Monday, 21 January, 2019

Loyola-Chicago's Cinderella run ends with loss to MI

Loyola-Chicago's Cinderella run ends with loss to MI Loyola-Chicago's Cinderella run ends with loss to MI
Sidney Guerrero | 03 April, 2018, 02:58

He told Negron, "Your offseason starts when we get back". The Wolverines will resume the underdog role they played much of the season Monday night, trying to win its second NCAA championship. Simpson was particularly very bad, missing all six of his shots and committing four turnovers in a scoreless performance. Custer has averaged double-figures in each of his two seasons since transferring from Iowa State, shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range and distributing effectively.

MI was up 12-4 at the 12:38 mark.

Jalen Brunson, the AP national player of the year, had three 3s for Villanova as part of his game-high 13 points.

All that grew clear after Loyola Chicago began by trailing 12-4 and making shooting in a dome look like ... shooting in a dome.

Loyola continued their run after the half and increased their lead to 10 just a minute into it. Jaaron Simmons hit his first triple since February.

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

Except Wagner at the rim.

The Wolverines missed everything outside and inside.

It was 6-for-23 when Matthews forced a bad jumper, and Townes put Loyola up by four with a runner. And Michigan converted those offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points. Their efforts headlined one of the Wolverines worst first half outputs of the season. The lead was still eight at 45-37 with 11:25 remaining.

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When coach Porter Moser gathered his team in the locker room, as tough of a postgame scene as Moser ever has experienced in 28 years of coaching, he spoke from his broken heart.

The Wolverines kept coming, forcing turnovers and getting out in transition.

Loyola held a 29-22 lead at the half, but MI battled back and then took a lead with just under seven minutes to play. About midway through the first half, the Ramblers had figured out the MI defense just as the MI supporting cast failed to help Wagner.

MVC defensive player of the year Richardson (6.9 points per game), Aundre Jackson (11 points per game) and Donte Ingram (11 points, 6.4 rebounds per game), the seniors, will be gone.

What wasn't expected was how lopsided of a national semifinal game this would be, with the Wildcats racing to a 22-4 lead within the first seven minutes. Loyola loves the 3-point shot, but hit only 1 of 10 attempts. Matthews' drive and finish slowed the bleeding again.

And the Wolverines got there the hard way. Finally, with the deficit at 47-42 with 7:44 left, the dam broke.

Wagner hit a 3 from right in front of the MI bench with 6:50 left to tie it, and moments later the Wolverines were back on top, 49-47, when Jordan Poole made two free throws. The Wolverines came back to cover the spread as 5-point favorites, and the game was under the total of 129.5.

Krutwig regularly established strong position inside against Wagner. Wagner's special performance got it done for MI. On Michigan's next possession, Jordan Poole's free throws gave U-M its first lead since 15-13.

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