“We lacked some spark and energy early in the game. Our defense didn’t
have the kind of pressure that we have had earlier this season. The way
Michigan runs their offense puts you on your heels, and I attribute that
to our slow start. We didn’t make shots, but then we did make a few
adjustments. We could never get that big shot to go.
“We didn’t make shots. Some of that was Michigan’s defense. What was more
troubling to me was our defense. We didn’t handle their offense well.
They got very comfortable and made shots.
“We didn’t do enough in the first half defensively to give ourselves a
shot in the game. We played better in the second half, but you have to
play really well to come back from being down 16. When we made a mistake
defensively, they took advantage and finished.
“Milton (Jennings) wasn’t as good as he’s been of late. And he could have
played defense a little better. So we had to start playing guys like
Tanner (Smith) and Noel (Johnson) to force something and try to overcome
it. We are not going to play that way very much, but Michigan was packing
it in defensively.
“Michigan made shots when they were open. If we were a step behind, they
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
“It’s hard to play Clemson at home. We had a big first half and that was
important for us to have. You have a good first half and then it becomes
such a mental game after that. You just want to go home with the lead, but
you still have 20 more minutes to play against a good team. The second
half is not as much execution as it is mental toughness: rebounds,
defensive stops. We did that today in a tough place and we have a very
happy locker room up there.
“It’s hard to win on the road. No matter who you are, it’s hard to win on
the road. It feels good. The mark of a good team is one that can win on
the road and even win 50 percent of their road games. To have this win
against a good Clemson team is very important. It was almost good that
they got it down to eight in the second half so that we knew we had to
push through that and build the lead back up.
“I knew we weren’t going to beat them by 40. They ended up beating us in
the second half by eight. Scoring 69 or 70 points against a good team like
Clemson is definitely a quality win. I wasn’t sure who was going to step
up and make free throws for us down the stretch, but our guys stepped up.
We had three or four of those guys who hadn’t been in that situation
before and that was big for us.”