John Beilein: ‘We Just Played Ball'

Michigan coach John Beilein touches on the Wolverines offensive output vs. South Carolina State, the development of Derrick Walton Jr., and looks ahead to a hectic travel schedule upcoming.

ANN ARBOR—Following Michigan’s season opening win over UMass Lowell, John Beilein attributed the close first half score to missed shots.

Tuesday night, as the Wolverines clobbered South Carolina State from start to finish, Beilein stood pleased and almost grinning as his team shot 15-for-28 from behind the three-point line winning in blowout fashion, 93-59.

“They were spreading out, it was 2-3, 3-2, they were trapping and pressing us but most of the time in that first half we were in transition offense because of clean rebounds and a fast break.

“We didn’t run a lot of plays today, we just played ball because of the nature of the fast break and the nature of their defense. We have some keys that we go against a press or half court zone and we just do those and play ball.”

Michigan knocked down 12-of-19 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes of play, lead by five each from sophomores Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert.

Stauskas finished the night with 23-points while LeVert lead the Wolverines in scoring with 24.

“There was no question when Caris got it going, they love Caris LeVert,” Beilein said. “And I wasn’t taking him out until he missed one because he needed a rest.

“Same thing with Nik (when) Nik gets it going. They really look for each other and understand and we preach it as much as we can, when a guys got it going let’s find him, and we did that.”

Notes and stats

For the second game in a row Michigan’s defense held a team to just 23 first half points as South Carolina State shot just 28.8-percent (8-of-28) from the field in the early going.

The Wolverines outrebounded SCSU 43-30 including a career high 15 boards to go with nine-points for junior captain Jon Horford.

Sophomore Glenn Robinson III didn’t shoot the ball as well as he’d like finishing with 13-points on 4-of-12 shooting but did manage to collect nine rebounds in 31-minutes of play.

In his second career start freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. appeared more assertive and understanding of when to push the floor and attack the rim or get Michigan into their offensive sets.

Walton Jr. finished the night with 12-points on 5-of-10 shooting with just one assist and three turnovers.

“He’s trying to go downhill more, turning his shoulders, like a running back turns his shoulders to go up,” Beilein said of Walton Jr. “He’s trying to go downhill more but then he’s got to be under control.

“Still learning about his quickness. I mean there’s some times where he’s as quick as he can be in this small areas. There’s times where he got in a little bit of trouble tonight but he’s learning and as I’ve said, he wants to learn, but I like that he was aggressive today.”

Michigan now has a few days of prep before heading off to play at Iowa State Sunday at 5 p.m. Following the matchup with the Cyclones the Wolverines will touch down in Ann Arbor for a day before gearing up for the Puerto Rico Classic next week.

“What an opportunity to go to Iowa State,” Beilein said. “This sounded great two years ago when they said ok we’ll play up at your place and you can come back two years later. But it’s going to be an incredible environment. I’ve never been to Iowa State.

“Between that and we comeback late at night and then we’re leaving Tuesday for Puerto Rico with a short prep, we have to take Monday off, with a short prep so it’s going to be difficult.”

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