What loss at Northwestern?
Michigan rebounded from a gut-wrenching loss at Northwestern last Wednesday with a 93-57 victory at Nebraska Sunday night. The win closes out the regular season (20-11, 10-8) for Michigan and sends the Wolverines into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 8 seed. They will open the tournament Thursday against No. 9 Illinois.
Senior guard Derrick Walton Jr. scored 18 points and set a school record with 16 assists, breaking the old mark of 14 by Gary Grant. Michigan made 14-of-27 3-point shots as part of an overall 63 percent shooting performance. To cap things off, the win was the 209th in Beilein’s career at Michigan, tying him for the all-time lead in school history with Johnny Orr.
Here’s what the coach had to say about the victory:
Post-game video with BTN
From the Michigan radio network
On winning 209th game in 10 seasons at Michigan
“We’ve been very fortunate, as you know. Tommy Amaker didn’t leave the cupboard dry. We’ve had great kids come and go that made us much better (coaches). The staff that I’ve had has just been terrific and great support from the family. But it’s not important now. What’s important right now is that we got another road win, that we got 10 wins in a great conference. Right? And that we go into the Big Ten Tournament with the idea that we’re going to play the best that we can and try to win the championship.”
On getting a big lead early and staying focused
“We were just dialed in today. D.J. (Wilson) making a three in the corner, Duncan (Robinson) making shots, Zak (Irvin) making shots. Everybody was just dialed in right now. Mark Donnal gave us great minutes in there. Moe (Wagner) really helped us in the first half. He got in foul trouble, so he didn’t get much done in the second half but Mark Donnal was really good. Just a great team effort.”
On Derrick Walton’s game
“When we’re slowing the game down, right now, he’s going to have the ball in his hands. That’s been a big change that we’ve made, of making him the primary guy all the time. It’s a funny spot when you’re up by 20, 30 (points). You don’t want to milk the ball too much and get yourself in peril but you do want to shorten the game. Going into the Big Ten Tournament a couple days later, if you can shorten that game and give some rest to some guys, that’s important, too. I’m just proud of the way Derrick is leading this team and playing at a very high level.”
On having shot at winning Big Ten Tournament
“Anybody can win the Big Ten Tournament, let’s just say that. That will be the goal. We’re not going to just win a game, or two, or three. We’ve had some success with some of the top teams in the league. We weren’t able to beat a couple of them but we’ve been able to play really good basketball at times, so let’s go try and win it.”
From post-game press conference
“I said a couple of times in the locker room that I had no idea how we were going to play tonight. That Northwestern loss was so disappointing for these guys, but they handled it like they always handle it. They wanted to bounce back. They practiced well. We had this late game Sunday. You have to wait all day. It was the longest day. To me, it seemed like forever when you’ve been through a whole season. Then they went out and were just excellent from beginning to the end.”