1 NCAA Men's 1st and 2nd Rounds: Wichita Friday, March 16, 2018 Wichita, Kansas John Beilein Charles Matthews Muhammad-Ali Abdur- Rahkman Michigan Wolverines Michigan - 61, Montana - 47 THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Coach. Quite a defensive performance by your team, especially in the second half. COACH BEILEIN: Yeah, but I was really impressed with Montana. I thought they had a great defensive performance as well. They have a really good team. I think they only have a couple of seniors on the team. They really represent that university very well. I'm really pleased that we could get that win over them. And they didn't make us look very good on offense. Fortunately our defense was outstanding when it needed to be. Down 10-0, and after that they scored 37 points the rest of the game. So really pleased that we were able to still get a W despite the great defense Montana played. THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll take questions for the Michigan student-athletes. Q. Charles, Coach Beilein talked about the tough defense Montana played. Seems like a lot of the players were kind of struggling early on. You kind of had it going. Did you sense that you had it going and tried to force the action a little better, or is that just what the defense gave you? CHARLES MATTHEWS: No, I was just really playing off the offense. Just reading what the defense gave me. I saw they was missing a lot of our bigs and ball screens and I was just cutting behind them. Q. Mike Oguine and Ahmaad Rorie had pretty good games today, but not big enough. How did you guys adjust to them and keep them under wraps the rest of the game? MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: We just made some halftime adjustments. They got a couple of easy buckets on us at the beginning of the game. We went to halftime, made some adjustments, played more team defense and get in the gaps and things like that, and that gave them trouble. Q. Have you guys played a defense as tough as them this year, and just how would you describe what it was like going up against that defense? MUHAMMAD-ALI ABDUR-RAHKMAN: I would compare them to Illinois. They press. They try to take everything away from you. They get after you. They're a lot like Illinois, I would say. CHARLES MATTHEWS: Yeah. I would go with what Muhammad said. They're pretty much like Illinois, very scrappy team, up in the passing lines, making it tough to get entry passes. Teams like that can make it tough for our offense, but I feel we did a good job against it. THE MODERATOR: Questions for our coach? Q. Coach, you mentioned you fell down 10-0 at one point. I think it was 16 minutes to go, you're down ten, you have four reserves on the court. Is that just a testament of how comfortable you are with your reserves? COACH BEILEIN: Yeah. I think our huddle was like a normal huddle, right, because I really trust that these guys know what's going on. And we'd missed a couple of shots, but we just had to make some adjustments and just hang in there and stay persistent with what we do. So I love the way they stay composed during that time, the four-minute timeout, the first one, it didn't look good for Michigan at that time. I told them all we need is one basket here, and then let's win the next four minutes. And we did that. And let's win the next four minutes, and we did that. And all of a sudden we're ahead at the half. So I love the way they responded step by step and not try to get it all back at one time. Q. At what point did you feel like -- I mean, you were down early. At what point did you feel like the momentum was starting to shift in your favor? COACH BEILEIN: There was a point in the first half I Rev #1 by #206 at :04:00 GMT page 1 of 2
2 thought it was going to switch a little bit, and then they made a three before half. And we got confused on a play. So I should have called a timeout right before half, but I didn't. Then coming out of the second half, when we got stop after stop after stop starting the second half, even though we didn't convert a lot, I hated that long timeout when the power went out when we were up by eight, because we didn't score for a while after that. But there was -- I guess coming out of that second half I thought it was key the way we guarded coming out the second half. Q. Early on it seemed like their ball screen trap was giving you guys a little bit of trouble, and then you started finding space near the foul line, and then Charles cutting to the rim. Was that something you noticed on tape and then it just took a couple of minutes to get comfortable with it, or is that something you noticed as the game started? COACH BEILEIN: No. What I love about what Travis has done with his team is they will guard ball screens -- we said they're going to do everything. So in two days we were trying to get ready for everything, and that was one of them, that they came out and trapped us hard. We had a couple of different things we do about. One of those is to go and hit them short. We call it actually short shop. We call it Barry Larkin for the great Michigan short stop who played with Cincinnati. So we hit Barry Larkin, and Barry Larkin made the plays. Q. You mentioned that your guys didn't quit. They showed composure, but what else do you take away from a game like that? COACH BEILEIN: I love the fact that Charles Matthews, who just played a little bit maybe in the Kentucky NCAA game, went to the foul lane, went 6 for 8. They fouled him. Then he got to the rim. He really just did a great job. He was composed. I thought that was good. I thought our bench -- you know, Zavier hasn't had two fouls. I mean, you can see they're going to call them close in the NCAA. We haven't had Zavier with two fouls at all the entire season. So when he ended up getting in foul trouble, Jaaron Simmons came off the bench and was terrific. Had three baskets. And I think that might be his high of the year for six points. He came in and really performed well. He needs a rest. He hasn't played a lot. So Eli Brooks goes in there and gets an assist. It was really good. Jordan Poole came in and hit a three, which he had struggled in the Garden. So I love what we got off the bench there. Rev #1 by #206 at :04:00 GMT page 2 of 2
