Jan. 23, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein addressed the media on Monday (Jan. 23) to talk about the Wolverines' narrow road loss at Arkansas on Saturday (Jan. 21) and the team's return to Big Ten play on Tuesday (Jan. 24) at Purdue.
It its final non-conference matchup at Arkansas on Saturday (Jan. 21), Michigan nearly completed a 20-point comeback but was edged, 66-64. The Razorbacks opened the game with an 11-2 run and led by as much as 20 points by the 6:32 mark of the first half. In the second half, Michigan outscored Arkansas 31-20 and cut the lead down to two points on two different occasions in the last four minutes. The thrilling second half ended as freshman Trey Burke's (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) last-second three-point attempt rolled around the rim and fell out.
Michigan, which is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Michigan State at 5-2, will face Purdue on Tuesday night at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers, who are 14-6 overall with a 4-3 mark in the Big Ten, most recently lost a lopsided battle at Michigan State, 83-55. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen live on ESPN.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It was really disappointing that we couldn't pull the one out at Arkansas. It was certainly a great environment to play in. Our kids were very resilient to a bad start, but at the same time we showed a lot of heart. I loved our persistence with staying with what we were trying to accomplish. The win would have been great, but the loss also, if we use it the right way, can help us in the Big Ten."
On team team's response to the loss at Arkansas ... "Yesterday was a big rest day for some of our five or six guys and there was a good attitude. The film session was very good -- it was really good. It was a difficult game for us given the circumstances. We fought hard and now we've moved on. We know we'll have a similar battle against a tenacious defense when we play Purdue."
On what led to Arkansas taking a big lead in the first half ... "They made some easy shots. Our transition defense was not good. We only had the 10 turnovers. We had two in a row that were run-outs -- they only scored six points off of run-out turnovers. That was the difference. We started with a layup that we missed, we started with wide-open shot that we missed. Arkansas made tough shots -- that was an all-time record for balls that hit the rim, rolled around and still go in. But they had it going and I hope that will come around to us one day."
On the challenge that Purdue's defense poses for Michigan ... "It's always been a big challenge for us. If you remember here last year, they got up on us 19-4 or 19-3. We came back to make it a one-point game, but then they took it away from there. It's been a challenge everywhere. I don't know whether it's home or away -- I know that we've been able to beat them once here, but other than that, down there it has usually been really good first half, but they just wear you down with their defense eventually. We have to do everything we can to keep from that from happening so we can stay in that game late. It's not new news, every game that we're going to be in, especially on the road, is going to be determined by the last seconds -- I hope that we're not way out of games like we were at Iowa. That ball will bounce our way sometimes, it won't other times. Sometimes we'll really execute well and the ball won't bounce out way, sometimes we'll execute lousy and the ball will bounce our way. We just have to play them out and hope that it all evens out, or you're really fortuitous."
On whether or not Trey Burke has the mental toughness to get through tough games ... "I hope so. It's funny that you ask that because I'm going to show them some clips of Eli Manning today. He got knocked down, their people are laying on him and he's up calling audibles in three seconds. That will be some of the first clips we show them today because you have to have that adversity. He got knocked down 22 times yesterday and he never gave in one bit. Trey, I think, and many of our other players have that quality or they will be working toward that."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423