Michi­gan stuns an­other

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — Moe Wag­ner scored a ca­reer-high 26 points and spurred a furious sec­ond-half rally to send Michi­gan past Louisville 73-69 and into the Sweet 16.

The sev­enth-seeded Wolver­ines (26-11) have won seven games in a row, in­clud­ing six con­sec­u­tive af­ter a fright­en­ing plane ac­ci­dent be­fore the Big Ten Tour­na­ment. Michi­gan also earned a ticket to re­gional semi­fi­nals for the first time since 2014.

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — Moe Wag­ner grit­ted his teeth, pumped his fist and stuck out his mouth­piece to the crowd’s de­light Sun­day.

A few min­utes later, Wag­ner took a cou­ple more bows — first on the base­line in front of Michi­gan’s bench, then with the rest of his team­mates near mid­court.

Sud­denly, the of­ten over­looked 6-foot-11 for­ward, from Ger­many, was the well-de­served cen­ter of at­ten­tion.

Wag­ner scored a ca­reer-high 26 points, made the bas­ket that spurred Michi­gan’s furious sec­ond-half rally and capped the day with a three-pointer to give the Wolver­ines the lead for good as they knocked off sec­ond-seeded Louisville 73-69 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.

“He’s got the men­tal­ity where he wants to make the play,” said Der­rick Wal­ton Jr., who drove in for Michi­gan’s fi­nal bas­ket with 29 sec­onds left. “He just makes the right play at all times. He has the calls to make the big plays, so we feed off him be­cause he’s not afraid of any­thing.”

Trail­ing 45-36 with 16:09 to play, Wag­ner made a layup that started a 17-6 run to give Michi­gan its first lead since the open­ing min­utes of the game. When Wag­ner knocked down a three-pointer with 6:39 to go to break a 55-55 tie, the Wolver­ines never trailed again.

Af­ter­ward, Michi­gan’s play­ers cel­e­brated by jump­ing around near mid­court, then walk­ing next to the pep band and pump­ing their fists to­ward yel­low-clad fans as the school fight song boomed.

Once in­side the locker room, Coach John Beilein play­fully squirted his play­ers with a wa­ter gun.

“A lit­tle damp right now,” Beilein said as the postgame news con­fer­ence be­gan. “But our guys, we started a tradition of tak­ing a shower, I guess, with­out go­ing into the shower af­ter good wins. It’s not stop­ping.”

At least not in In­di­anapo­lis.

Louisville (25-9) came into Sun­day as a small fa­vorite.

Coach Rick Pitino was 3-1 in head-to-head matchups with Beilein and the Car­di­nals had made it to the Sweet 16 in each of their pre­vi­ous four NCAA ap­pear­ances.

Dono­van Mitchell fin­ished with 19 points, 7 re­bounds and 5 as­sists to lead Louisville. Deng Adel had 16 points and Man­gok Mathi­ang added 13.

Not much went as ex­pected, though.

Louisville’s pres­sure de­fense forced only six Michi­gan turnovers and the Car­di­nals wound up 5 of 20 on three-point­ers.


TULSA — Josh Jack­son scored 14 of his 23 points in the sec­ond half to help Kansas pull away late and reach the Sweet 16 for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year with a vic­tory over Michi­gan State.

Frank Mason III added 20 points for the No. 1-seed Jay­hawks (30-4), who have ad­vanced to the sec­ond week­end of the NCAA Tour­na­ment in nine of Coach Bill Self’s 14 sea­sons.

Devonte’ Gra­ham added 18 points and Lan­den Lu­cas had 10 for the Jay­hawks, who shot 53.1 per­cent (34 of 64) in the vic­tory.

Miles Bridges scored 22 points to lead Michi­gan State (20-15) de­spite leav­ing briefly in the first half with an in­jury. Nick Ward also fin­ished in dou­ble fig­ures with 13 points and Joshua Lang­ford had 10 for the Spar­tans.


SACRA­MENTO, Calif. — Tyler Dorsey hit a con­tested go-ahead three-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 sec­onds to play, E.C. Matthews air­balled a long three in the wan­ing mo­ments try­ing to force over­time, and third-seeded Oregon ral­lied in the sec­ond half to beat up­start No. 11 Rhode Is­land and reach the Midwest Re­gional.

Dorsey also tied the game with a three with 1:45 re­main­ing on the way to 27 points be­fore team­mate Dil­lon Brooks took a charge on the other end for Oregon (31-5).

With Oregon’s sea­son on the brink of an early NCAA Tour­na­ment exit, Brooks found his shoot­ing stroke as he of­ten does and scored 19 points de­spite a 7-for-20 shoot­ing day. Dorsey made 9 of 10 shots with four three-point­ers.

Rhode Is­land nearly scrapped and hus­tled its way into the next round, with Stan­ford Robin­son match­ing his ca­reer high of 21 points as the Rams (25-10) had their nine-game win­ning streak snapped to end the sea­son.


Michi­gan for­ward Moe Wag­ner (left) drives on Louisville for­ward Ray Spald­ing (right) in the sec­ond half of the Wolver­ines’ 73-69 vic­tory over the sec­ond-seeded Car­di­nals in the Midwest Re­gional in In­di­anapo­lis, Ind. Wag­ner had a team-high 26 points.

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