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Post-Game Quotes: Michigan

Jan. 13, 2018

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
 
Opening statement…
Well guys we went into the game with three, four different goals. One was guarding the ball screen, we failed miserably on that. One was turning the ball over. Had 26 points off of turnovers. One was to get them in a little bit of foul trouble, get to the free throw line. I thought we did a hell of a job on that. And one was to defend them decently.

The thing is, I looked at the game, I kept looking up at the clock that has all the stats and we were shooting over 50 percent the whole game. They were shooting in the low 30’s the whole game. The difference at halftime, we thought, was the turnovers and you know, they hit some 3s, they hit a big one. (Zavier) Simpson hit that big one from deep, deep, deep. (Moritz) Wagner played very well. He gave us some problems.

So you can get the Nick (Ward) controversy out of your mind. It wasn’t Nick’s fault; it was our guards. Our guards did not get over those screens; Nick had to help, he steps back and just not quick enough to get back there. We didn’t step up early in it. We did a poor job of that, but in general, you know, I look at myself. I don’t think I did a very good job in subbing. Had some guys, Cassius (Winston) for one, probably played too many minutes and got tired. At a pace like that I wanted Miles (Bridges) and Jaren (Jackson Jr.) to be more aggressive. I think we accomplished some of that, at least we got it going.

Early, Miles had a very aggressive start then the second half I didn’t think he was. And we needed to make some plays. When you’re shooting well from the line, which we were, Miles and Jaren are 90 percent shooters and they… We missed a front end of a one-and-one. That’s two shots for Jaren and then Miles misses, I think the first shot or the second shot… So that’s three points. Things like Kenny’s (Goins) dunk. We just didn’t do the things you needed to do.

When we got up one and you saw Nick back in and they ran that ball screen with Simpson and again, wasn’t Nick’s fault. He had no choice but to help out and he kicked it back and he hit a big 3. And that kind of changed the game for us for the rest of the night. I thought we did a decent job on (Muhammad-Ali) Abdur-Rahkman, a decent job on (Charles) Matthews and I think we did a very good job on Simpson. I give that kid credit, you know, he wasn’t a very good shooter last year, he’s worked awfully hard on his game. He’s coming from the same area as Travis Walton and he’s kind of got that same demeanor so we’ve got to check better and yet I say that… Hell they were shooting in the 30’s most of the game but when you get 15 more shots because of turnovers and they did a good job early on getting some offensive rebounds and that hurt but I thought those were the difference in the game. So questions?
 
On getting the ball inside and his assessment of where the team is at offensively…
Well when you take Nick out of there we’re not as good offensively down there. That’s pretty good defensive team, we were shooting 50 percent all game, we just didn’t get enough shots up because we kept turning the ball over. There were some turnovers they earned, there were some turnovers we deserved, so a little bit of both. Hey, you get to the free throw line against Michigan 33 times is pretty good. They don’t foul much. So I was pleased with that.
 
On if Michigan did anything that surprised them…
No they didn’t. They didn’t do anything that surprised us. I just thought we did some things that surprised me with the turnovers. I didn’t think we turned it over like that and you’re right, our point guards struggled today. Although I didn’t play Tum (Nairn Jr.) that much, but you know it was a little bit like last year when we put our point guard and our center in a ball screen, it just wasn’t as good. Wagner played really well and made all his shots, he hasn’t been doing that. Give him credit, he made… He was the difference in the game. Give him some credit, he helped create some.
 
On Miles’ response to taking on a bigger role this week…
I thought he responded real well early. I thought he was more aggressive. You know, had a couple turnovers but there was one or two of those that the guy didn’t roll to the right place so… But I thought him and Jaren were both two guys that were challenged to do more and I thought both of them did in some ways. You know, we didn’t do a very good job at the end. Let’s face it, our point guards struggled. When the head goes, the body goes with it a little bit. And that was a big difference in the game.

On how to respond to quick guards…
We ran into some problems, they’re no easy pick-and-pop guys, but what we’ve got to do to is get rid of ball screens. I mean those are basic things, guys. I don’t have a good answer for you on why we didn’t. We’ve done a better job this year just one of those days we didn’t do a very good job, so I’m not worried about quicker guards, I’m worried about somebody just gritting their teeth and getting the job done.

On Jaren Jackson Jr.’s performance tonight…
We were worried about Jaren getting in foul trouble, yeah, but there was thought about that. We did it at the end. They took Wagner in and out too a little bit you know what did he ended up playing? Like six minutes or whatever, but Jaren’s always in so much foul trouble. He got that second one kind of quick, so that delayed that a little bit to be honest with you. Those other guys came in and did a pretty good job, we just didn’t have enough offense with Cassius struggling. Kenny made a couple plays early that you know we had dunks and layups and he struggled.
 
