The freshman forward discusses bouncing back from a poor first half to help Michigan to a 60-55…
Beilein & Smotrycz Reflect on Iowa Victory
Question: Can you talk about how Tim (Hardaway) and Evan (Smotrycz) seemed like they were really comfortable today.
Coach Beilein: "Yeah. I don't like to use absolutes that that is the way it is going to be for freshman, they are just going to go up and down, but you certainly can see that that happens quite often and it depends on who we are playing sometimes as well. Evan has really worked hard in practice. Sometimes it is a matchup. Sometimes it is a defense there is a lot of things that he's learning about, but he is learning every day and Tim as well. Tim had a little bit of a stomachache most of the game, but he certainly performed like he didn't. They were tough to guard but at the same time, I think we were too."
Question: Talk about Darius Morris' performance and where he has come since that Minnesota game.
Coach Beilein: "Yeah. This is a very intense performance. We try to give him a rest each half just for a little bit, but it is every game it is different. I tell you this all the time, there is a different game plan, because there is a different defense and you have to keep changing. People are scouted so well. You can see that they doubled team today like crazy off the ball screen and for the most part did a wonderful job."
Question: The biggest thing he had was the 11 assists and the ten rebounds. Can you talk about the way he saw the floor.
Coach Beilein: "We've gone and this was a lot from my assistant coaches, we've gone to a thing where some of our big guys, we want them to box out and just stick with their box out and let our guards clean up a lot of rebounds. It has really been very effective for us. He should be in there. He is 6'4", he is long and he has really good hands. It is rare that you see a guard get that. You see Talor Battle get close to those type of numbers, like eight, nine, seven rebounds quite often. It is big for him to do that and then see the floor where his pass to Jordan when it was down to ten points or something was a huge basket for us."
Question: Were you pretty happy with the way they played considering that it could have easily been a (letdown)?
Coach Beilein: "Mike (Rothstein) your questions always wonderful (laughter). Yes, I'm very happy. You try to put a good negative spin on everything. I am happy. Don't forget the Clemson when we were concerned about we didn't beat them by 30 at Clemson. It is fine. I am happy with the win. You get one more question and it has to be positive (laughter)."
Question: Obviously Darius' numbers were really impressive, but it was really kind of his intangibles today and his presence on the court these past two games that (has improved)
Coach Beilein: "Yeah he really has taken a leadership role with Stu (Douglass) and Zach (Novak). Stu has really enhanced his ability as a leader. He has spoken more in practice and everything and we've urged him to do that. You know how I say Zach was doing that in kindergarten, but you look around and who else is going to do it. Is it going to be Tim? Is it going to be Evan? He is very comfortable right now and I am very proud of the way he has been playing all year long. There has been some isolated times where I know he thinks he could have played better."
Question: Can you talk about Jordan (Morgan) and Jon (Horford)? It almost seems like they are playing more aggressively.
Coach Beilein: "Yeah. It was the way they were playing us, it opened up the floor quite a bit for some good things. I love Jon's finishes. He had a really tough finish on one and then he followed up a rebound. It was good. Jon is unique and it was really good for him. He seems to get in the right spot a lot and he was in the right spot a few times and he finished."
Question: 52 points in the second half is that just a function of the offense and how we have seen some of the worst games where it is, but is the best that the offense can play?
Coach Beilein: "It depends on who you are playing. They actually create some of your offense with the way they guard you and what they are hoping to do is creating their offense by turning you over, but we were able to…because they opened the court like that. There is nobody in the country that is going to average 45 points a half let alone 52. So it is different to get but it was a product of the game. The start of the second was huge for us. To get out and open the court up a little bit more and get them to pressure us a little bit more and then we had more alleys."
Question: They seemed to do a better job of attacking the zone.
Coach Beilein: "You know what it is, I said it before the Minnesota, we hadn't seen it in a month and there was a young team and they forget quickly and we did a quick preview but it was the way we shot the ball, we didn't think anybody was going to zone us and Minnesota did. We didn't have great timing and that's all it takes and then get you a little spooked by it. We worked a lot yesterday on it just to get our timing better. I really like the way we attacked it. We had open shots and we made them that was a big thing. You can execute the heck out of a zone, the ball goes in and out, you can get spooked again."
Question: Were you happier with Hardaway's shot selection?
Coach Beilein: "Yeah I really think so. You look at that today, his ten shots, you saw him pass up some earlier. We call them the shock threes or the sleepers. The challenge is that they don't know you are going to shoot it, but our team doesn't know you are going to shoot it either. He's really worked at that and his percentage since probably about a week ago has gone way up. I think he is just maybe he is taking the second time. I want him to shoot it. He is getting closer and closer to green light, but understanding what his green light is with all our guys. Zach is the same thing, turning down some good shots to get great shots."
Question: Why is Zach shooting better now?
Coach Beilein: "He is really in a groove right now. He really feels good of where he is. If you knew how many 1000s of shots, 10,000s of shots he has made since last year. His numbers were not what Zach would think was good numbers last year. Even though, it was solid. The really good three point shooters shoot closer to 40% and not 33%."
Question: You had all five starters go to double figures, this really was a total team effort.
Coach Beilein: "Yeah it is good when we have that. That is what you are always striving for to have that. The 22 assists, they did not all come out of one person, although Darius had several. It is the way you want your team to play. You say, well how would you like it to be and it doesn't differ too much from how we just played. We will enjoy it and a tougher task ahead of us, a tough task going on the road."
Question: Talk about the mood, the climate that changed from two games ago where it is a completely different….
Coach Beilein: "Yeah those things can change a season and their perception of how they are doing because obviously it is a great win because it was on the road, but it is a fierce rival of ours, but I think we are much more positive about how we feel about ourselves after that. The coaches fear everything. You fear letdown and you fear those things. For the most part, our whole thing was to build them up from it. Say okay, if you can do that, you can certainly play with anybody because say what you want about Michigan State right now, they are a very, very good team. There are 320 other teams that would like to be where Michigan State is right now with being 25th ranked in the country. So there is a lot of good teams out there and it was a good win for us on the road."
Question: Evan those three pointers seem like they were falling from everywhere tonight. You guys have been on fire the last two games, haven't you?
Evan Smotrycz: "Yeah. We try to shoot them when we have them. We try to have no conscience. As a shooter you got to have amnesia and just keep moving on and knocking down when they are open."
Question: What was the big turnaround from playing Michigan State to come back home and play Iowa?
Evan Smotrycz: "We just didn't want any let downs. We made that a point and just try to stay focused and poised and try to string together a couple of Big Ten wins to get us going."
Question: Talk about your game tonight, feeling a little bit more comfortable with where you are offensively?
Evan Smotrycz: "Yeah. It is kind of up and down right now. Like I said, just trying to have a little bit of amnesia and just shoot when I'm open."
Question: Are you getting a little bit
more comfortable playing Big Ten teams? Evan Smotrycz: "Yeah and not only myself, but as a team, we really come together through a couple of losses. We've really come together and we're playing some good basketball, some poised basketball."
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