Louisville, Michigan scrape to NCAA final

Louisville, Michigan scrape to NCAA final

ATLANTA - The Associated Press
Louisville, Michigan scrape to NCAA final

Gorgui Dieng (10) of the Louisville Cardinals reach for the ball during the 2013 NCAA Final Four semifinal game. AFP photo

No. 1 seed and tournament favourite Louisville rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to knock off Wichita State 72-68 in a Final Four thriller at the Georgia Dome on April 6.

The Louisville Cardinals won their 15th game in a row to advance to national college basketball title game against Michigan after the Wolverines beat Syracuse 61-56.

Russ Smith led Louisville with 21 points and Luke Hancock added 20 points, including a corner 3-pointer that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the second half with 6:30 to play.

Hancock hit another 3-pointer with two minutes left that put the Cardinals up. He did most of his damage from outside but found his way to the rim on two nifty drives that were a part of a 25-9 Louisville run.

Cleanthony Early scored a game-high 24 points for ninth-seeded Wichita State Shockers, who reached the Final Four for the first since 1965.

Louisville were appearing in the Final Four for the 10th time. They have won the national championship twice, in 1980 and 1986.

Ware on bench

Injured Louisville guard Kevin Ware made his way to the bench as the time ticked down. Ware suffered a broken leg in their win over Duke in the Elite Eight and has been a major inspiration for Rick Pitino’s club.

Michigan, a team that features the player of the year, Trey Burke, and some stars with NBA lineage, advanced to the final for the first time since 1993.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Wolverines with 13 points while Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III both had 10 points.

Burke was held to seven points in front of the second largest crowd in NCAA history, which included actor Will Ferrell, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.