John Beilein says first half for Michigan a 'defining moment'

Michigan head coach John Beilein says first a 'defining moment' for the Wolverines on Sunday.

Michigan completed the 73-69 upset over Louisville on Sunday to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

For a team that many thought weren't going to be in the tournament a few weeks ago to now shining in the month of March, the U-M story has many twists and turns with the final chapter yet to be written.

Head coach John Beilein spoke to the media after the victory and beamed with pride. He says the end of the first half, despite it being ugly for the Wolverines, as a major factor of how his team was able to turn things around.

All in all, Beilein says this win is a whole team effort.

"So proud of these guys," Beilein said. "The end of the first half, I thought was a defining moment for our team in this particular game. We could have approached that differently. We were coming back, shot clock's down, they nail a 3. I think they came back down again, nailed another 3. Then all of a sudden, we got a foul, and they get two more. We're down eight at half. A team that isn't as experienced, that despite have the poise we have, would come back and try to win it all right away. We won every four-minute period until we got ahead in the game. And just by playing in those little increments made a big difference. 

"Coaches helping me, assistant coach is helping me, great game plan, Billy Donlon, 69 points. I can't tell you how many plays Jeff and Saddi suggested that worked. It was a great team win for everybody."

The Wolverines proved on Sunday that it doesn't have to rely on the three-point shot to win the game. While Oklahoma State gave U-M the three, Louisville took it away. U-M relied heavily on Moritz Wagner and D.J. Wilson and it paid dividends.

For Beilein, playing the inside game isn't exactly his bread and butter, he proved that he is capable of getting it done when needed.

"You can't do both with them," Beilein said on playing Wagner and Wilson inside. "We work on it a lot. You won't believe. People think we're a 3-point shooting machine. You can't do that anymore unless you can drive the ball or both D.J. and Mo. We've worked hard, Saddi Washington, to play one-on-one in the post. People are sticking with our shooters. We do that a little bit with Jordan Morgan during good years and Mitch McGary and DeShawn Sims. We haven't been able to do that in many of our years now. It's a big game changer, as well as Derrick Walton and Muhammad not settling for jump shots. They can take the ball to the basket and finish. We've been working on it endlessly. We've been working on it for four years."


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