On how their effort with determine their fate…
You know I think in fairness we just don’t play that way to play guys the number of minutes that we played them and you know I’ve got to do a better job. We got Cassius some shots on offense which was good, but I think we were kind of non-existent in our break too. It just seemed like we weren’t quite with it from that point and we just got to do a better job. So we’ll do a better job.
 
On Nick Ward’s performance in the past few games…
It’s somewhat what the teams are doing to him. It’s some that this was a unique thing that we struggled a little bit on defense. When we started the second half we were going to pound it on in to them, then he had those two turnovers right away and you know he had done such a good job the first half going out, taking his time. He threw two of those cross court passes. You know it made us nervous depending on what he was going to do, but I thought the first half he handled it, dribbled it out, they backed off, he dribbled it right in and got a lay-up. That was a big play too when he missed that little bunny in there the second half and I think we were wanting to keep Nick down and next play is when Wagner hits the 3. You know you just can’t do those things if you’re going to be successful and we did.
 
On the team’s physicality going forward…
I thought we did very well inside, it’s just that some position we’ve got a long way to go. Like I said I was pleased, but we should have got McQuaid a little more time, but you’ve got to be able to guard at the point of attack and we didn’t do a good job of that.
 
On this time as a pivot point for the season…
Well I could look at it the other way when everything was going kind of smooth. I got to be my best, they have to be their best during the little period of there’s going to be dips and flows in the season. Sure, I’m disappointed in the play this week, and of the rivalry, and watching Wagner celebrate on the court, but at the same time he deserved to.

I respect that, I really do. I think we really have to do a little soul searching with a couple of guys and figuring out that you can play offense. Their offense didn’t beat us. I said earlier, they’re a better defensive team. Wagner has a heck of a night, other than that, nobody really shot above 40 percent. That was the problem it was two guys that hurt us. And they hurt us in the same kind of screen and roll position. We’ll have to get better at that or we’ll have to make some adjustments.
 
On Xavier Tillman going from high to low and Gavin Schilling
Gavin did too, but they’re not Nick (Ward.) You need Nick. The problem was sometimes when those guys were in there, Wagner wasn’t in there, you know? Sometimes when those guys were in there, Tum (Tum Nairn Jr.) was in there. We have to figure out how to play certain guys together on those ball screens and that’s our job. We have to do a better job of that. I think some guys need to do a better job defending, too. You don’t get to just outscore people, you have to guard them. Again, I keep reiterating that they were shooting 42 from the field, one 3 in the second half, it was a big one, but just one three in the second half. We just, we made some adjustments and did some things and to get to the line as much as we did against them was a big thing. I thought we drove the ball more. We pounded it in a little bit more. We didn’t guard when we needed to guard and that was the difference in the game.
 
On the biggest lesson from this past week…
Well 26-7 off turnovers and they’ve got three offensive boards there and more than us. They got five there in the first minute when they missed those layups, missed ‘em, missed ‘em, missed ‘em, and Wagner gets the three-point play. So, a little diluted on that. But the lesson is that people are crazy. That’s the lesson, and we have to battle. Some of you reporters wonder why I’m always fighting you on that.

Listen, this is a very good team. We got exploited by two guys today. Not many people can do that in the league. Didn’t happen at other times. We’re better defensively than a couple of guys played. People can do whatever they want. They can support you, they can complain about it. I can’t control that. I think sometimes, like everybody, guys. I’m telling you, it’s amazing. I don’t want to listen to anybody because I know my team. They get caught, even myself, so I can understand how the players are. If you guys want to know why I play certain guys and what I do or how I substitute or what’s going on, I’d like to hear those same answers now, and that’s my fault.

I don’t feel any different about my team, Jack. We practice well. It’s a marathon. We ran into two teams that are pretty good and one team that plays hard, whoever asked the question about the physicality. We’ve had to become more physical. That’s where our youth sometimes gets us. If you look at who played best and who did they go to, you know, one sophomore in Simpson. But, the rest of the guys they go to are juniors and seniors and they went to them and they answered some of the bells. Our guys didn’t. You can bet this. I won’t be reading or listening this week, to anybody. I would feel bad, as much as this team has given this place, that anybody would jump off the bandwagon. They’ve lost a couple of games. Big deal. You guys were talking about running the table and I addressed it before. A couple guys that have never come to this that have talked about running the table, that haven’t been in the building this year.

All I ask is that you know what you’re talking about before you talk about it. Your job is to second guess, so second guess. I just can’t wait to see how somebody would second guess some of the things that you second guess. That’s how I look at it. So, we’re going to get ready for Indiana. This will hurt for a day or two, because this is a big game to me. I’m going to address a couple of guys on the grit that you have to have to play in the Big Ten. I don’t mean play like last year when we you’re playing to win some games. I mean when you’re playing to win big games. Some guys have to grow up a little bit, and they will.
 
