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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Moritz Wagner drove for a layup to put the Los Angeles Lakers up by 31 points, and his teammates erupted off the bench in spontaneous glee for their German rookie's first NBA field goal.
"He learned how to ride a bike!" LeBron James said afterward. "That was that moment. You guys never rode a bike before? Yeah, we were excited. Very excited."
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Moritz Wagner grew up in Berlin dreaming of an NBA career, and he went all the way to Michigan to chase it.
The German big man will get his chance with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers chose Wagner with the 25th pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, adding the versatile center as the next piece in their talented young core.
Ann Arbor — After Moritz Wagner graduated high school early in Germany, there was a gap year where all he did was play basketball, watch TV shows and occasionally cook.
He grew bored of the lifestyle after three months and knew during that time he didn't want to stay in Europe and turn pro. Rather, he wanted a new experience.
It led him to traveling to Michigan during the 2014-15 season and venturing down a path that — three years later — he's grateful he took.
For Michigan's Moritz Wagner, it was time to go.
Wagner announced his intentions to enter the NBA draft, hire an agent and skip his senior season Saturday in a first-person essay for The Players' Tribune titled "Thank You, Michigan."
Sophomore wing Ibi Watson will be suiting up somewhere next season, but it won't be at Michigan.
Watson announced his intentions to transfer and leave the program on Twitter Thursday night.
"During my time at the University Michigan I have learned and experienced so much," Watson tweeted. "I enjoyed the relationships and memories that I made. Thank you to the coaching staff and my teammates for making my experience so great! After much thought, I have decided to explore other options."
Ann Arbor — Junior center Moritz Wagner isn't ready to tip his hand just yet.
Prior to Michigan's awards banquet Wednesday at Crisler Center, Wagner said he's still weighing his options about his future and whether he'll forgo his senior year for the NBA.
"I know this is a big question," Wagner said. "I took some time off from basketball to gather myself. It's a long season that's behind us.
San Antonio – For the second consecutive offseason, Moritz Wagner will have a decision to make about his future.
But following Michigan's 79-62 loss to Villanova in the national title game Monday night at the Alamodome, Wagner declined to say whether he has given any thought to returning for his senior season or heading to the NBA.
San Antonio – Michigan's victory over Loyola-Chicago on Saturday in the national semifinals will go down as the night Moritz Wagner dominated, carrying the Wolverines to a 69-57 victory and a spot in the national championship game.
The Michigan junior had a double-double by halftime, finishing with 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as the Wolverines dispatched of the Ramblers and will take on Villanova for a chance at their second national title.
San Antonio – Over the first 30 minutes of the game, it looked like Michigan was going to become the next chapter of Loyola-Chicago's feel-good story.
That was until the Wolverines woke up from their slumber.
No. 3 seed Michigan used a momentum-shifting 17-2 second-half run and a monster performance from junior center Moritz Wagner to send No. 11 seed Loyola packing with a 69-57 win in a national semifinal Saturday at the Alamodome.
Takeaways from Michigan's victory over Loyola-Chicago in the national semifinals on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
San Antonio — The Wolverines have been reminded, politely and repeatedly, that they're the villains here, that their story must end for the Loyola-Chicago tale to continue. Moritz Wagner's tongue-wagging swagger is the symbol of it, and he gets it, sort of.
Los Angeles — It was danger time for Michigan.
Free throw by free throw, No. 9 seed Florida State was slowly scratching, clawing and shifting the scales of the game in its favor during the final 10 minutes of Saturday's Elite Eight showdown.
Los Angeles — Michigan proved it could prevail when it wasn't at its best in the NCAA Tournament.
On Thursday, the Wolverines sent a message and showed just how dangerous they can be when they're firing on all cylinders.
Third-seeded Michigan used a dominant first half to steamroll No. 7 seed Texas A&M, 99-72, in a Sweet 16 beatdown and emphatically stamp its ticket to the Elite Eight for the third time in six seasons.
