Opening Statement: "In recruiting I thought there were certain things that you had to recruit for and some of the obvious ones there's talent and length and all those kinds of things, but I always thought that you had to recruit for grit and you had to recruit somebody that had grit. But I've learned with this team and with some of these guys that grit can be developed and grit can come out and that's exactly what's happening with a lot of our guys right now. Verdell Jones, Christian Watford, they are developing a grit about them. Cody Zeller, he came with it and you can see that, but watching players develop and watching them play to a level that they have not played at before against the highest level of competition which is what we face and will face the rest of the season, that's a big time thing.
" I thought the way Christian Watford played tonight was phenomenal. I thought the togetherness of Cody and Christian, I don't know where all of his assists went, I know some of them went to Cody. That was the biggest part of the game-plan. We had to establish an inside game. We had to go at these guys. They were averaging two blocks a game with (Jon) Horford injured so we needed to go inside and our guys did that. Sometimes it's not as pretty, but we still shot 55 percent and 64 percent from three. We knew were playing a really good team. Their seniors played like seniors. Their stars played like stars. They played tough, we played tough and we could never get separation the way that we needed to and some of that was us, some of that was them, but the bottom line is this team gritted it out again.
"They toughed it out and they found a way to win and again, with having a guy, Will (Sheehey), that is such a big part of our team not be out there but to have Derek Elston, it seemed like he got all the big rebounds at the end of the game and to have Matt Roth play the way that he did and again have him do so many good things defensively for us that maybe don't even show up in a box score or don't show up easy and still make some shots which always shows up for him, but to do some of those other things very good. Remy (Abell) coming in with confidence in the middle of it. Tom Pritchard, especially on the defensive end, didn't play as many minutes because they loaded the lane up on him because we were really big for a bit and they loaded the lane up so we needed to get a little more penetration in there so we had to sub him in and out a little bit more, but really, really proud of our team. They have won 14 games 14 different ways with a lot of room for improvement and I'm excited about them."
On the play of Christian Watford: "He's got a serious focus and intensity combined right now that he just continues to harness, he really does. It started to really take shape all the way back in April when we got back from Spring Break. He has never been the same since and again, the start of the season was a direct result of the two-plus weeks that he missed injury-wise, but that's what we see in practice and he's lighting his own fire and that's really important."
On Verdell Jones III's shot late in the game: "It was huge, huge, because again, I don't know the exact time, but we kept rolling the dice with him and he wasn't getting any break and I don't like that, but we just really didn't have a lot of a choice tonight and again, he's still not 100 percent healthy, but he played all but I think about 45 seconds or a minute of the second half and to knock that down like that, but I mean that's him, going left, pull-up jumper and really it was basically broken at that point. It was make a play and I knew I had a timeout and I'm glad I didn't call it, I almost did, to set something up on the side, but it wouldn't have been enough time because in a situation like that they're probably going to go to the 1-3-1 right away and then you've got to get it in and attack the zone so it worked out great. He made a senior shot."
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening Statement: "I thought it was a very good basketball (game). One, that if you are watching games right now especially in the Big Ten, a lot of them seem to be ending this way. (Christian)Watford was a tough matchup for us. He shot over us. He shot around us. They do some great things to isolate you. In their isolations they really took advantage of his ability to score over people. I'm really proud of our team. I thought played really hard and did some of the things that we needed to win but we needed a couple more possessions or have a few possessions back but it didn't go our way."
Being down by two, what was their mentality? "We were looking to get a basket at that point. When we had the ball down two when I called the timeout we were looking for a basket whether it was a two or a three. With 1:18 to go we weren't trying to dial anything up to win the game. We just wanted to tie or get a basket. In all of our looks there are always threes that are available if they take away the basket."
On the resiliency of the team coming back from two double digit deficits: "I hope that's always a great trademark of our teams now. I hope it's not a trademark to be down by two digits. I thought we really hung in there. You guys know it, this place gets rocking and rolling just like a lot of places in this league and I thought we handled that. It came with our defense and we didn't allow them a lot of second opportunities. Our turnovers were costly but we didn't have a lot of them."
On Verdell Jones pull up with 25 seconds to play: "A lot of their stuff was one on one at the end. Watford making a pull up, Jones making a pull up. Jones may have only had three baskets but that was certainly a big one. Watford had a series of baskets right there that you can't stop some of that stuff. We put little guys on him, we put big guys on him. He shot right over Blake McLimans who is a big, long dude. He just shot over him like it was Trey Burke guarding him. So he's a really talented player. You can see that he's really becoming a premiere talent in this league."
On the quick turnaround (Thursday/Sunday games): "We have got to make it work. We have to make it help. We have just to say okay we get to play again and it's important. This is the way the league is and we've got a bunch of quick turnarounds. We've got four more. We've just got to find a way to get the energy to do that and it's my job to try and do that. We get a little bit of rest tomorrow and then get ready for Wisconsin."