On the timing of this next six day break…
I don’t know. The thing with pulling is that 50 percent of people would say you should get right back on the horse, 50 percent of the people would say it’s a good time to take a day off. I don’t care either way. I think personally, in one day you could solve some of the problems we had. You’re gritting your teeth and doing something, you’re not going to gain that in two days. That’s a decision you have to make and we didn’t do a good job of that. We have to coach it better, we have to play it better and we will.

Michigan head coach Jim Beilein

Opening Statement…
They were terrific in so many areas, but at the same time we just sort of played. We only turned the ball over eight times and only gave them eight offensive rebounds. We went to the foul line and made the foul shots, something we hadn’t been doing. There is a lot of ways to win a game and we found it. I think we caught them in the second half on a little bit of a bad night where some things for them were not clicking. We just did everything we could. We had two good teams. We didn’t know if Mortiz Wagner was going to be able to play today for a little bit. He had tweaked the ankle that he had bothered. We have a trainer Alex Wong, that needs a shout out in this one, because he (Wagner) did it early in practice two days ago and for the last two days we didn’t know if he could go. So, he had a lot of courage to come in and play because he basically re-injured the same injury. But, he didn’t look like he was bad today, and we turn around and have Maryland Monday, like right away. So, we embrace the win, but only because we were able to get a victory against an outstanding team.
 
On how Wagner seemed to embrace the opportunity of being cleared to play…
You have a great sophomore run, you dabble on going to the NBA, and then you come back with almost a whole new team. I don’t know how to handle that, we tried our best to be able to handle that. I think what we saw is he had bad games, he was just trying to do too much and he wasn’t doing what brought him there; Shot fakes, driving the ball hard, he was loving only the three, is defense was awful. And now I think he understands that’s not going work, and he did a really great job today. He had one terrible turnover, but other than that he was really basic and just really played the way we saw him play last February and March.
 
On this being as good as Beilein has felt playing at the Breslin and getting the win in the only scheduled matchup this season…
When you have that one game, you want to get it, but it’s very difficult to win here. Any top five team is going to be difficult to win, I don’t think any of my teams have ever beat a top five team on the road. I may be crazy, but I think we will probably be the last one this year. Just one of those things, things were lined up today. Stuff happens, we really played well.
 
On the toughness that UofM showed…
I think you have to remember Michigan State really has a whole bunch of sophomores, don’t forget they’re not Purdue who we played the other day with all these seniors. Those guys are showing up in a growth spurt as well. But, we did show the grit. Scotty Washington from right here in Lansing said coach, this team may be different, this team has some of that grit you may need to win games like that. I think that was evident today, a couple times to us in timeouts, whenever they (MSU) would make a little run or it was going the other way, someone would come up with a big hoop or a big stop.
 
On how Michigan had to adjust to the high-low game with Jaren Jackson Jr...
That is a tough one, because Ward is such a beast inside, and you have to try and take Jackson’s shot away and also, he can drive, I mean it’s a matchup nightmare. Duncan Robinson, we brought in off the bench for the first time all year did a great job on him. I mean he did a really good job. He got to the foul line too many times and that’s on us. I was upset with the officials, but we still have a tendency to put our hands-on people. You have to try and shut down that high-low game, and then the biggest thing is to get them off the boards. I’ve been here, and probably every loss we have had, MSU had 14 or 15 rebounds. You know, Matt Costello is in their getting rebounds, Adreian Payne is getting rebounds. That didn’t happen today, and it’s not that they weren’t trying. I think all year long we’ve had this incredible defensive rebounding percentage and a lot of times that’s not coaching that’s just guys understanding that they have to check out and go get the ball.
 
On where the toughness is coming from…
I think it’s more group wise. I think Muhammad (Ali Abdur- Rahkman) has got this stuff to him that he’s talking the young guys through it. But it’s quiet, it’s a whisper, it’s a Trey Burke, it’s a Stew Douglas, you know two guys that we won championships with, that were not the Zach Novak or the Tim Hardaway personality, and I think that’s big. And Duncan (Robinson) is very much like that too, Wagner is the other way. I think right now Xavier Simpson has been the key for us. He’s been able to make plays, he’s been able to, especially in the second half, take the ball right at their shot blockers and finish. He feels terrible about missing the foul shots, but man he did so many other good things today. He did a great job on a terrific player in Cassius Winston, did a great job on him.
 
On Xavier Simpson progressing…
That’s probably my fault in the beginning. Sometimes I go back in coaching and there is so many times you tell people so much that they are doing wrong, instead of what they are doing right. A lot of coaches get into that and right now he knows there is a trust factor between him and I, and this is something that every player needs. As a coach, you have to catch yourself sometimes and there may be some blind spots in your game. We had one great point guard here several years ago and it was like coach, let him make two or three mistakes, don’t get upset at him until he makes the third mistake, and that went a long way that year. These are the type of things you have to coach, and as a coach I hope I’m always learning to do things better.

