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Final Four 2018: Moe Wagner carried MI in sloppy first half
03 April 2018, 02:59 | Tracey Rhodes
Cox Getty Images
There was a comeback and a blowout.
MI won the title in 1989, while Loyola-Chicago won it in 1963.
The Wolverines overcame a horrid first-half shooting performance, received 24 points and 14 rebounds from Moritz Wagner and erased a 10-point Loyola-Chicago second-half deficit with a 69-57 win over the Ramblers in San Antonio. Their only national championship came in 1989. The Wolverines were last in the title game in 2013, when they lost to Louisville.
MI continued to lock down defensively in the NCAA tournament, holding Loyola-Chicago to less than one point per possession - the fourth time they've done that in the NCAA tournament.
The crux of Villanova's attack was a historic three-point barage. And they hit some shots.
Loyola, which had led by 10 in the second half, now trailed by eight.
The second half from the Wolverines was in stark contrast to the first-half effort. They also set the NCAA single-season record. Matthews scored on a backdoor cut to make it 51-47 with 5:48 remaining, and the Wolverines were back in business. "But I heard I broke Coach Raftery's glasses - I feel bad for that". They're a great team. "We just needed that spark plug". The Wolverines were down just three points with building momentum. Wagner, who had a double-double after the first half, finished the game 10 of 16 from the field and three of seven from three-point range.
Villanova Breaks Final Four Single Game Three-Point Record
But the Jayhawks were a step slow as the Wildcats whipped the ball around the perimeter or on drive-and-kickouts for open looks. Get in the lane, make plays for one another and when you have it going like that you can play small and you can play big.
Sister Jean in San Antonio was not enough for Loyola-Chicago as third-seeded MI was able to pull away from the Ramblers 69-57.
Sister Jean watched attentively in the second half while Loyola's healthy lead dwindled and vanished in a flurry of turnovers.
Junior Charles Matthews, who is from Chicago, added 17 points for MI.
MI will play a No. 1 seed in Villanova, which dominated Kansas in Saturday's second semifinal, for its first NCAA title since 1989 on Monday night at the Alamodome. The 14-game winning streak, longest in the nation, was finished. "Two categories we want to be on the better side of in our game goals for each game, and we failed both of those goals".
Each Rambler still hugged Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team's 98-year-old celebrity chaplain, before leaving the floor.
By the time Wagner's personal 10-4 run ended, MI was up eight and the Wolverines had finally ended Loyola-Chicago's Cinderella run.
A regulation basketball court comprises 4,700 square feet, and Michigan's Moe Wagner covered all of that and so much more during the first 40 minutes he spent at the 2018 NCAA Final Four. No 11 seed has ever advanced past the Final Four. "Their length. They're really good defensively", Loyola head coach Porter Moser said.
"It was as tough a locker room as I've seen", Moser said.
"I know we impacted a lot of lives in our city and across the country, but right now that's hard to let sink in", Custer said. And they have so much to be proud of.
Halftime-Loyola of Chicago 29-22.
It's safe to say that Loyola-Chicago's run is among the best in the history of the NCAA Tournament.
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