With the 68-59 win against Northwestern, Michigan head coach John Beilein recorded his 500th win as a coach of a four-year college. Overall, it marked the 575th win of his 31 years as a head coach. Beilein, who has never been anything but a head coach, is the only active coach in the collegiate ranks to record a 20-win season at four different levels: junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I.
Tonight's win snapped a three-game losing streak and helped the Wolverines pull even in the conference with a 4-4 record. The Wolverines now have a 101-53 all-time record against the Wildcats, the most wins for the Maize and Blue versus any Big Ten opponent.
With the 68-59 win, Michigan posted its 14th win of the season. The Wolverines continue to move further from their total win count from a season ago when U-M closed 10-22 and did not earn its 10th win until the 31st game of the season.
Michigan snapped a three-game streak of scoring under 60 points with its 68 points tonight. For the season, the Wolverines are averaging 70.2 points per game.
Michigan had three players close with four assists -- Manny Harris, Laval Lucas-Perry and C.J. Lee. Those efforts were part of the Wolverines' 18 assists on 22 field goals.
Manny Harris grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, marking the fifth time this season and in his career that he has posted double digits in boards. Harris scored eight points to just miss his sixth career double-double. Overall, Michigan outrebounded Northwestern 41-22.
Despite not scoring in double figures for the fourth time this season, Manny Harris still filled the stat column with 12 rebounds and four assists and tied a career high with two blocks in 33 minutes of action.
DeShawn Sims scored 15 points to earn the 19th game this season scoring in double figures and the 45th in his career. Sims, who now has 824 career points, is averaging 15.8 points per game this season.
Stu Douglass continued to knock down three-pointers, adding two more against Northwestern. He is 10-of-27 from beyond the arc over the last four games.
For the third time in his career, C.J. Lee dished out a career-best four assists, topping his season best set against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 13.
Manny Harris has started all 52 games in his Michigan career. In addition, classmate Kelvin Grady started his sixth straight contest, giving him 52 straight games played for the Wolverines. Grady now has 30 career starts.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the win... "One of the keys to beating a team like the one Bill (Carmody) has built at Northwestern is that when they don't get an offensive rebound they make up for it by creating turnovers. So it is a possession game. He takes possessions away from you. It is very important that we got shots on almost every possession and we didn't turn it over. And that is really what happened when they almost beat Purdue and then beat Minnesota and beat Michigan State; it was the turnovers. They make great shots; they are tough to stop, but I am really proud that we had all those assists on all our baskets. We had 18 assists and just the nine turnovers. There wasn't any grand scheme out there today. It was just pivoting and passing and playing with fundamentals to get good shots."
On his 500th win... "I'll say what every coach says and what they should say. It is a great staff and great players. It goes back through Nazareth, LeMoyne, Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and here. I am a little bit of a nomad and there are a lot of losses in those 500 as well. But I think the first 75 at Erie Community College were pretty hard to get. You go and you do your coaching and who knows who is reffing the game, they could be directly related to the coach. And you ate at McDonalds and you drove the van, so those were pretty hard too, those first four years. Kathleen (John's wife) has been with me through every one.
On Zack Novak's rebounding... "That was big. He is just exactly what the doctor ordered as far as a guy who is just a nuts and bolts, blue collar, lunch bucket, whatever you guys want to call him. He just does a lot of the dirty stuff that needs to get done. He had four offensive rebounds and it seemed like he had a lot more than that. They are just so good at what they do defensively. They are always known for what they do on offense, but if you watch their film, their match-up zone is pretty good and now, with (Jeremy) Nash on the top of that 1-3-1, they are just hard to score on, so you have to get extra possessions."
U-M Freshman Guard Zack Novak
On the team's defense... "We knew coming in that their offense is unique. They were coming in here as probably the hottest team in the league. They played three straight ranked teams. They lost to Purdue by two and they beat Minnesota and Michigan State. We knew it would be a challenge, but we were up for it."
On the team's rebounding... "I just know that any time a team is playing a zone like that, there are a lot of opportunities to go in and get rebounds because you don't have a man matched up on you all the time. I think that helps a little bit, especially on the offensive end. We just knew that was an area where we felt we could gain an advantage, so we tried to do that."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Guard C.J. Lee
On the win... "We definitely knew we needed the energy tonight. Coach said before the game that it is not so much about Xs and Os but about heart and desire. We were able to dig out a victory tonight on our home court against a good team who has beaten two good teams in a row and played another good team very close. We knew it would take every one on our team and we were able to pull it out."
On Coach Beilein's 500th win... "They did a good job keeping it a secret because we really didn't know about it until Coach (Jeff) Meyer whispered it in to my ear and then we clapped it up for coach. I am just proud; the guy has won so many games. He has just been an incredible coach and I am thankful because I am blessed to play for him."
On his energy off the bench... "I am just trying to bring anything the team needs. We knew how much we needed this win and we didn't want to leave anything on the floor. We didn't want to come in here and have coach question how hard we played. Plays like that just let you know how hard guys want to win and guys are making an effort to win games."
U-M Freshman Guard Laval Lucas-Perry
On playing against Northwestern's zone... "We just played poised, moved the ball around and got the open shot. We play a 1-3-1 (zone) also and we just broke it down, moved the ball, got to the open shots. We drove the open lanes, passed when we needed and hit the open man, and he would knock it down or take it to the basket."