Poise a Key in Duke Upset

Michigan head coach John Beilein reacts to his team's 81-73 upset victory over fourth ranked Duke Blue Devils. The Wolverines headman discusses the play of Deshawn Sims, Zack Novak, the atmosphere in Crisler Arena for the game, and more.

John Beilein Opening Statement:  "Great atmosphere wasn't it? Great atmosphere.  I think we were very fortunate against a very good team.  Duke is a much better shooting team than that.  I thought we forced them into some guarded shots.  They got some pretty good looks that they just lost some rhythm in and they couldn't make them like they did at the end.  But that allowed us to really get into some transition points because it is so hard to score on them.  I think it was playing from ahead…playing ahead in the second half is really helpful for us.  I'm really proud of everything.  I'm proud of DeShawn (Sims), everybody, but DeShawn was just…I was mad him for his defense but yet he just kept scoring and rebounding and doing everything.  It was only a couple of plays.  I'm just proud of our team, little bit stuck for words right now."

Question:  How tough is it when they start hitting the threes and you've got to try to match the three with free throws and just the composure that you guys showed?

John Beilein:  "You knew that was going to come.  They are just too good of a shooting team.  If you look at their stats at eight games last year to right now; they have the exact same stats except they're shooting 42%, 32%.  We knew that wasn't going to last forever.  That line is affecting everybody just a little bit more, but that is the only thing that you can do.  When we got under a minute, then we felt that we had to play them all man to man.  What we didn't like at the start of the second half.  The biggest difference between Duke's team last year and this year's team is the amount of time that they go to the foul line.  They're just getting to the foul line.  They didn't shoot a foul shot in the first half.  The second half, boom, boom, boom, we got five or six team fouls, so we had to stay with the zone longer and then at the end we tried to save the man, because they're good enough to get into the lane and get fouled."

Question:  You mentioned good fortune; what did your team do beyond fortune and beyond them having a cold day shooting?

John Beilein:  "I think our poise has grown here in every game from Savannah State comeback to Maryland... learning experience plus poise.  We did come back and take the lead in the Maryland game but it was on the road and it was too much to do that.  I think that we're gaining with some poise.  I think we still had three time outs at the end of the game.  I'm just saying that they kept their composure any time that Duke would make a run, but like I said, for whatever, they had a poor shooting night and that really helped us keep our composure."

Question:  Have you always seen that ability in DeShawn Sims that you saw out there?

John Beilein:  "About 10 days into the season, we made a decision that he was really comfortable there.  Playing more in the middle of the floor, a little bit on the wing, but more in the middle of the floor and just play smaller and let him play more of a 15 foot game and then space out for three as opposed to last year when we were trying to make him a perimeter four.  It's helpful because he has got more skill than he had before.  He really loves that middle of the floor whether it's from the block or whatever.  He's passing the ball; he's just getting more comfortable with what he has to do."

Question:  Zack Novak said that with this kind of a team that still rebuilding two weeks is still a long, long time; what was the biggest difference that you saw tonight as opposed to what you saw in New York against this team?

John Beilein:  "I think Zack Novak made a few shots.  We ended up rebounding the ball.  Sometimes it is just an effort area.  Sometimes it is technique, sometimes the ball just bounces your way and we were able to get into transition so we could score points.  They are very difficult to score in half court, lock you up, make you go back down, make you dribble drive and we were a little bit better at that this time than we were last time.  Kelvin Grady was exceptional at using his quickness.  Manny (Harris) was just exceptional at just waiting for his opportunities to look for the gaps.  As we've watched Manny grow, he's looking for when there is a gap, not just putting his head down and saying I'll find a gap."

Question:  On his preseason feeling that this year would be full of highs and lows.

John Beilein:  "Rollercoaster.  Rollercoaster.  I guarantee it.  We don't want to go the other way, but experience tells you that.  This is the good part of the rollercoaster.  For me that's the part sort of going up, not the part going down."

Question: Is there any way in the preseason that you thought that you would have two wins against top five teams?

John Beilein:  "I will give you my stock answer, but it is really the truth.  I don't even like look at the schedule that much.  I don't even look at it.  I don't try and figure out what I want.  All I know is that I wanted to have an opportunity to have an atmosphere like this, where I get people to come back to Michigan basketball, to where people are excited to watch us play and they become a home advantage.  We definitely had a home advantage tonight because of our crowd.  Our kids played hard and we prepared very hard, but that was big to have that type of crowd behind us."

Question:  On whether the crowd was there because excitement over the team or excitement about Duke coming to town.

John Beilein:  "I'm sure it is Duke too.  I mean Duke doesn't play standing room only wherever they go and that's a credit to what they've done.  I think there are some people that are curious, because we were able to at least split in New York against two top five teams."

Question: DeShawn said one of the biggest difference is that last year he was learning, this year they are executing.  Do you concur with that?

John Beilein:  "Yeah I think tonight we really did some things that I'm really proud.  Their understanding from everything…I mean we had so many young kids out there, whether it is just college basketball or things that are unique to our system.  Most freshman are not…we had so many freshman getting valuable time last time and DeShawn playing really quality minutes for the first time.  They learn a lot from that.  Our coaching staff learned a lot from them as well.  Like I said, there is a lot of rough spots ahead of us, but we'll keep attacking them, just like the Maryland game, we got better after the Maryland game."

Question:  Coach Duke was up three with about eight minutes to go and Novak hits a couple of threes within 29 seconds or something like that; can you talk about how it almost seemed like that relaxed you guys and opened up the floodgates a little bit?

John Beilein:  "That's what we were missing.  Everybody talks about last year we were missing having those distance shooters… the guys who can really open the floor for DeShawn and Manny, and that was really a big difference.  We weren't as good of a shooting team last year, although I don't know if the numbers say it, but Zach and Stu (Douglass) can really shoot.  Both of those I believe were in transition situations.  So we had to get the stop first.  I will have to look at those shots and see how heavily they were guarded, but our transition has been very good to us this year, just like it's one of Duke's fortes as well."

Question: Yesterday you talked about being as physical as possible and you also downplayed the rebounding statistic earlier in the season; how happy are you that you actually did rebound and had more rebounds?

John Beilein:  "Yeah that doesn't happen very much with us does it that we ended up doing that.  But once again they missed a lot of shots.  They shot, I don't know what their end up percentage was; I haven't looked at it yet, but 41%...47%.  I guess we rebounded pretty good.  Their spread out like we are as well.  So it not like t hey have two guys on the block every minute just getting a rebound.  Their successful in playing a wide open style, there is some similarities in what were both doing and we're looking at the scoreboard more than we're looking at the rebound stat."

Question:  You've done this before and you know what big wins do, can you sense what this could do for the program in the larger big scale?

John Beilein:  "I'm hoping that whether in just excitement with our campus, to get our students.  That's a key part in the Big Ten, I was so impressed.  I went around the Big Ten and the student involvement in their basketball team is tremendous.  So this obviously is something that they enjoy.  Obviously the other thing is that our kids will keep working hard and then two, for recruiting purposes.  It's a Saturday afternoon game.  I'm sure there is some good football championship games on today, but I'm sure that a lot of people saw that or will hear about it.  It just helps get into the door, we still got to close that door or open that door or do whatever, but it does help with recruiting."

Question:  On his team not losing poise late in the game.

John Beilein:  "Well we almost did it again.  We tried to get them to half court to call a time out, we almost threw it away again.  That one was of things that I still have to learn, but I do trust them.  We really didn't have to use one except that one just to settle them down.  But they really have been there and done that a little bit where we had…you guys all remember there is a three or four minute run but that comes with experience and then you go through that and you get better."

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