ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ten days after getting routed at Illinois, Michigan avenged a road loss to the Illini with a 66-57 win Saturday at the Crisler Center.
Led by D.J. Wilson’s 19 points, Zak Irvin’s 15 points and Derrick Walton Jr’s double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds), Michigan (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten Conference) led by as many as 19 points in the second half. The Wolverines limited the Illini (12-8, 2-5) to two 3-pointers and scored 22 points off turnovers.
Here’s what Michigan coach John Beilein had to say after Michigan’s win against Illinois:
On defending against Illinois: “We really challenged them to take away their 3-ball game. We challenged our players not to let them have second-chance points, which they had at their place. Let the offense take care of themselves. It wasn’t a great offensive night, but it gets a ‘W.’ I’d rather have that than an 85-82 loss.”
On shutting down Illinois’ inside players: “We were much more aggressive than we were at their place. … More physical with them without fouling. We had to have that. We gave a little more help and didn’t resort to any more double-teams. When they went in there, and they didn’t get many shots. We made them earn the shots.”
On D.J. Wilson: “For a kid like that, you look at his assist-to-turnover ratio right now as a stretch forward. It’s a really high number for him and we can do more things through him, on both sides of the court, and a lot 0f things in the future.”
On Derrick Walton: “He took a knee to the back and you could see him holding it a little bit. But he seemed to be very aggressive, taking big shots for us, and did a much better job defensively.”
On Walton’s rebounds (11) and Wilson’s assists (five), and needing a player to step up: “We don’t know where the outliers are going to come from, but that’s an idea. We certainly didn’t have that out of D.J. the other day, and Derrick, he’s got to look to shoot the ball. He’s got to get in there. He didn’t have many of those rebound games before, but he could rebound better if the bigs make good contact and stay in their box and they did that. Each game we need it, but gradually we’ll get to this point, hopefully, before too long, where guys feel confident and know they’re swag enough to play at their highest level every day.”
On Illinois’ 17 turnovers: “That’s where our D was so good. They still shot 45 percent. Our rough math was 57 points on 72 possessions. That’s really good. Some they turned over, some they threw away. But we were just there. We were active, we were in gaps, swarming to the ball, flying around. That’s the way we have to do that.”
On Michigan wearing its blue uniforms, following a comment by Illinois that Michigan is a “white collar program”: “They did that on their own. I’m not smart enough to realize what they were talking about. They said, ‘We want to wear blue today, Coach.’ I asked Why’s that?’ They told me and I said, ‘All right, go with it.’
“It’s much to do about nothing, but our kids got the message that maybe sometimes when it comes from outside and not from your coaches, and maybe it’s from another player, that message is even stronger, when someone else tells you they question whatever that means, whatever they intended.”
On assistant coach Billy Donlon writing “Street Fight” on the Michigan locker room wall: “I saw that. I’m up for anything that’s legal, that is motivational, that makes our kids just realize there’s another degree, the 212 degrees that you can play at. Sometimes, you have to be very simple with your approach, and Billy was certainly very simple with that. We won’t have a painter come in until next year, at least.”