BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Losing is never easy, especially when you played as good as Michigan did in the first half, said U-M coach John Beielein after his Wolverines lost their first round match up 70-63 to Notre Dame in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“When you’re up (41-29) at half and all of sudden ‘bang’ it’s a five point game in no time, yeah that’s one,” Beilein said. “But credit (ND). They won a lot games this year. They beat some really good teams, right? They played really well when they had to. Those last 20 minutes they were better than us. The first 20 minutes we were better than them.
“But we gave up 41 points in the second half, only 29 in the first half. It was a big difference in the game.”
V.J Beachem scored a game-high 18 points, but none were more crucial than his three-pointer that gave Notre Dame its first lead 51-48 with 9:27 remaining, capping off their 22-7 run to start the second half.
“He was terrific,” Beilein said of Beachem. “Nothing was bigger than the shot clock three. I mean it was deep, it was really deep, it was a momentum changer in the game I thought.”
Adding: “It was a big play in the game. We couldn’t answer some of those plays.”
Notre Dame will take on Stephen F. Austin this Sunday in the second round.
Moving forward, Michigan must focus on the little things this off-seaosn says Beilein, who noted they can use this loss as motivation heading into their 2016-17 season.
“Now take this loss right here, take the ups and downs of this season and take it into the off-season,” Beilein said. “Alright, ‘I got to do these things better.’ Individual defense, post defense, just how we approach a pickup game, we got to get a whole lot better. I think got to better culture, so kids do better in their off season. I think we got to get back to really understand how much work they have to do without over doing it in some areas like we’ve discussed, sometimes we might over do it.”
“I think we got some guys coming in who can give us help,” Beilein said of his 2016 class. “And there is some guys here who can improve, and improve a great deal.”