3 Michigan Wolverines LOCKER ROOM INTERVIEWS # 22 Duncan Robinson, 6-8 senior guard/forward Q: How did Montana contribute to the team starting so slowly? ROBINSON: They just made it tough for us. They threw a lot of different stuff at us, really moved the ball, could have done a lot considering the slow start. Q: What did you do to only allow Montana two points in the first 10 minutes of the second half? ROBINSON: We just kind of stuck to our principles, stayed in gaps, stuck with our personnel. I thought we did a really good job in the second half just guarding the ball and keeping them out of the paint. #15 Jon Teske, 7-1 sophomore center Q: Did all of the long timeouts -- and the 11-minute delay due to a clock malfunction -- to start the second half affect your game plan? TESKE: No, not at all. Coach Beilein said the media timeouts would be a lot longer, so that s just something to get used to. I don t think it affected us at all. It just gave us more rest. #13 Moe Wagner, 6-11 junior forward Q: You guys had a few more turnovers than normal. What was Montana able to do to you guys? WAGNER: They mixed some stuff up defensively. They did some stuff that threw us off, and it took us a while to get used to it. I think we had a lot of careless turnovers and transitions that aren t characteristic for us. Maybe it was the 10-day stretch, but it happened. I had some weird plays down low, but these types of things aren t characteristic. But I m glad we got the first game out of the way. Q: In a game where you struggled offensively, how were you able to pull out a double-digit win? WAGNER: We just had to get used to what they do. They mix stuff up and try and take you out of it. You just got to get used to it, especially when you haven t played in 10 days. That shouldn't be an excuse, but that's just the nature of it.
4 NCAA Men's 1st and 2nd Rounds: Wichita Friday, March 16, 2018 Wichita, Kansas Travis DeCuire Michael Oguine Ahmaad Rorie Montana Grizzlies Michigan - 61, Montana - 47 THE MODERATOR: Coach, why don't you look back at this game and give us your comments. COACH DECUIRE: It's a good basketball team. You know, if you'd have told me going in the game that they'd have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio and turn it over 14 times, we'd take nine more shots and basically break even on the glass with eight offensive rebounds to their five, I'd probably tell you we won. I thought our guys competed. They fought. They defended. Michigan made some adjustments in the first half in our ball screen coverage, which I knew they would do. And once we made our adjustment, we were fine the rest of the way. But it cost us some buckets, and Charles Matthews steps up and has a big game. If you look at it, he's really the difference in this ball game, because both teams struggled offensively. We didn't have one guy over 50 percent. He was the only guy for them, outside of Simmons, 3 for 3. And so it was a defensive struggle, and their defense was a little better than ours tonight. But all respect to that team. It's a very well-coached team, and like I said yesterday, probably one of the better coached teams in the country. They don't beat themselves. They defend and they don't take bad shots. So that's going to be a very difficult team to beat. I'm proud of my team. We won a lot of games this year. We fought. We've had adversity that we fought through. And I'm excited to have all these guys back, most of them, with the exception of Fab, and see if we can bring it back and maybe perform a little better this time. THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for our student-athletes, please. Q. To have your season come to an abrupt end tonight, just how are you feeling right now? MICHAEL OGUINE: To get to this point, you know, it's still an accomplishment to win our conference tournament, to be able to represent and win a big league like the Big Sky, it's an honor in and of itself. But like you said, to have the season end abruptly in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, it's not the best feeling. But I'm proud of the way we fought. Even though our shots weren't really falling, we still played hard. I feel like we did a good job of representing Montana basketball. Not too many teams knew much about us going in. But I feel like after watching this game they know we're a team that plays hard and competes no matter who we play against. AHMAAD RORIE: Yeah, first of all, it was good for us to help Fab get here. He's a senior. He's our leader and captain. So I know he feels good about finally getting here, especially allowing us to do that. Like Mike said, we didn't want it to end like this, especially this soon. We thought we could come out here and get a win, but Michigan is a very good team. They're well coached. They don't turn the ball over, and they play good defense. So right now we're going to soak in the good season that we did have and just get back to work in a couple of weeks. Q. When you guys have a tough stretch like you did in the second half and you can't get the lid off the basket, you guys are the two top scorers on the team, do you feel like it's your duty to start shooting and hoping something falls, or maybe help facilitate more, and what worked and what really didn't work there? MICHAEL OGUINE: Well, Coach Trav puts a lot of confidence in myself and Ahmaad. He gives a lot of responsibility on the offensive end, and like you said, I feel like it's kind of our duty when our offense isn't really -- our shots aren't falling. We have to be able to go and make plays for ourselves or others, whatever the situation calls for. Rev #1 by #206 at :20:00 GMT page 1 of 3
