SAN ANTONIO — Moe Wagner, Charles Matthews and Michigan erased a 10-point second-half deficit and the Wolverines ended Loyola-Chicago’s storybook NCAA Tournament run with a 69-57 victory Saturday night in the Final Four. The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) will take a 14-game winning streak into their first national championship game appearance since 2013, and second under coach Jon Beilein.
Michigan will play either Villanova or Kansas for its first NCAA title since 1989 on Monday night at the Alamodome.
Lovable Loyola (32-6), with superfan Sister Jean courtside and their fans behind the bench standing for pretty much the entire game, could not conjure another upset. The Ramblers were the fourth 11th-seeded team to make it this far and like the previous three, the semifinals were the end of the road.
Mentions ofin news stories over the last two weeks have dwarfed those of coaches of big name schools. Before Saturday’s game, CBS News asked her if she thinks God is on Loyola’s side. “Right now, yes,” she responded.
Loyola had no answers for the 6-foot-11 Wagner and its offense, so smooth and efficient on the way to San Antonio, broke down in the second half and finished with 17 turnovers.
Wagner, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Germany, scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and was 10 for 16 from the field. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, added 17 points, including a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.
And that was that.
As the seconds ticked off, Wagner pumped his fist to the many Michigan fans who made the trek to San Antonio and Loyola’s Aundre Jackson, who got the Ramblers rolling with a late game-winning 3 in the first round against Miami, looked toward the roof and shook his head.
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