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Michigan holds off Syracuse to reach title game

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REUTERS
Michigan Wolverines forward Mitch McGary (4) dunks on Syracuse Orange forward Jerami Grant (3) in the first half of their NCAA men's Final Four basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia April 6, 2013. Reuters/Daniel J. Beauvais-Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Sunday, April 7, 2013
 

ATLANTA — Don't call these guys the Fab Five.

Michigan's latest group of young stars is determined to leave its own legacy.

Attacking Syracuse's suffocating zone defense in the first half with 3-pointers, crisp passing and a fearless attitude, the Wolverines advanced to the national championship game with a 61-56 victory over the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday night.

Michigan (31-7) will be going for its first national title since 1989 when it faces Louisville on Monday at the Georgia Dome. Syracuse (30-10) failed to complete an all-Big East final in the fabled league's last season before breaking up.

The Wolverines got sloppy in the second half and had to hang on at the end, winning despite a tough night for Associated Press Player of the Year Trey Burke. He scored only seven points.

That made for some nervous moments as Michigan got a little too conservative trying to run out the clock.

Trailing, 58-56, the Orange had a chance to force overtime.

But Brandon Triche was called for a foul when Jordan Morgan stepped in to take the charge with 19.2 seconds left.

After Jon Horford made only one of two free throws, Syracuse called timeout and set up a play.

Curiously, the Orange didn't attempt a tying 3-pointer. Instead, Trevor Cooney drove the lane looking to put up an easier shot.

But the ball was swatted away, Michigan saved it from going out of bounds and Morgan wound up taking a long pass the other way.

He threw down a thunderous slam with just over a second remaining to cap the triumph.

With Burke struggling (he made only one shot from the field), Michigan got an unexpected contribution off the bench from freshmen Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht.

LeVert scored eight points and Albrecht chipped in with six — all of them crucial after the Wolverines went cold in the second half.

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