Michigan Wolverines’ John Beilein: ‘Don’t let ’em beat you twice”


The headline couldn’t make any more sense. Of course, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein was referring to the surprising 72-70 loss to (independent) NJIT Saturday (Dec. 6).

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Beilein’s quote “Don’t let ’em beat you twice” suggests that if the Wolverines (6-2) intend to beat Eastern Michigan Tuesday night (Dec.9, 9pm), they better move on.

“What often hurts,” Beilein added, “also instructs.”

LeVert’s career high

Beilein blamed Saturday’s loss on just plain poor defense. While the Highlanders shot the lights out from long range , they were also allowed to score 26 points in the paint (to Michigan’s 14), many on back-door-cuts to the basket.

Regardless of how they scored, NJIT hit an incredible 58.7 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from three-point range. “Number Five (Damon Lynn) for them was just sensational (20 points, 6-10 from three) Beilein added. “We really don’t have a defense for those step-back jump shots.”

Dec 6, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Caris LeVert (23) dribbles defended by N.J.I.T Highlanders forward Tim Coleman (2) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For Michigan, Caris LeVert kept the Wolverines in the game after intermission. He scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half, the most by any Wolverine in any half this season. He scored 15 of Michigan’s final 18 points and has now led U-M in scoring a team-high four times this season.

On LeVert’s performance, Beilein said:

"“It was really good. He did so many things out there, and I mean (hitting) big shots. It is tough, when they answer then you have to answer, then they answer, and you have to do it again, and they answer. So I love his growth right now. And all our other guys that have the experience and certainly didn’t have as good a night as he did, but that was sensational. If you like watching great 1-on-1 players, between Caris and (Damon) Lynn, that was quite a show.”"

Michigan wasn’t the only team to lose to a lower-level team. While Purdue, Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech joined the Wolverines in winning their Big Ten/ACC challenge games, they all were defeated in their next appearance. Purdue lost to North Florida, Miami lost to Green Bay and Georgia Tech lost to USC Upstate.

Next-door neighbors

Eastern Michigan (7-1), who is picked to finish third in the MAC West, would love to upset its neighbors. The Eagles campus is just nine miles from Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti.

Eastern also finished third last season (22-15, 10-6 MAC West).

The Eagles are led in scoring by Raven Lee at 16.4 points per game and Mike Talley who leads the team with 4.0 assists per game. The name Mike Talley might sound familiar because his dad played for Michigan from 1990-93.

Bolded names are linked to sports-reference, a statistical enhanced website.

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