Final Four: Michigan holds off Syracuse to reach championship game

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

He threw down a thunderous slam with just over a second remaining to cap the triumph.

Triche blamed himself for driving the ball recklessly into the lane when Syracuse had a chance to tie it.

“I was just trying to make a play for the team,” he said. “I probably should have made a better decision, probably should have pulled up for the jump shot. … I did see him, but I figured, I was already in the air jumping.”

With Burke struggling to get open looks and misfiring even when he did, Michigan got an unexpected contribution off the bench from freshmen Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht.

LeVert scored eight points and Albrecht chipped in with six — all of them crucial after the Wolverines went cold in the second half and struggled to put away the Orange.

“We had a lot of guys in there,” Beilein said. “You never know who the outlier is, you never know who’s going to come in and get that done.”

Of course, there’s nothing unusual about Michigan getting big performances from first-year players. This team starts three freshmen — Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas — which, of course, rekindles memories of the great Fab Five teams.

These kids want nothing to do with the comparisons, saying they haven’t done nearly enough to be mentioned in the same breath with a team that changed the face of college basketball.

Well, if the Wolverines can win their next game, they’ll accomplish something that eluded the Fab Five: a national title.

Syracuse was looking to give 68-year-old Jim Boeheim another title, a decade after the Orange won it all in their last trip to the Final Four. Boeheim has no plans to retire, but his quest for a championship is on hold for another year.

“I told you I’m not going to answer that question unless you ask that of every coach,” Boeheim snapped at a reporter when asked about his future. “I never indicated at any time that I’m not coming back.”

Michigan won this game in the opening 20 minutes, doing exactly what it needed to do against Syracuse’s suffocating 2-3 zone: knock down open 3s, crash the boards, and work the ball inside and out with crisp, rapid-fire passes.

“I thought we got off to a really bad start defensively in the first half,” Boeheim said. “We just didn’t have the movement that we’ve had, and Michigan took advantage of it. Our offense was not good in the first half or the second half. Second half, we got our defense going a lot better, and got back in the game in spite of our offense.”

When Syracuse started extending its perimeter defense, looking to cut off the long-range shots, Michigan created an open look late in the half with a nifty bit of ball movement. Robinson — like Hardaway, the son of a former NBA star — took a pass, whipped it ball to LeVert, who dribbled a couple of times and fed the ball back to Robinson for an open 15-footer.

Nothing but net.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player