Final Four: Michigan ends Cinderella run of Loyola with strong second half

Final Four: Michigan ends Cinderella run of Loyola with strong second half”

But it was all MI from there, as the Wolverines outscored the Ramblers, 38-16, the rest of the way to advance to the national title game for the second time in six years.

MI jumped out to a 12-4 lead and led 15-10 before the Loyola surge started. Poole put MI in front, 49-47, with a pair of free throws at the 6:20 mark of the second half. On the next Wolverines' possession, Wagner buried a step-back three and suddenly the score was tied, 47-47.

Beilein points out that Loyola won 32 games this season.

The Wolverines overcame a horrid first-half shooting performance, received 24 points and 14 rebounds from Moritz Wagner and erased a 10-point second-half deficit with a 69-57 win over the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in San Antonio.

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Wagner, who finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, later hit a three-pointer that extended the lead to 59-51, and MI held on from there.

In reality, it was Michigan's defense that once again made the difference. He went to a more offensive-minded lineup. Now, add Loyola to Michigan's list of victims.

Cameron Krutwig, Loyola's big man, scored 17 points and Clayton Custer had 13 of his 15 after halftime.

MI rallied from 10-points down to make it to the NCAA title game. Loyola's eFG% is 53 percent during the final 10 seconds of the shot clock (16th in Division I). The four teams that meet this Saturday are among the best in Division I at capitalizing on their offensive advantages while not kowtowing to defensive pressure, so the two teams that can exact 40 minutes of sheer offensive execution while avoiding defensive disruption will dance into Monday's title game. Instead it will have to settle with being the lowest seed to reach the Final Four, tying the Ramblers with LSU (1986), George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011). It's no wonder they have made it this far, taking down four higher seeds in the process. He found a way to beat Loyola's switching defense - a defense that makes it very, very hard to get shots out of offensive sets - and got his players to execute it. Still, he says he wants them to "enjoy the ride". And they have so much to be proud of. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt and her favourite team, the Missouri Valley Conference champions, making their first NCAA appearance since 1985, will return to Chicago as heroes, regardless. How a team runs its sets and caps off its offensive possessions - regardless of shot-clock constraints - largely determines whether that squad is going to contend for the national title.

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