5 I feel like credit to Michigan. That's a great team. They were locked in on Ahmaad and myself. They didn't make it easy for us all night. It was tough to get looks. It just comes down to it wasn't our night offensively. The good thing, our defense was tough so we were able to hang around a little bit. But at the end of the day, it's tough to win a game against a team like Michigan if you shoot 32 percent from the field. So we still have to be better. But at the end of the day, I'm still proud of the way we fought, regardless of the outcome. AHMAAD RORIE: It's Michael and my job to put the ball in the basket when we need some buckets, but the lid wasn't coming off. But we still did play good defense, but Coach just kept trusting us putting the ball in our hands, but especially myself I had some forced looks, the charge and stuff, but just try and get something going towards the rim and try and get the lid off. It's tough when that doesn't happen. And Michigan does pack the lane in so it makes it hard for you to get in there. They help, they help the helpers. So threes weren't falling tonight, but proud of how we fought. Q. You had that long power outage. Did you see that as a positive, as a time to maybe reset your mind, or would you rather be out there and just not have any sort of break at all? MICHAEL OGUINE: I think you'd rather get the flow of the game, have it be continuous. They were going on a run there. So you would think that it would be in our favor maybe to slow down their momentum, but I know I speak for myself and my teammates when I say we were ready to go the whole night. That's not an excuse or anything. We're not saying that was the reason we paid poorly in the second half, but just to answer your question I feel like you just want to get the game going. You don't want to have pauses in the action like that. I'm sure the fans don't either. AHMAAD RORIE: Yeah. They were going on a run, so when you have a power outage, we wanted that to slow the run down, but obviously it didn't. They kept making shots and playing good. But we were ready to go either way whether the power was out or not. We wanted to just stay within the flow of the game. Q. What was the experience like for you guys? What was it like going out in warmups, and was it fun to play in this kind of atmosphere? MICHAEL OGUINE: It was a great experience. I really like the city of Wichita. They came out to support. I know they just wanted to watch great basketball, and us being the underdog they kind of took us in as their team to root for. I feel like we did a good job of, like I said earlier, the state of Montana, representing the way we practiced all year for this minute right here. We just wanted to put our best foot forward. Like I said, our shots weren't falling. Things didn't go well the whole game, but I think to be here, I think you just can't -- you can't really take away from the experience just because we lost the game. I feel like it was a huge step for our program. Huge step for some of our guys. I know Ahmaad has been here before. But a lot of experience coming in next year. We lose Fab, but everyone else is going to be coming back. And we're going to be hungry, and hopefully we'll have a better result next year, and hopefully we're here again. AHMAAD RORIE: Yeah, it was a good experience, especially after last week, having to grind out three wins. Like he said, city of Wichita really came out, and they were really hospitable to us, you know, allowed us to play in their arena. The fans were great. Our fans travel pretty good, parents and stuff. So it was just great for us to play in front of them. We wanted to get a win, but the experience was definitely great. THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. At this time we'll take questions for the head coach. Q. Coach, Coach Beilein was very complimentary about the defense job you did on his team. COACH DECUIRE: I thought we executed well. There was just a short stretch where they made some adjustments in our ball screen coverage they took advantage of, and you would expect that out of a wellcoached team. And then from there we competed well, and we held them to one shot most of the time. To only give up five offensive rebounds is huge. You know, I just thought we just didn't do a good enough job offensively executing and getting the shots we wanted. But like I said, that's about as good of a coached team as I've seen in a long time, and I look forward to watching them and following them in the tournament. Sometimes when you lose to a team in this situation, you root for them and hope they make it all the way. Q. You mentioned a couple of times about how well coached Michigan is. A lot is made of John Beilein's offense. How difficult is that to prepare for and then to see in front of you? COACH DECUIRE: To me, when I say someone is well Rev #1 by #206 at :20:00 GMT page 2 of 3
6 coached, they don't beat themselves. You'll make mistakes. There's human error. But I can't recall one possession where they took a bad shot. There will be defensive breakdowns because the offense can manipulate things, but on the offensive end for them, I just can't remember someone taking a questionable shot and allowing us to get some momentum or maybe a low rebound or whatnot. When they shot the ball, guys knew they were going to shoot it. And to me those are teams that don't beat themselves. And so I don't know how many teams are like that in this field. A lot of teams, they play, they fly around, they're aggressive. They give on maybe a questionable shot here and there, an error on aggression. I think this team plays very smart basketball. And when they play that way, it's just very difficult to manipulate things and make things happen in your favor. Q. Was there anything that you would have changed, Xs and Os-wise, heading