Los Angeles — The word in German is "dummkopf," and like so many of us, John Beilein learned what it meant from an old television show.
"Hogan's Heroes," he said.
The literal translation is something close to "stupid head," or blockhead, if you will. And when Beilein finds himself at wit's end, looking for a way to express his displeasure with Moritz Wagner's penchant for careless fouls, Michigan's basketball coach wants to make sure nothing gets lost in translation.
Wichita, Kan. — Michigan junior center Moritz Wagner couldn't help but shake his head and offer a wry smile.
Twenty minutes earlier, the Wolverines were on the brink of disappointment and seconds from having their postseason aspirations crushed in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Before Poole’s heroics, five-point play was turning point for Michigan
Wichita, Kan. – Houston had Michigan on the ropes late in the second half.
Trailing by five with less than eight minutes to play and in the midst of a nearly five-minute scoring drought, any hope of returning to the Sweet 16 appeared to be slipping away from the Wolverines.
That was until the unexpected happened – a five-point play.
Wichita, Kan. — Michigan had one last chance.
Trailing 63-61 with 3.6 seconds left, the Wolverines had one final shot to win the game.
Freshman guard Jordan Poole didn't miss, nailing a 3-pointer as time expired to lift third-seeded Michigan to a stunning, 64-63 win over No. 6 seed Houston in a second-round NCAA Tournament game Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
Do More. Say Less.
It's a message Michigan wore on its warmups during the Big Ten tournament in New York two weeks ago.
But it's been a state of mind for senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, a soft-spoken leader who quietly has evolved into an unassuming star for the Wolverines.
New York — Michigan sophomore center Jon Teske thought he might have a bigger role against Purdue.
What he didn't expect was to have his name chanted by thousands of fans throughout Madison Square Garden during Sunday's 75-66 win in the Big Ten tournament championship game.
But that was the reality as junior center Moritz Wagner battled foul trouble and led to extended playing time for Teske, who provided a huge boost off the bench with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting in 21 minutes.
New York — Purdue got the best of Michigan twice in crushing fashion in the regular season.
The Wolverines made sure Round 3 in the postseason wasn't going to follow the same script.
Fueled by another balanced scoring effort and huge spark by Jon Teske, fifth-seeded Michigan exacted its revenge and defended its Big Ten tournament title with a 75-66 victory over No. 3 Purdue in Sunday's title game at Madison Square Garden.
New York – Michigan State got the second chance it was hoping for against Michigan.
But instead of avenging its most recent loss, it was the Wolverines that were busy validating the belief they're the best team in the state and might be on their way to a second straight Big Ten tournament championship.
New York – Michigan was craving another crack at Nebraska.
The Wolverines got their long-awaited shot on Friday and didn't miss, using another stifling defensive effort and a dominant first half to roll to a 77-58 victory in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Moritz Wagner and Duncan Robinson shouldered the load and combined for 57 points for Michigan (26-7), which avenged its 72-52 regular-season loss two months ago in Nebraska.
New York — Michigan appeared to be on the brink of an early exit in the Big Ten tournament.
The Wolverines were plagued by foul trouble, couldn't hit a 3-pointer in the first half and had no momentum heading into halftime.
Then they squandered a six-point lead with 2:09 left in regulation as Iowa forced overtime.
UM’s Wagner defensive about teammates’ award snubs
Ann Arbor — Michigan junior center Moritz Wagner doesn't care much for individual accolades.
So, when the Big Ten unveiled its postseason awards on Monday night, Wagner didn't have any hard feelings when he was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the league's coaches and media.
But Wagner did take exception with one category: The All-Big Ten defensive team.
Following a solid junior campaign, Michigan center Moritz Wagner was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the league's coaches and media on Monday.
Wagner, who was preseason All-Big Ten selection, led the Wolverines in scoring (14.4 points) and rebounds (7.2) while ranking in the top 15 in the conference in field-goal percentage (53.6 percent, tied 13th) and 3-point shooting (40.9 percent, tied 13th).
