ATLANTA — It wasn’t pretty and got very close at the end. But in the end, the youngest team in the entire NCAA tournament survived and advanced.
The Michigan Wolverines defeated Syracuse 61-56 in the second game of the Final Four at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. They will now take on Louisville in the NCAA nationals championship game on Monday night.
Mitch McGary led the Wolverines with 10 points, 12 rebounds and six assists but was pulled out of the game late for Jordan Morgan as a defensive replacement. Morgan took a charge from Brandon Triche with Michigan up 58-56 and less than a minute to play. It would force Triche out of the game with five fouls after he scored 11 points and dished out 8 assists.
Morgan would later put the game out of reach for Syracuse when he finished with a jam with a little over one second left to give Michigan the 61-56 lead and win.
Michigan led Syracuse 36-25 at the half which was the largest halftime deficit the Orange faced all season. But the Wolverines struggled with free throws late allowing Syracuse to get back into the game. Michigan finished 11-20 from the free throw line.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Wolverines with 13 points. Michigan got points from eight different players including 21 points from its bench. Trey Burke struggled shooting. He managed just seven points on 1-of-8 shooting from the floor. Nik Stauskas was the only Wolverine who played but did not score.
Michigan is now 6-1 all-time in NCAA Semifinal games including the Final Four trips of 1992 and 1993 that were later vacated because of NCAA sanctions.