For much of Saturday’s first Final Four game, it looked like the 11 seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers’ improbable run might continue. They fell behind 12-6 early against the Michigan Wolverines, but battled back and took a 29-22 lead into the half thanks to a nice buzzer-beater. However, in the second half, Michigan fought all the way back. The Ramblers controlled the early part of the half and were were up 43-34 with 12:14 left. The Wolverines then went on a run of their own, though, tying the game at 47 with 6:59 left thanks to this three-pointer from Moritz Wagner (#13 above):
German big man Wagner (cue Ride of the Valkyries) was key to the Wolverines’ success on the night, as he’s been for much of the tournament. He finished with a game-high 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting, and also hit three of seven shots from deep (three of only seven Michigan made all evening), grabbed 15 rebounds (six on the offensive glass), and added three steals. And after his three, the Wolverines kept pressing and went up 59-51 (matching their previous largest lead of the game) with 3:03 left, then expanded that lead to 61-51 with 2:15 left. They wouldn’t look back, and would go on to an impressive 69-57 win. That gives them a berth in Monday night’s championship game against the winner of the Kansas-Villanova clash. We’ll see what Wagner and the Wolverines do there.