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Late Michigan Surge Ends Loyola-Chicago's Heroic Cinderella Run

Photo: Eric Gay (AP)

For a good 30-plus minutes Saturday night it looked like the unlikely tournament run of 11th-seed Loyola-Chicago would live on. The Ramblers had a seven-point lead at halftime; that lead would grow to 10 points early in the second half, and stood as high as eight points at the 11:25 mark. From that point on the Wolverines outscored the underdogs 32-12, and wound up with a decisive 69-57 win. Barf.

Because I am a sucker for sports underdogs, when large frumpus Cameron Krutwig threw in a ridiculous and-one layup to put the Ramblers up five with 9:19 on the clock, I leapt off the damn sofa like a psycho. It seemed like they might do the shit!

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But it was not to be. Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews came alive in the second half: Wagner scored 13 of his game-high 24 points after the break, including the game-tying three pointer with just under seven minutes left on the clock; Matthews scored nine points in the second half, including a breakaway dunk inside of two minutes to basically ice the game:

Michigan will advance to the national championship. Loyola-Chicago, a sharp and massively fun team that also packed the pluck and charm of a very good underdog run, can console themselves with the knowledge that they and their cool old nun will be remembered as the story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

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