U-M / Nebraska Postgame

John Beilein reflects upon Michigan's 58-44 bounce-back victory over Nebraska. The Wolverines' headman discusses his team's strong defensive effort, Derrick Walton's double double, and more.

Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "Terran Petteway had a bad game today, just like last year. We were very fortunate to get a win because of that. We are really proud of our guys. As you noticed, Derrick (Walton Jr.) wasn't able to play -- he wasn't in practice these last two days or able to do anything. We thought that wasn't going to change if we didn't give him some time off. Mark Donnal came up sick just this morning. We tested him for a bunch of things. We could have given him minutes if we needed him, but given the fact that Ricky (Doyle) and Max (Bielfeldt) were pretty comfortable, led us to decide not to use him and give him some rest. Guys stepped up all over the place -- particularly Max and Spike (Albrecht) and Zak Irvin. One of the things I was really working with Zak on over the summer -- and continue to work on -- was rebounding and assists. For him to get 12 rebounds and three assists is a huge step in his growth. It was a good win for us, and now for the first time we'll have a four-day break between games. We will get some rest over these next days before our next game."

On shooting well against one of the best defenses in the country ... "We made some tough shots early. Don't make any mistake, Aubrey (Dawkins) came out firing. Zak (Irvin) made a couple. We got ourselves going a little bit. Spike (Albrecht) did a really great job of finding people in areas where they could score. Then Ricky (Doyle) got one inside and Max (Bielfeldt) got a couple inside. That's what we see every day in practice. We saw some weakness in some areas and we tried to exploit it, and it sure worked."

On keeping Nebraska to just 44 points ... "We tried to change a lot of things on them, just because (Terran) Petteway and (Shavon) Shields are so talented so we tried to just get them out of rhythm. Once they get comfortable, they're really a good team. We took a chance there that if we kept them out of rhythm they wouldn't be able to use some of the great talent they have. Some of that worked."

On the importance of winning against Nebraska ... "It was a really big step for us right now. Zak Irvin had three assists. He made a play in our offense where he ended up throwing a -- what we would call -- a late block pass. We had been working on it and he hadn't been able to do it in games. Sometimes that bridge will lead to other things. We're just fortunate right now that we were able to make enough shots and keep them off the glass and make sure that we didn't turn it over too much. We had some tough turnovers in there, but we didn't turn it over too badly."

On his thoughts about the win and rest of the season ... "They all run together. I'm just glad that we could do this. I am glad that we could get some quality minutes for these guys and get the win for Caris (LeVert), for Derrick (Walton Jr.) and for Mark Donnal, who felt terrible before the game. Mark said he could go if we needed him badly, but we didn't get in too bad of foul trouble so really it was a good win. We're 6-3 in the league at the halfway point. Who knows what we can do going forward?"

U-M Senior Forward Max Bielfeldt
On whether or not Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman are intimidated by their new roles with veterans out ..."With the amount of minutes they are playing, they are getting into the rhythm a lot quicker. They are getting those second chances that people haven't quite had in the past. They will mess up a couple of times, but you can see they are catching on quickly. Aubrey (Dawkins) is playing his butt off. You have Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman) making big drives and already playing like a veteran point guard in some aspects. It's exciting to see."

On where his energy to chase loose balls in the second half came from ... "Adrenaline. Really it is so much fun to play with these guys right now because we are so close, and this is such a close team. We are playing like it out there. We are making the extra passes and gang rebounding. It's a lot of fun to be a part of right now."

On whether or not he feels a sense of urgency to perform in his senior season ... "It's not like I feel like there is a flame behind me, like I have to start doing stuff. I am feeling good. The team is playing well. It's just a lot of fun."

U-M Sophomore Guard Zak Irvin
On what fueled tonight's team offensive performance ... "We were able to stay together. We have fought through a lot of adversity this year. With Derrick (Walton Jr.) and Caris (LeVert) both out, we are even closer than we have been, and we were able to go out there and show that tonight."

On the bench producing the way it has ?... "The guys on the bench played a big role, a key role in tonight's game. We could not buy a basket at one point in the first half and then Aubrey (Dawkins) got hot, which was big for us. Max (Bielfeldt) played really well and so did Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman). These freshmen are growing up quickly and that is something that we need to have at this point."

On adjustments made within the game ... "We just had to take good shots, especially with Caris (LeVert) being out. He did a lot for us, so we can't take those quick shots that we are used to taking. We have to take the best shots for us."

On out-competing teams being a shorthanded team ... "That is huge for us. We have to bring that effort every night. I think that we had a big chip on our shoulder after that tough loss we took against Wisconsin, and we brought it out against Nebraska tonight."

U-M Freshman Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
On how increased playing time has improved his game ... "Gaining experience is really important to anybody. Being out there is letting me grow one game at a time. I am getting used to the physicality of the game of college basketball."

On the message in the locker room after the decision that Derrick Walton Jr. would not play ... "We have a next-man-up mentality. When one person goes down, we prepare for the next person to be ready to step in. We just take one game at a time. We think we have a chance of winning every game. We are instilling confidence in every single player, to the last person on the bench. You never know whose day it is going to be."

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles?
Opening statement? ... "I thought we were a little loose in the locker room, and usually that's a bad sign for us. I didn't think we had much edge coming out, and maybe finding out that (Derrick) Walton was out during warm-ups lightened them up. Michigan basketball is a big deal, John Beilein is an unbelievable coach, and I don't think they understand the strength of their system. They've got quality players behind guys, too, and I just thought that they out-competed us, they out-executed us, and we didn't show much heart. That was disappointing."

On Michigan's ability to play through the injuries to Derrick Walton Jr. and Caris LeVert? ... "I was really impressed with Aubrey (Dawkins). We recruited him a little bit out of high school, talked to Johnny (Dawkins) about him, so I knew he was a good wing, and we knew he could get going so we wanted to try and eat up his space, but we just couldn't get to him. He had a really good first half, and that hurt us. I thought Max Bielfeldt getting 12 (points) and nine (rebounds) was critical in the second half, because even when we were down 10 or 11, he was getting extra possessions (for Michigan) and out-hustling us to rebounds, and that was tough. I thought he out-scrapped us that way. And (Zak) Irvin is a good player. Zak is a good shooter, he's got great length and athleticism, and we were all over him on his three at the end of the shot clock in the first half. He can do that; he can make those plays. I think you have to credit Beilein to start with, because I thought their system was set as soon we got into a rhythm against anything. For instance, in the second half, we made a run against their 2-3 zone and never saw one again. Then he went to a 1-3-1 and we got discombobulated. Those guys played to their strengths, played to their roles. Unfortunately, they shot 54 percent in the second half, and we're not going to beat anybody allowing that."

On Terran Petteway only scoring seven points despite coming in averaging 19.6 points per game ... "When (Terran) Petteway and (Shavon) Shields combine for 5-of-23 shooting, we're going to struggle. Whenever your best players struggle, especially on a team that has two scorers, we're going to struggle. Terran couldn't find his way very well, and he had a tough night. When you can't score you're not going to beat anybody. I was disappointed in the points in the paint, too. They go 11-of-18 in the paint for 22 points, and we go 7-of-18 for 14 points. And they don't really have a good shot blocker. (Ricky) Doyle is a good-sized kid, and Max (Bielfeldt) isn't a kid that's going to block a lot of shots, but (Aubrey) Dawkins came in and blocked one, which I thought was a good play, and Zak (Irvin) got one, too. You've got to play better than 7-of-18 in the paint."

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