Spike on fire
Situation: Just after coming in off the bench, Michigan guard Spike Albrecht hits a 3-pointer from the corner with 14:59 in the first half.
Result: Albrecht’s jumper broke a 7-7 tie and started a 13-6 run for a 20-13 Wolverines lead, an advantage that expanded to as many as 12 points before halftime. Surging with confidence, Albrecht led the onslaught, making his first five shots, including four from 3-point range. When he drove for a basket with 3:56 left in the first half, Michigan led 33-21, and Albrecht had scored 17 of the points.
“That was probably back to high school days.” – Albrecht
‘He does it every day. He’s a confident kid. He competes and he’s a tough kid. Everybody in this locker room knows it. I knew he was going to do what he had to do. He was the next man up. He knew Trey was down. He recognized what we needed and he stepped up in a big way.” – Michigan assistant coach LaVall Jordan
Hancock strikes again
Situation: Louisville backup forward Luke Hancock, who tossed in a team-high 21 points for the Cardinals in the semifinal game, hits his fourth consecutive 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining.
Result: The basket drew Louisville to within 36-35, and Montrezl Harrell’s alley-oop dunk on the next possession gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 37-36 Down 12 points at 3:56, Hancock’s shooting erased the Wolverines’ advantage in a mere six possessions, with Hancock scoring 14 consecutive points in a 16-3 run.
Quote: “If I can step in and hit an open shot, or just help out, I do. Russ (Smith) and Peyton (Siva) lead the show, and I just try to play off of them.” – Hancock
McGary gets fourth
Situation: Michigan forward Mitch McGary, Michigan’s leading scorer and rebounder in the NCAA tournament, goes out of the game with his fourth foul with 9:11 left in the game.
Result: After one free throw by Luke Hancock, Louisville led 61-58. When McGary returned at 4:34, the score was 71-65 in Louisville’s favor.
Quote: “Especially in the NCAA tournament, let’s just put it this way, when Mitch is out there, he’s a difference maker. When he’s on the bench, that’s difficult, as well, as well as Trey (Burke).” – Michigan coach John Beilein
Block or foul
Situation: Michigan’s Trey Burke appears to block Louisville guard Peyton Siva at the rim, but is called for a foul with 5:09 left in the game.
Result: With the score 67-64, Siva makes both free throws to push the lead to five. Louisville scores on its next three possessions after that, pushing its lead to 76-66, enough to begin to seal the championship for the Cardinals.
Quote: “I thought I had all ball and timed it up pretty good. Unfortunately, you know, it didn’t go that way.” – Burke
Player of the game
Luke Hancock, Louisville: After playing a starring role against Wichita State in the national semifinal, Hancock came through again off the bench, scoring a team-high 22 points, including 5-for-5 shooting from 3-point range.
“I’m just so happy for our team. I’m happy that multiple guys got to contribute on this great run. Everybody from (walk-on) Tim Henderson on. It’s just been great for our team.” - Hancock
John Beilein, Michigan
Situation: Beilein gave Albrecht, who played a season-high 16 minutes in the first half alone, another 12 in the second half.
Result: Albrecht was kept in the game in part because he had played so well in the first half but more because his ball-handling ability gave Michigan another option against Louisville’s defensive pressure. After committing one turnover in the first half, he committed two in the second (one led to a 3-pointer for Louisville) and did not score. Further, his size (5-foot-11) gave Louisville matchup advantages when it had the ball.
Quote: “We put Trey and Spike in together just to try to negate some of the pressure to get two ball-handlers in and Spike had played great in the first half, so while he was in a great rhythm, we didn’t hesitate to throw him back in there.” – Jordan
Rick Pitino, Louisville
Situation: After Albrecht hit his third 3-pointer over Louisville’s match-up zone with 12:05 to go in the first half, Pitino went to a man-to-man defense, presumably to keep a body on the scorching Albrecht.
Result: Albrecht only took one more 3-pointer in the half, but instead he began driving to the basket. Facing a lot of man the rest of the half, Michigan finished with 38 points, tied for the most that the Cardinals have given up in a first half this season.
Quote: “In the beginning, our zone wasn’t really working for us. We weren’t bumping into the right spots, and we left too many wide-open shooters. We tried to get back in the zone to kind of slow them down, but they’ve got too many great shooters, and they don’t shoot normal threes, they shoot from the logo, so that’s kind of hard to defend, getting back in the two, you have to worry about the inside, but those guys are pulling up from half-court. So we got into man. We just knew where your man was and you ran to him. It helped us out a lot.” – Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell
BY THE NUMBERS
6 The number of minutes played in the first half by Michigan guard Trey Burke, the national player of the year, due to foul trouble.
15 Offensive rebounds by Louisville, compared to eight for Michigan
52.1 Michigan’s shooting percentage in the game. Louisville had been permitting teams to shoot 41.9 percent in the first five NCAA tournament games.
Etc.: The most points that Albrecht, a freshman, had scored in a game prior to Monday was seven points and he had never taken more than five shots. He took his sixth shot less than 15 minutes into the game. … For the second consecutive game, Louisville guard Russ Smith struggled with his shot. Smith was 3-for-16, including 1-for-9 in the first half, after shooting 6-for-17 from the field in the national semifinal against Wichita State. Louisville’s leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, Smith finished with four points.
.Both teams had eight made 3-pointers and 18 made free throws. Louisville made three more field goals than Michigan did, 28 to 25, to win by six points. Part of the reason was that the Cardinals had 13 more field-goal attempts, 61 to 48. Louisville had 15 offensive rebounds to eight for Michigan.
Louisville won the Big East title over Syracuse after trailing by 16, reached the national championship game after falling behind by 12 to Wichita State – both in the second half – and beat Michigan after falling behind by 12. … Louisville forward Chase Behanan played a big role with 14 points on 6-for-12 rebounding with 12 rebounds. …. The Georgia Dome set all-time championship game and Final Four attendance records at 74,326 and 149,676, respectively.