NCAA Latest: Loyola-Chicago ends long shooting drought

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.

Villanova, who won it all in 2016 on a buzzer-beating three, aims for its second title in three years, while MI seeks its first championship since 1989.

They never did get any 3-point shooting going, going 1 for 10 as MI solidified its tournament trend in which its opponents have shot 18 for 75 from downtown, but they did tend to get things done two points at a time, with Krutwig scoring on a few delicious hooks, then opening the second half muscling from the right in to score, draw a Wagner foul, provide that 10-point lead and let out a guttural scream.

MI is now headed to its seventh national championship game, in which it will face Villanova at 9:20 p.m. Monday.

Porter Moser wants his Loyola-Chicago players to savor every moment of the NCAA Tournament.

Sister Jean is 98 years old, but that didn't stop her from attending all of Loyola-Chicago's tournament games and becoming a highlight of numerous television broadcasts. Matthews followed with a reverse finish, making it 51-47 MI and causing Loyola coach Porter Moser to call a timeout with 5:48 left. "They believed, they wanted to advance".

Loyola-Chicago had to win the Missouri Valley Conference championship to secure its spot in the NCAA Tournament then made a run as an 11-seed. He led all scorers with 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting and also added 15 rebounds to give MI a crucial advantage on the boards.

Charles Matthews also contributed 17 points and was the only other MI player to score in double figures.

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).

Wagner is about all MI had going in the first half, even as an early lead turned into a seven point deficit at the half.

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Cameron Krutwig, a freshman center, led Loyola with 17 points, while Clayton Custer, a redshirt junior, had 15 points on nine shots.

The Ramblers, the No. 11 seed in the South Region, were in their first Final Four since 1963 - the year they were national champions.

MI coach John Beilein's stingiest defensive team in 11 years responded to the urgency of a 10-point deficit, at 41-31 with 14:08 left following seven straight points from Custer, who scored 13 of his 15 after halftime. Sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson missed two three-pointers, had a turnover and a foul on his way to the bench early.

Robinson's 3-pointer with 10:19 left made it 45-42 and gave Robinson six points.

"I liked a lot of things we were doing defensively on him", Moser said.

We're still waiting for a double-digit seed to make it to the title game. "So not dropping our heads was one of the main adjustments we had to make". Wagner finally tied it at 47 with 6:53 remaining on a corner triple, and U-M got the lead back with a stop and two Poole free throws.

Neither team shot well, with Loyola shooting a lowly 10-percent from three, and MI just 25-percent.

The Ramblers' 14-game losing streak is over, along with an incredible feel-good story at a time that college basketball, engulfed in a corruption scandal, could truly use one.

Gobeyn says, "They had a great run and sister jean, 98years old".

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. "I love that guy to death, and we'll never forget this". "I think we proved, during this run, that we can play with anyone in the country". Hail, Michigan prevailed over so many Hail Marys. They have so much to be proud of.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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