John Beilein to Ethan Happ: I don t want to see you again the rest of my life - John Beilein to Ethan Happ: I don t want to see you again the rest of my life -

John Beilein to Ethan Happ: 'I don't want to see you again the rest of my life' -

10 Feb, 2019

ANN ARBOR -- John Beilein and Ethan Happ met in the postgame handshake line on Saturday afternoon. Michigan had pulled off a win over Wisconsin, avenging a loss earlier this season, but the Badgers' star player had a typically impressive performance.

"I hope to see you again this season," Happ told Beilein, according to Michigan's coach.

"No, Ethan," Beilein said he responded. "I don't want to see you again the rest of my life."

Happ is a fifth-year senior. He redshirted in 2014-15, when Wisconsin beat Michigan twice en route to a national title appearance. Happ has been a starter in the four seasons since, tormenting Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten with an endless array of post moves and skill not often seen in a player his size. He scored 18 points on Saturday and 26 in the Jan. 19 matchup. He posted 29 in the lone meeting last season. "He has been a big part of their success against us in these last four years," Beilein said. "I don't want to play him ever again. I don't want to play Wisconsin. But they're in the league; we're going to play them."

Michigan could potentially face Happ again in the Big Ten Tournament or, possibly, in the NCAA Tournament. If that happens, the Wolverines will try to duplicate Saturdays second-half performance against Happ and the Badgers. He scored just four points after halftime as Michigan pulled away late for a 61-52 win. Early on, Michigan didn't have an answer for Happ, who used his fancy footwork to score 10 of Wisconsin's first 15 points. Beilein wanted Jon Teske to play defense without committing bad fouls, and he made that clear to his center before the game. In hindsight, Beilein felt he may have overemphasized the importance of not fouling.

"I think he guarded him without being as physical as he could have guarded him," Beilein said. "In the second half, in the limited minutes Ethan played, Jon was much more physical with him and made him counter two or three times." Michigans plan was to let Teske defend the potential All-American one-on-one so as not to let Wisconsins 3-point shooters get open.

The 6-foot-10 Happ leads Wisconsin with five assists per game. On Saturday, Happ finished 9-of-19, he had just one assist, and the Badgers made just 4-of-12 3s. No other Wisconsin player reached double digits. Teske described his game plan against Happ. It starts by denying him a deep post catch. Even if Happ gets the ball at the 3-point line, though, he has no trouble dribbling the air out of the ball until he gets to his spot. He loves to spin baseline, he likes to get to his jump hooks, Teske said. The 7-foot-1 Teske wanted to make sure he stood tall. Hes going to get his points. But if you wall him up, force tough 2s, hes going to miss a couple bunnies.

Fortunately he did that. Teske made Happ work at the other end of the floor, too. He hit 6-of-10 shots, including a 3, to finish with 17 points in 34 minutes. Some of that damage came with Happ on the bench. Happ picked up his third foul 90 seconds into the second half and sat for nine minutes of game time. It amounted to 28 consecutive minutes of inactivity.

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard felt it broke Happ's rhythm, though he also credited Teske and Michigan's "pesky" help defenders. Gard said it's clear that Teske has transformed his body -- he's stronger and better conditioned -- to become a more imposing presence around the basket in addition to adding an outside shot.

"He was a gentle giant in high school, then he's backing up Moe Wagner for two years," Beilein said. "Before this season, not nearly as much was asked of Teske as is now. I think he knows how important he is to the team, Beilein said. Teske is among the limited players in the country who at least stands a chance against Happ."

Beilein knows and appreciates this. But he still hopes Teske doesnt get a chance to prove it ever again. John Beilein's hometown pals witness another victory

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BY - Andrew Kahn |