April 1 (UPI) — No. 3 Michigan sent Cinderella packing by coming back from a 10-point deficit in the second half against the No. 11 Loyola Ramblers.
The Wolverines beat the Ramblers 69-57 in the Final Four matchup Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, knocking the highest-seed from the 2018 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.
“I stand here or sit here and could not be more proud of a group than I am of this group,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said in his postgame news conference. “When I walked off the floor, I was asked what I said to them.”
“What I said to them was ‘the more you invest in something, the harder it is to give up.’ They didn’t want to end it. They have so much to be proud of. They changed the perception of a program. They changed the perception of when you say ‘Loyola Chicago men’s basketball,’ they changed that…They impacted so many lives around, starting with our campus. Then it spread on high-character kids playing their tails off unselfishly.”
Cameron Krutwig’s and-1 just 20 seconds into the second frame put the Ramblers up 32-22, before the Wolverines mounted a comeback. Charles Matthews made a jump shot at the 13:30 mark for Michigan, cutting the lead to 41-33. The Wolverines then went on a 23-6 run over the next 7:59 to take a 54-47 advantage.
Loyola could not claw back into the game, being unraveled by a series of turnovers. Moritz Wagner scored a game-high 24 points and had 15 points for Michigan. Cameron Krutwig scored 17 points for Loyola. Clayton Custer chipped in 15 points for the Ramblers.
“To be honest, I just kept looking possession-by-possession,” Wagner said after the game. “We had trouble scoring int he first half. We had 22 points.”
“…I honestly just tried to do my job. The shots were falling in the second half. It’s a lot more fun when the ball goes through the net. It just worked out that way.”
Loyola made just 1-of-10 of its shots from 3-point range in the loss.
Villanova battles Michigan in the national championship game at 9:20 p.m. Monday in San Antonio.