On Isaiah Livers in the starting lineup…
He was okay. He was okay; I think he worked out alright. I don’t think it was the moment. I think that he’s, there’s still…the game is coming to him and every day it’s going to be better. Duncan (Robinson) had been here before, that’s why – he was in foul trouble – but Isaiah was more in the little things to determine games and he learned a lot of those things today, but still at the same time he’s really a good matchup for us defensively and offensively. He wasn’t tonight, but he can be as he grows as a player.
 
On making adjustments with both teams in the bonus…
Yeah in both halves, right? Yeah it’s hard to do that. We had a great crew working the game, so some of that is self-inflicted and some of that is driven by Michigan State. They’re good at drawing fouls, and then they get there and they’re a tremendous foul shooting team. If you take away some of the 3s and some of those foul shots you have a chance to beat them, but it’s really hard to take away those two things from them.
 
On hitting big shots in this game…
We had several of those in the game where you could feel the building start to shift a little bit. Moe just made huge plays, or we had two and-ones when I think it was one or two points, two and-ones that, from Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman) and Moe (Wagner). You’ve got to score points off these guys, and it is not easy to score points off of any Tom Izzo-coached team. And so we’re happy that we could get, we got to 82 which is really a high number against them. I’ve never seen stats like that before with 34 defensive field goal percentage, so really proud that we got that done today. We answered several; it wasn’t like  some coaching expertise, it was good players making good shots at tough times.
 
On playing well against Purdue and if that gave his guys confidence coming into today’s game…
Yeah I think it was helpful. I looked at these two games, and I said these are games that probably are going to be really tough to just stay in because of how tough the teams are, how well they’re coached, and you know both times now we stayed in both games and we were able to win one of them. But, you know what it doesn’t make a difference. We’ve got to go. We’ve got three games in six days coming up starting Monday, right with Maryland, Nebraska and Rutgers. Those are not easy places to play or easy places to win or easy teams to beat, so it doesn’t mean anything if we can’t continue this trend.
 
On being more of a believer in his team’s defensive rebounding ability…
Well, I, if we can continue to do that, yes. I just think there’s this jump, if anybody wants to jump in Moe Wagner getting rebounds away, out of his area – probably one of you analytical guys could figure that out – like in baseball, how far do they have to go out to get a rebound, but he never would do that, he’d sit and watch it. So that’s been a big difference for us, I think Charles (Matthews) was a big difference there as well.

Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges

On today’s game…
They just played harder than us. We didn’t bring it today, and they brought it and they got the win.

On the upcoming week…
It is going to be very tough. The only way that we are going to get rid of this is by winning a game, and now we have to wait a whole week until we play again. It is going to be tough, but we are going to get through it.

On what needs to improve…
Defense. Defense, rebounding and our toughness. We need to get tougher.

On what needs to click…
Stay solid on defense. Continue to rebound. Just do the little things to win, we are not trying to do the little things. We are trying to make the home run plays and it is hurting us.

Redshirt-Senior Forward Gavin Schilling

On today’s game…
This was the last time playing Michigan at the Breslin. I have always imagined it to end on a win, but unfortunately we ended it on a loss.

On what needs to improve…
We just have to be a tougher team. Our program is traditionally built on toughness and that is something that we are lacking right now. We have to dig deep and come up with this toughness that is going to win us some games.

On the teams mental toughness…
We have the talent to bring it out. We just have to bring it out somehow. Mentally and even physically. We could be tougher in both areas.

On how to get back on track…
We have to go back to the drawing board and regroup. It starts in practice. We have to correct those mistakes in practice and get on each other for mistakes in practice that we won’t do in games and that is where it starts.

On turnovers…
We turn the ball over way too much. We had double the turnovers they had and maybe even more than that. We just can’t have that if we want to win games like this. We just have to also defend better especially at the end of games. We can’t let guys drive right by us for layups. We have to close out those gaps and help each other out as teammates.

Sophomore Guard Cassius Winston

On thing that sticks out…
I think a big part of it was on me. I lost my assignment and my matchup, and it opened it up for them the whole game.

On the past three games…
We have not been playing within our system. Doing the things to win us games and playing Spartan basketball.

On today’s game plan…
We were supposed to be tough, rebound and execute, and I don’t think we did those things tonight. We did not play with enough toughness tonight.

Freshman Foward Jaren Jackson Jr.

On the game compared to the whole season…
It is a big game no matter how you look at it. It is a big game because it is a rivalry game. It is a big game because it a Big Ten game. It is a big game because it is going to prepare us for things moving forward.

On Michigan’s Mo Wagner…
He is just being dynamic. He had a lot of counters for different types of defense. We didn’t cover some of the ball screens the right way which left him open and got him going.


 

 

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