TITLE GAME BOUND: Michigan Rallies Past Loyola (Chicago), 69-57

by Leon Thompson April 3, 2018, 3:01
TITLE GAME BOUND: Michigan Rallies Past Loyola (Chicago), 69-57

He saw Wagner's first seven double-doubles this season and a career-high 27-point effort at Michigan State this season, when the Spartans were ranked No. 4 in the nation.

The Wolverines fell behind by 10 points when Loyola center Cameron Krutwig earned a 3-point play on his team's first possession of the final 20 minutes, but MI gradually worked its way back into the game and surged forward when Beilein chose to remove seniors Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and insert freshmen Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers.

He didn't hesitate. It was No. 1.

The Wolverines beat the Ramblers 69-57 in the Final Four matchup Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, knocking the highest-seed from the 2018 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament.

Wagner finished the game with monster statistics: 24 points and 15 rebounds. The other two were Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird.

MI moves on to face the victor of tonight's Kansas-Villanova game. Clearly under the impression it belonged squarely alongside a Big Ten tournament champion with a 13-game winning streak and a gigantic name. They also set the NCAA single-season record. MI improved to 29-0 this season when Robinson scores at least six points. For the past three weeks, the Ramblers made it okay to be unapologetically overjoyed about a college basketball team, something the unbiased observer couldn't be sure was possible when this tournament started.

Abdur-Rahkman said it was fun to watch.

It's game day at the Final Four in San Antonio. Wagner had to do so much in the opening 20 minutes, he looked exhausted toward the end of the half.

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"He has grown a lot since he has been here".

Loyola had led by 10 points with just more than 14 minutes remaining. The Wolverines finished the game with a 38-16 spurt.

Krutwig was a major factor in facing up Mo Wagner and using an array of post moves and hook shots to score 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Custer took the game over from a while as he scored nine of his 15 points in the first 8:35 of the second half as Loyola built a 45-37 lead.

"I kept looking possession by possession - we had trouble scoring the first half", Wagner said.

Offense was a struggle for MI in the first half. "It just happened to be like that".

While it was still going, and the Ramblers had an unplanned meeting when Coach Porter Moser had to take a timeout just past seven minutes into the game, they had trailed 12-4. Michigan's rebounding edge was just four at 36-32 but 11-6 on the offensive glass. The ultimate edge was 19-6. "It hurts right now, and even though it might hurt for everyone for a while, once we get over it and realize what we did, I think the memories are going to outweigh the pain for sure". You don't get there with just luck. They had made two shots out of 10, had seen three layups in traffic roll off the rim and had six rebounds to Michigan's gathering collection of 12.

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