MI ends Loyola-Chicago's magical run

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Moe Wagner had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who overcame a 10-point deficit early in the second half to beat Loyola 69-57.

Ben Richardson and Donte Ingram combined for just 6 points on 3 of 8 shooting.

Exhausted of watching victories fizzle away through defensive deficiencies, coach John Beilein made a philosophical change, putting an emphasis on that side of the ball.

Photo Loyola-Chicago's Marques Townes laying the ball up against MI in the first half. The Wolverines might lack the shooting the Ramblers have, but have the talent to defend against it. Moritz Wagner is an inside-out threat who's more versatile than most of the bigs Loyola-Chicago has faced.

Wagner hit a three 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. "I'm proud of that".

"What I said to them was 'the more you invest in something, the harder it is to give up.' They didn't want to end it". "Me and him are the only guys on the team that have seen all this come up from Day 1, along with coach [Porter Moser], and we've come a long way".

Loyola had no answers for the 6-foot-11 Wagner. "We had trouble scoring int he first half". Wagner posted a double-double in the first half.

"Not dropping our heads, that was the main thing", Simmons said. "And we just try to win".

"I kept looking possession by possession", Wagner said.

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Cameron Krutwig, Loyola's big man in the middle, scored 17 points and Clayton Custer had 13 of his 15 after halftime.

When Wagner hit a 3-pointer (he had three of them) with 2 minutes, 59 seconds left, it put MI up by 8, and a clearly exhausted Loyola seemed done for. The Wolverines' D grew more active, forcing Loyola into tougher shots and shorter possessions. "I don't think you've ever seen one of our teams ever be one assist to eight turnovers". It was as good of a spurt as they've had all year. "They closed that gap of opportunity in a hurry". Loyola made one field goal in a stretch of more than six minutes and was never able to dig out of the hole completely.

Wagner also went flying off the elevated court, chasing a loose ball, avoiding injury but taking out CBS commentator Bill Raftery's eye glasses.

"I mean, that was obviously pretty cool for me, because I watched this my entire childhood, this Final Four here".

Overall at one point, MI had a 30-9 run in the second half.

Whether it was Sister Jean charming the nation or an unselfish team pulling out one nerve-racking win over another, the Ramblers gave college basketball a feel-good story at a time when the sport needed it.

Loyola: Actors Bob Newhart, Leslie David Baker and Jennifer Morrison; Chicago Bears owner George Halas Jr.; Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts; Disturbed singer David Draiman; Smashing Pumpkins and Perfect Circle guitarist James Iha; Dr. Scholl's founder William Scholl; US Secretary of Commerce William M. Daley.

Time after time when speaking to groups and fans, the coach who is from the Chicago area repeatedly asked people to imagine Loyola getting back to the NCAA Tournament - and advancing. "One of these times down we were gonna get a stop, turn it into offense and keep going and going".

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