April 9, 2013

Another comeback, and Cards are champs

Louisville battles back from a 12-point deficit in the first half to beat Michigan, 82-76.

Paul Newberry / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

Michigan guard Trey Burke (3) walks off the court as confetti falls on Louisville players, including Russ Smith (2), Luke Hancock (11), Stephan Van Treese (44) and Zach Price (25), after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game, Monday in Atlanta. Louisville won 82-76.

The Associated Press

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Louisville forward Chane Behanan (21) shoots over Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III (1) during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 8, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Not so fast. Not against Louisville.

The Cardinals came back one more time.

"We needed a rally and we've been doing it for a couple of games straight, being down," Hancock said. "We just had to wait and make our run."

Burke, who played only six minutes in the first half because of the foul trouble, did his best to give Michigan its first championship since 1989. But he couldn't do it alone. Albrecht was held scoreless after the break, and no one else posted more than 12 points for the Wolverines.

Still, it was quite a run for a fourth-seeded team that knocked off No. 1-seeded Kansas with the greatest comeback of the tournament, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jayhawks in the round of 16.

But they came up against the ultimate comeback team in the final, a group that was intent on keeping the title in the bluegrass state after Kentucky won it all last season.

Louisville had already pulled off a stunning rally in the Big East championship game — down by 16 in the second half, they won by 17 — and another against Wichita State.

"I've had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we've ever had," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team."

No wonder Ware was grinning from ear to ear.

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