Final Four recap: MI 69, Loyola-Chicago 57
- Author: Lawrence Cooper Apr 03, 2018,
Apr 03, 2018, 3:02
Because the Loyola Ramblers were very bit as special as their run to the Final Four suggested they were, and MI did not stretch out toward their 69-57 victory until the game's closing minutes.
7 Championship game appearances for MI, including the Fab Five's two vacated losses.
"We made a concerted effort to take away the 3", Beilein said.
Loyola's a team that's busted a lot of brackets, but lots of people still came out to cheer them on in their Final Four match up against the Michigan Wolverines Saturday night.
Sister Jean has been such a positive force during this tournament that positivity rang to her team in the AlamoDome.
After falling behind, 12-4, in the game's first 7½ minutes, Loyola controlled the next 25 minutes of action before succumbing to the size and skill of MI forward Moritz Wagner, who finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, and suffering from a rash of 17 turnovers, including five in a row during a critical second-half stretch.
Moritz Wagner, a junior from Berlin, led the Wolverines with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, had a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.
There have been three players in past 40 years with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a national semifinal:Wagner, Houston's Akeem Olajuwon (1983) and Indiana State's Larry Bird (1979).
"Wow", Wagner said. "If you put it like that, it's pretty cool". And I honestly just tried to do my job. The Wolverines had only one assist and eight turnovers in the first half.
Wagner finally scored inside to make it 19-17 at 4:55. "I mean, just this group is resilient".
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Or, as MI guard Jaaron Simmon, put it: "He was a beast tonight". "All of a sudden", Beilein said, "we took off like insane", and Wagner credited "a lot more set plays" and an "offense a lot more organized".
It was a full night. The 11th seeded Ramblers are playing No. 3 seed MI for a spot in the NCAA title game. It was as good of a spurt as they've had all year. "It has been so much fun, probably the most fun I have had in my entire life", said Jared Jurss, a member of the Loyola pep band. MI refused to fade, even with point guard Zavier Simpson - whose solid play has been critical to the Wolverines' late-season surge - playing terribly. The Wolverines were down just three points with building momentum.
Jordan Poole scored on a driving layup before a Duncan Robinson triple with 10:06 to play made it 45-42, Loyola. "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". "So not dropping our heads was one of the main adjustments we had to make". It was Michigan's first lead since 15-13 in the first half.
But Michigan represented their toughest test of the season, having a double-digit win streak of their own to get to this point. They wore Sister Jean T-shirts - "Worship".
From there to halftime, the game made itself a hairpin turn, Loyola Chicago playing the last duration of the first half while crafting a 25-10 scoring advantage in that last 12:38.
Despite the loss, fans say they will never forget this historic run. His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com, CBSSports.com and many others.
"I don't think I've ever seen that stat in any of my teams in the past", Beilein said.
"We're going to give her a little bit of an extended break from everything".
Villanova plays Kansas on Saturday night in the second semifinal.
The Villanova Wildcats keep setting new records with all those 3-pointers they are making in the Final Four. Totals 22-51 12-14 57. They changed the perception of a program. Duncan Robinson started the second half and, after missing his first three shot attempts, drained a 3 to get MI within five, 32-27.