was overwhelming.”

Suffocating might be the best way to describe what Eastern Michigan did to the Michigan offense.

Extending the zone to defend the three-point line with great success, the Wolverines looked to attack off the dribble but again found trouble with several tipped balls and steals inside.

Michigan turned the ball over 13 times compared to just eight assists, including a shocking four turnovers from junior Spike Albrecht, as well as three a piece from LeVert and sophomore point guard Derrick Walton Jr.

“I wore out the chalkboard,” Beilein said. “I wore it out with different things that we could do. First of all you’ve got to have a really good passing team and you’ve got to have guys that can really see and make quick shots.

“And when we did get the few that we could get right, we didn’t knock enough of those down. We got five or six really good looks that maybe change the game.”

Despite shooting just 38.5-percent from the field against Syracuse, Michigan was aided heavily by attacking the offensive glass, securing 17 offensive rebounds in the win over the Orange.

Tuesday, the Wolverines managed just one offensive board.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories