The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

April 6, 2013

Michigan downs Syracuse 61-56 in NCAA semifinal

ATLANTA (AP) —  

Don’t call these guys the Fab Five.

Michigan’s latest group of young stars is determined to leave its own legacy.

Attacking Syracuse’s suffocating zone defense in the first half with 3-pointers, crisp passing and a fearless attitude, the Wolverines advanced to the national championship game with a 61-56 victory over the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday night.

Michigan (31-7) will be going for its first national title since 1989 when it faces Louisville on Monday at the Georgia Dome. Syracuse (30-10) failed to complete an all-Big East final in the fabled league’s last season before breaking up. 

Louisville was established as a 4 1/2-point title game favorite.

Don’t expect that to bother the brash young Wolverines a bit.

Even though the Wolverines got sloppy in the second half they hung on at the end, winning despite a tough night for Associated Press player of the year Trey Burke. He scored only seven points.

Trailing 58-56, the Orange had a chance to force overtime. But Brandon Triche was called for a foul when Jordan Morgan stepped in to take the charge with 19.2 seconds left. 

“Jordan is our best charge-taker,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “He stood in there and took a good one.”

After Jon Horford made only one of two free throws, Syracuse called timeout and set up a play. Curiously, the Orange didn’t attempt a tying 3-pointer. Instead, Trevor Cooney drove the lane looking to put up an easier shot. But the ball was swatted away, Michigan saved it from going out of bounds and Morgan wound up taking a long pass the other way.

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. 

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