first_img Published on April 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman ATLANTA — Mitch McGary’s jumper from the right elbow bounced off the rim and into the hands of Tim Hardaway Jr. He drained eight seconds off the shot clock, and then shot a 3-pointer that swished through the net to give Michigan a 10-point lead.The Wolverines continued to earn extra possessions by crashing the glass. It gave Michigan ample opportunities to hit key 3-pointers.“A lot of them were off offensive rebounds, where they got it and kicked out when our defense wasn’t set,” Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney said. “If you make those shots, it’s tough to defend. They did a good job of that.”By the end of Michigan’s 61-56 win over SU in the Final Four on Saturday night, the Wolverines finished with 37 total rebounds, 13 of them coming on the offensive glass. The Wolverines scored a total of 14 second-chance points. Against Syracuse, a team that had a significant height advantage all over the floor, Michigan hit the glass hard to extend possessions and keep the ball out of the Orange’s hands.In a game where Michigan’s shots were falling — especially in the first half — Syracuse continuously failed to take advantage of the Wolverines’ misses. Orange assistant coach Mike Hopkins said Friday it would be key for Syracuse’s guards to be aggressive on the glass, much like they were in the Orange’s Sweet 16 win over Indiana on March 28.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat didn’t happen enough against Michigan, especially on the offensive boards. Syracuse’s guards only grabbed one board on the offensive glass. It continued to cost SU critical possessions.“They get a lot of extra rebounds. Pretty much they had two 3s off their rebounds, got extra possessions where we couldn’t get a shot up,” Syracuse guard Brandon Triche said. “They did a great job off their offensive rebounds.”With just more than nine minutes remaining in the game and the score 45-41 Wolverines, Hardaway missed a jumper. Wolverines center Mitch McGary secured the rebound, then found Hardaway open at the top of the key. Hardaway swished home a 3-pointer to push Michigan’s lead to 48-41.It was a running theme throughout the entire game. And each rebound Syracuse failed to secure killed the momentum it was picking up attempting to close the deficit.With five minutes left, Michigan point guard Trey Burke missed a jumper. Glenn Robinson III was right there for the rebound and putback. The Orange had closed to within four, but another Michigan offensive rebound pushed the lead back to six.After the game, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams said the Orange’s guards weren’t hitting the glass hard enough. He said the responsibility doesn’t fall completely on the Orange’s centers and low-post players.“We had to get on the glass and they got a few offensive rebounds. I can’t blame the bigs for that,” Carter-Williams said. “We had to come back and help rebound and we didn’t. It was just an all-around effort as to why we lost.”Still, Syracuse’s centers finished with only three defensive rebounds combined. McGary finished the game with an impressive 12 boards, seven of them coming on the defensive glass.Rebounding was a problem for Syracuse for the entire game, right up until the final 10 seconds. With the Orange down by three points, Cooney was running the point with both Carter-Williams and Triche having fouled out of the game.Cooney dribbled up the court and shot a jumper that clanked off the rim. Hardaway grabbed the rebound, leading to an emphatic fast-break dunk that sealed the win for the Wolverines.The final play was fitting. Syracuse’s rebounding inefficiency — at both ends of the floor — hurt its chances of moving on to the national championship. From start to finish, the Orange wasn’t aggressive on the boards.“They got a lot of offensive rebounds which led to open shots,” SU forward James Southerland said. “If we had crashed a little bit more and got some rebounds, it would’ve stopped them.” Comments Related Stories LOST IN THE MOMENT: Familiar poor shooting dooms Orange 61-56 in Final Four loss to MichiganCohen: Triche, Southerland leave Syracuse with mixed legaciesFair provides Syracuse with another remarkable performance in season-ending loss to MichiganGallery: Syracuse takes on Michigan in the Final Four in Atlantacenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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