Michigan Ends Loyola-Chicago's Long, Wild Ride in the Final Four

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Starting point guard Zavier Simpson struggled throughout, but once MI started to attack things got much easier.

Senior guard Muhammand-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has seen them all. At that point, Wagner and Matthews each had five points and four rebounds.

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.

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

Moe Wagner, Charles Matthews and MI erased a 10-point second-half deficit and the Wolverines ended Loyola-Chicago's storybook NCAA Tournament run with a 69-57 victory night in the Final Four. Things started rolling. Wagner, who must have decided he'd need an assist to accompany his 24 points and 15 rebounds, would ship a beaut of a pass low to Charles Matthews for a reverse layup. The other two were Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird. MI likely would be a slight underdog to Kansas and a sizable underdog to pre-tournament favorite Villanova. The Ramblers finished with the winningest season in program history, which included a 14-game winning streak. MI improved to 29-0 this season when Robinson scores at least six points. Moser said his team's run and the effect it had on the city and Rambler fans everywhere captured the spirit of the game.

As the seconds ticked off, Wagner pumped his fist to the many MI fans who made the trek to San Antonio.

The 6-foot-3 sophomore says he "should have come here straight out of high school" and called the transfer "definitely the best decision that I made". The Wolverines won a 69-57 game whose final score will always tell a lie. The Ramblers got good looks but had bad aim, starting the game only 2-for-10.

Loyola, meanwhile, slowly took advantage by closing the half on an elongated 25-10 run that led to a seven-point lead at the break. Six of his 15 rebounds were on the offensive end.

His 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half were one of the only reasons MI was even within striking range at intermission.

"We see some really good defenses in the Big Ten, really good", Michigan Coach John Beilein said in praising a Loyola squad that held his team to 29 percent shooting in the first half.

"I knew they were trying to punch us", Wagner said.

Offense was a struggle for MI in the first half. The Ramblers went more than 5½ minutes without scoring, and 7:39 without making a field goal. "It just happened to be like that".

Loyola Chicago guard Ben Richardson (14) hugs Loyola Chicago head coach Porter Moser as he. With Michigan struggling offensively, Beilein tried 11 different Wolverines in the first half, including Ibi Watson and Eli Brooks.

Wagner finally scored inside to make it 19-17 at 4:55. But they became the fourth No. 11 seed to bow out in this round, in this case because a lengthy MI defense overtook the Ramblers late, when Loyola threw the ball away.

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