Michigan Busts Syracuse Zone Defense, 61-56

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Atlanta (AP) - Move over Fab Five, there's a new bunch of Wolverines playing for the title.

Michigan overcame shaky foul shooting in the closing seconds Saturday night to fend off Syracuse 61-56 in the Final Four, advancing to face Louisville in its first title game since Chris Webber and Co. made black shoes and baggy shorts fashionable in 1993.

The Wolverines appeared to have solved the Orange's vaunted 2-3 zone defense, only for the Big East upstarts to mount a second-half charge. Syracuse got within 57-56 on a 3-pointer by James Southerland, but a charging call on Brandon Triche moments later deflated the Orange.

It was Michigan coach John Beilein's first victory in 10 tries against Syracuse counterpart Jim Boeheim.

The Wolverines haven't won the national title since beating Seton Hall for it in 1989, but they'll get another chance against the Cardinals, who beat Wichita State 72-68.

A pair of Michigan backups helped loosen up that Syracuse zone with their outside shooting, then an all-but-forgotten big man made the biggest defensive play of the night.

Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht lifted the Wolverines with some early 3-pointers, and Jordan Morgan drew a crucial offensive foul in the final minute to help Michigan hold off Syracuse 61-56 in a national semifinal Saturday night.

Star point guard Trey Burke was held to seven points, but the Wolverines got contributions throughout the lineup.

Michigan will face Louisville in Monday night's title game.

LeVert and Albrecht -- hardly the team's top options offensively -- combined for four 3-pointers in the first half. When Syracuse rallied, it was Morgan who helped hold off the Orange.


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