COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A storm hit Columbus, Ohio at roughly 1:30 PM/ET Sunday afternoon. This storm, previously predicted to be filled with a nice wintery mix, moved in quick and left even faster—despite the 60-degree temperatures outside.
This hurricane like weather came inside the confines of Value City Arena. And after the disastrous start for No. 2 Michigan against 14th ranked Ohio State that saw the Buckeyes race out to a 28-8 advantage, many fans decked in scarlet and gray were ready to rename the monstrous building “blowout city arena.”
“We got very, very excited about this opportunity, and got out and probably challenged defensively a little too much away from our base defense,” said Beilein. “I like that. I like having the guys that have the big hearts, a lot of courage and want to go out there and get after them.”
Sophomore point guard Trey Burke, who finished the game with 15 points on 4 of 13 shooting, believes Michigan played right into Ohio State’s hands early.
“It’s a road game and we knew it was going to be tough,” said Burke. “We had too many turnovers in the beginning -- a couple forced shots and they made us pay.”
The deficit could have crumbled the undefeated Wolverines inside the hellacious Value City atmosphere -- but Michigan adjusted, slowing the game down with a little zone … and slowly came up with some key plays.
“Whenever we got away from just patience and poise on offense it got us in trouble,” said Beilein. “When we were poised with it, we got it, and we did well -- we got either good shots or we scored. That’s why we embraced it so much. This was a great opportunity for us to grow as a team.”
Sparked by the most unlikely of candidates in the first half, Michigan freshmen guard Spike Albrecht gave the Wolverines life, scoring seven points—including a triple and several hustle plays—to help close the deficit to 12 points at halftime, drawing high praise from his coach afterwards.
“He’s a singles hitter, but even he took a step back three in transition, which probably isn’t what (they want),” said Beilein. “But you got to applaud that. You got to say ‘Okay, he’s not wilting, he wants to make it happen’.”
Then in the second half came a near-natural disaster the likes of which no one in the building could have predicted or expected to come, as the Wolverines almost capsized the Buckeyes ship and the seemingly insurmountable lead, to tie the game at 46.
But after climbing to within two in the final minute, Michigan ran out of time, losing 56-53.
“Came out too slow in the first half and it bit us at the end,” said Burke. “Second half I think we came out the way we should have come out in the first half, and it was too late. It was two or three possessions too late.”
With a deep, talented Minnesota team waiting for Michigan Thursday, Beilein and the Wolverines are ready to turn the page and learn from the many mistakes that dropped them to 16-1 for the season.
“This is terrific for us,” said Beilein. “Every coach will tell you that. When was the last team that didn’t lose? It happens, and the teams that really prosper from it are the ones that get better from it. We had not played a top-20 team on the road yet – I think we have three or four in a row.”
“In time, the good teams will get better through it.”
To watch video of Beilein’s post game presser, click play below.