NCAA Tournament Game Capsules

12:30 AM, Apr 7, 2013   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Unable to watch, Kevin Ware had his face in his jersey as Louisville attempted its game-sealing free throws down the stretch. The Cardinals were challenged for the first time during the NCAA Tournament, but ratcheted up their full-court press when they needed to at the end. Russ Smith had 21 points and Luke Hancock added 20 off the bench as Louisville downed gritty and valiant Wichita State, 72-68, to advance to its first national championship game since 1986, when the Cardinals last won it all. Louisville (34-5) led 70-68 with 8.1 seconds left as Hancock stepped to the foul line following a layup from the Shockers' Carl Hall. Hancock sunk the first shot and missed the second. As the ball ricocheted sharply off the back rim on the second attempt, Wichita State's Ron Baker appeared to secure the rebound, but Hancock reached in and forced a jump ball. The possession arrow was in favor of Louisville. Smith then stepped up to the line with 4.9 ticks to go and split the pair to seal the outcome. Louisville will play Michigan game for the national title on Monday. Ware, who suffered a gruesome leg injury during last Sunday's South Regional Final against Duke, sat at the end of the court next to the elevated platform. The reserve guard broke his right leg while leaping to block a 3-point try by the Blue Devils' Tyler Thornton with 6:33 remaining in the first half. His injury elicited an emotional reaction from his teammates, as well as the entire nation, during the week leading up to Saturday's game. Louisville's vaunted pressure defense forced four Wichita State turnovers over the first seven minutes, but didn't get another one for the next 26 as the Shockers built up a lead as large as 12 -- Louisville's largest deficit of the tourney -- during the middle stages of the second half. The Cardinals, though, were able to generate seven giveaways over the final 6:45. Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament, blew the competition away over their first four contests. It won by an average of nearly 22 points, while forcing almost 18 turnovers a tilt. Cleanthony Early tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the No. 9 seed Shockers (30-9), who were in the Final Four for the first time since 1965. Hall finished with 13 points, while Baker added 11 points and eight boards in defeat.

Final Score: Michigan 61, Syracuse 56

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Michigan solved Syracuse's puzzling 2-3 zone in the first half and did just enough over the final 20 minutes. And the youngest team in the NCAA Tournament will get a chance to do something the great Fab Five squads couldn't do in the early 1990s: win a national title. Mitch McGary tallied 10 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in the Wolverines' 61-56 triumph over the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday. Michigan (31-7) is looking for its first national championship since 1989 when it takes on Louisville Monday night. During the Fab Five era, the 1992 Michigan team lost in the Final Four to Duke, while the 1993 squad fell to North Carolina in the title game. Syracuse trailed by as many as 11 early in the second half, but clamped down defensively and pulled within 57-56 with 41 seconds remaining after James Southerland hit his one and only 3-pointer of the game. After National Player of the Year Trey Burke, who was limited to just seven points on 1-of-8 shooting, split two free throws with 28 ticks left, Brandon Triche was called for a charge at the other end. Triche drove past freshman Caris LeVert along the right wing, but Jordan Morgan stepped in and drew the offensive foul. Jon Horford, though, made 1-of-2 from the line to keep it a one-possession game with 17 seconds to play. Surprisingly, Syracuse didn't go for a potentially game-tying 3-pointer. Trevor Cooner drove in the paint instead and the ball was blocked away. Tim Hardaway Jr. saved the ball from going out of bounds and Morgan finished with an emphatic dunk at the other end to seal the outcome. Hardaway netted 13 points, but was just 4- of-16 from the floor and 3-of-10 from beyond the arc in the win. C.J. Fair netted 22 points to lead the Orange (30-10), who were unable to complete an all-Big East final in the league's last season before breaking apart. Syracuse last won a national title in 2003. Syracuse came in allowing a slim 45.75 points per game during the tournament. Its opponents shot a paltry 28.9 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from 3-point range against the lengthy and athletic zone. Montana (34), top-seeded Indiana (50), and Marquette (39) were limited to their lowest point totals of the season, but using crisp passing and ball movement, the Wolverines managed to shoot 44.8 percent and 6-of-17 from downtown in the first half and entered the break with a 36-25 edge.

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