Loyola-Chicago leads MI 29-22 at half

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Loyola-Chicago's improbable run through the NCAA Tournament ended Saturday night with a 69-57 loss to MI.

Sister Jean in San Antonio was not enough for Loyola-Chicago as third-seeded MI was able to pull away from the Ramblers 69-57.

7 Championship game appearances for MI, including the Fab Five's two vacated losses. But we'll also remember Loyola, 11-seed that toppled three favorites in the final seconds, that crashed the Final Four, that made a 98-year-old nun an global celebrity, and that ultimately pushed Goliath to the brink on the season's final Saturday. 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.

"They are a really good defensive team", Loyola guard Marques Townes said, confirming what was apparent, "and we had an emphasis to try and take care of the ball".

"I kept looking possession by possession - we had trouble scoring the first half", Wagner said.

The Chicago native was a good outside shooter who played bigger than his 6-foot-6 size.

Moe Wagner scored 24 points and had 15 rebounds to lead MI against Loyola-Chicago, which led by as many as 10 points early in the second half. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, had a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.

It was enough to put Cinderella - or whoever they are, if you're Beilein - to bed and secure a spot in the championship. And I honestly just tried to do my job.

The second half from the Wolverines was in stark contrast to the first-half effort. However, Michigan scored 17 of the game's next 19 points to assume control at 54-47.

Or, as MI guard Jaaron Simmon, put it: "He was a beast tonight". It's a lot more fun when the ball goes to the net.

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It was a full night. Additionally, the entire team with the exception of Wagner could have played better in the first half when Loyola-Chicago hung around during a slow start and ultimately entered halftime with a 7-point advantage.

If Loyola-Chicago can pull off another upset, it will be the first No. 11 seed to ever reach the national championship game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. They had made two shots out of 10, had seen three layups in traffic roll off the rim and had six rebounds to Michigan's gathering collection of 12. "And I'll tell you this: When you're done as a young player, you know it's not as much what you left behind; it's what you impacted". Starting point guard Zavier Simpson struggled throughout, but once MI started to attack things got much easier. Simpson had no points and four turnovers. "She was so happy to be on this run with us and we should keep our heads high and be happy with what we accomplished", Jackson said. "So not dropping our heads was one of the main adjustments we had to make".

MI has won 14 games in a row after ending Loyola's 14-game winning streak.

The critics were quick to come out calling Sister Jean a "fraud" while some questioned whether she lost faith in Loyola, but it turns out Sister Jean was just doing what she always does. "They changed the perception of a program; they changed the perception of when you say "Loyola Chicago" - for men's basketball, they changed that". "I love that guy to death, and we'll never forget this". His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com, CBSSports.com and many others.

The Michigan Wolverines will play for a national title.

Villanova plays Kansas on Saturday night in the second semifinal.

Wagner, the Wolverines' 6-11 junior center, set an unofficial Final Four record by twice flying over the side of the elevated court the NCAA constructed at the center of the Alamodome.

Richardson pulled his maroon No. 14 jersey over his red face as Custer hugged his buddy a little tighter, both trying to process the disappointment of a 69-57 loss to MI in the ntional semifinal. The Wolverines outscored the Ramblers 38-16 the rest of the way, including a 17-2 run during one stretch. They scored 22 points off 16 turnovers by Loyola. Abdur-Rahkman missed a three, and Loyola took a 10-point lead on five Clayton Custer points. Rebounds-Loyola of Chicago 31 (Ingram 9), MI 35 (Wagner 14).

The Ramblers are also getting out-rebounded 12-6 and have already given up seven second-chance points less than 8 minutes into the game. Total fouls-Loyola of Chicago 17, MI 11.