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Michigan makes NCAA final by holding off Syracuse

The Wolverines withstand a furious rally by the Orange for a 61-56 victory in the Final Four.

April 06, 2013|By Shannon Ryan
  • Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams tries to beat Michigan guard Trey Burke to a loose ball in the first half of their NCAA tournament Final Four game Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams tries to beat Michigan guard Trey… (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images )

ATLANTA -- This one, Michigan fans, is on the books.

Two decades after the famed Fab Five led the Wolverines to two NCAA tournament championship games that were later vacated, another group of fabulous young players has Michigan back in the title game after a 61-56 victory over fellow No. 4 seed Syracuse on Saturday night.

Michigan Coach John Beilein made the most of his first Final Four game in a career that has spanned every level of college basketball, climbing from junior colleges to Division III to Division II to Division I to the chance to become the best team in the nation.

BOX SCORE: Michigan 61, Syracuse 56

The Wolverines will play top-seeded Louisville on Monday night at the Georgia Dome. The Cardinals struggled before shutting down No. 9-seeded Wichita State, 72-68.

Despite leading by 11 earlier in the game against Syracuse, Michigan had to hang on until the very end.

After a three-pointer by James Southerland, Syracuse trailed just 57-56 with 40.3 seconds remaining. Michigan's Trey Burke missed the first and made the second of two free throws to give the Wolverines a two-point edge.

A charging call on Syracuse gave possession back to Michigan, and Jon Horford missed the first but made his second free throw with 17.9 seconds to go for a 59-56 lead. After a miss by Syracuse's Trevor Cooney, Jordan Morgan punctuated the Michigna victory with a dunk just before time expired.

Michigan shot only 40% from the field on a quiet night for some of its star players.

Burke, who collected every notable national player-of-the-year award, made only one of eight shots from the field and finished with seven points. Tim Hardaway Jr. missed 12 of 16 shots on his way to 13 points. Glenn Robinson III scored 10.

But Michigan likes to say it is a team of shooters, not a one-man show. And the Wolverines proved it again Saturday, when freshman forward Mitch McGary controlled the game with 10 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Two other Michigan freshmen, reserves Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert, each hit two timely three-pointers in the first half, helping to provide the Wolverines with a 36-25 halftime lead.

Defense and C.J. Fair (22 points) kept the Orange in the game.

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