into the game? COACH DECUIRE: Yeah. I would have put a hoop in there that might have been a little bigger. because Eastern Washington had some momentum, and we needed to stop them. So I thought the timing of that was pretty good. It was just a little long. Q. What are you going to remember the most about this team and this season? COACH DECUIRE: Their heart, their passion, their desire to perform. I think I have a group of young men that gave me everything they had. And you can't say that for every team every year. And these guys were all in. They say family, and most of the time when you have a team that says family, because pretty much every team I've had says that, sometimes you have to define it for them. And I didn't have to do that for this team. They act like family on and off the court and they play like family. And I'm proud of these young men, and, you know, we got a tough draw. And it was a tough basketball game. They showed up; they performed. They gave us everything they had. I'll be talking about this team for a long time. No. You know, I think you've gotta come in and play your style of basketball. You gotta do what got you here. And if you try to do anything different, you're not going to be aggressive, you're not going to play instinctively. And I thought we did that. Our biggest issue was we win the paint. We broke even in the paint. Our bigs go 3 for for 11. So the three guys that typically we would go inside and get some things in the paint from couldn't get it going. And there were stretches where I'll go small, spread them out and move. But this is a very physical basketball team. And playing through the bump is easy to say but hard to emulate in practice. So it was kind of a game-time adjustment, and we just didn't do a good enough job of that. Q. Coach, to a question earlier, did you find the power outage frustrating or good opportunity to kind of coach your guys up a little bit more? COACH DECUIRE: No. We needed that timeout. They were rolling. And we were in trouble a little bit. We needed to freshen up. We needed to talk. We needed to make some adjustments. I was going to probably call one the next possession anyway. On the flip side, I think we got tight, though. I think guys like Mike, who tighten up pretty quick, took a minute to get going again. But, you know, when a team is rolling on you a little bit, you need a timeout. You know, last week I took one without calling one Rev #1 by #206 at :20:00 GMT page 3 of 3
7 Montana Grizzlies LOCKER ROOM INTERVIEWS #20 Fabijan Krslovic, 6-8 senior forward Q: Montana usually plays seven, while Michigan uses 10. Was depth an issue? KRSLOVIC: That was never really much of an issue as we thought. I think overall their size and their athleticism was the biggest thing that affected us. It wasn t the fact that they had more guys -- our guys were ready to go. It s just we don t get that much of a test in our conference facing that type of guy with that size and being that athletic. So I think that was the biggest problem, not just the fact that they had more depth than us. And we feel more comfortable rolling with our rotation. #Sayeed Pridgett, 6-5 sophomore guard Q: What was the difference between the start of the first and second halves? PRIDGETT: They just made adjustments, tried to beat us physically. They was getting to all the places they wanted to be. Q: What were you guys doing right at the start of the first half? PRIDGETT: Just playing a lot faster than those guys. Just pushing them, running them up. They re not really used to that, you know, trapping ball screens. Q: Your team forced double-digit turnovers against a Michigan team that limits turnovers, how did you do that? PRIDGETT: That was a key for us. Very big key for us. To win the turnover ratio, just to make those guys play out of character. And that's what we tried to do, just to get those guys to turn the ball over.
8 2018 NCAA Division I Men s Basketball March 15 INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita, KS First Round Game #4: #14 Montana vs. #3 Michigan MICHIGAN 61, MONTANA 47 GAME NOTES General Notes Michigan advances to play Houston in Saturday s second round. The Cougars defeated San Diego State Saturday s Michigan-Houston game time has yet to be set. This was the first meeting on the hardwood for Michigan and Montana. Michigan held Montana scoreless for 9:54 in the second half. The Wolverines stretched their lead from three to 14 during the span. A power outage that affected the shot clocks halted play for eleven minutes in the second half. Montana was held to a season low 47 points, which is more than 31 points under their average of 78.1 points per game. Montana Grizzlies Montana had a six-game winning streak snapped and finishes The Grizzlies drop to 2-11 in NCAA Tournament play. Their wins came in 1975 and 2006, the latter an upset of fifth-seeded Nevada. This was their 11 th NCAA Tournament appearance. Montana is 3-16 all-time against current members of the Big Ten, beating Nebraska in and and Minnesota in With their starting lineup of Jamar Akoh, Fabijan Krslovic, Michael Oguine, Ahmaad Rorie and Bobby Moorehead, Montana and Central Michigan are the only NCAA Division I schools this season to use the same starting lineup every game. Juniors Michael Oguine and Ahmaad Rorie led the scoring column with 15 points apiece. Michigan Wolverines Michigan has now won ten games in a row. Seven of those wins have come away from home. They are The Wolverines have not lost an opening round game under John Beilein, who is 14-7 in NCAA Tournament games at Michigan. Michigan previously played in Wichita in the 1994 NCAA Tournament, winning games against Pepperdine and Texas. Those games were held at the Kansas Coliseum, which no longer hosts events. Junior guard Charles Matthews posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
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