Ann Arbor — In some years, a 13-5 conference record would be good enough to contend for the Big Ten regular-season title.
While that's not the case for Michigan this season, the Wolverines still have plenty to play for in Saturday's regular-season finale at Maryland, including postseason momentum, a possible fourth-place finish, and the program's most conference wins since 2013-14.
Wolverines’ Wagner embracing heel role on the road
University Park, Pa. — Moritz Wagner heard the boos raining down on him.
He heard the public address announcer at the Bryce Jordan Center mispronouncing his first name
He took exception to an inadvertent shot or two he took to the face and was showered with even more jeers from the spirited crowd.
Robinson leads No. 17 Wolverines over Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — John Beilein has always coveted the type of player with near-limitless energy reserve who can provide a scoring spark off the bench.
Michigan's coach has found his man this year.
Duncan Robinson supported No. 17 Michigan's starters with 19 points and helped the Wolverines beat Penn State 72-63 on Wednesday night.
University Park, Pa. — Michigan coach John Beilein knew if his team was going to beat Penn State, it was going to have to be at its best.
The Wolverines' bench and defense certainly rose to the occasion.
After a shaky start to the second half, Michigan was to recover and power past Penn State, 72-63, behind 32 combined points from reserves Duncan Robinson and Jordan Poole Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Ann Arbor — Michigan found itself in control with a double-digit lead over Ohio State in the second half.
This time around, the Wolverines flipped the script and avenged their crushing loss earlier this season with a 74-62 victory over the Buckeyes in front of a sellout crowd in Sunday's home finale at Crisler Center. Ohio State's loss gives Michigan State a full-game lead in Big Ten standings.
Ann Arbor – With No. 8 Ohio State on tap and a pair of tough road games looming, Michigan was looking to build some momentum heading into the closing stretch of the regular season.
Fifth-year senior forward Duncan Robinson made sure the Wolverines got rolling in the right direction.
Robinson continued his recent 3-point resurgence and Michigan withstood a hot start from Iowa to take care of business with a 74-59 victory Wednesday at Crisler Center.
Madison, Wis. — There are places that have been unkind to Michigan.
And then there's the Kohl Center, where leaving with a loss has been the norm for quite some time.
The Wolverines bucked the trend and hung on to beat Wisconsin, 83-72, Sunday to leave Madison with just their second win since 2000.
Rosemont, Ill. – The past two times Michigan traveled to Northwestern, it checked into Heartbreak Hotel with a pair of crushing defeats.
The Wolverines had another deflating stay on Tuesday.
Michigan squandered a 10-point first-half lead and went over nine minutes between made field goals during a miserable second half in a 61-52 loss to Northwestern Tuesday at Allstate Arena.
Ann Arbor — Everything seemed to be going Charles Matthews' way throughout the first half of the season.
Matthews, a redshirt sophomore forward, poured in at least 20 points in six of Michigan's 13 nonconference games and shot 58.2 percent (92-for-158) from the field as he established himself as the top scoring option.
But things have gone awry in recent weeks and Matthews' numbers have taken a dip in Big Ten play.
West Lafayette, Ind. — The first clash between Michigan and Purdue was a back-and-forth battle that went down to the wire.
Round 2 followed a similar script, but at a dizzying offensive pace.
When the dust from a wild second-half shooting display settled, a late 14-2 run, critical turnovers and missed free throws led to Michigan's undoing in a 92-88 loss Thursday at a packed Mackey Arena.
Ann Arbor — It was far from pretty, but it got the job done.
Coming off a 20-point thumping at Nebraska, No. 23 Michigan's offense puttered along and did enough to wipe out the bitter taste by taking care of Rutgers, 62-47, in grind-it-out fashion Sunday at Crisler Center.
Ann Arbor — Free-throw shooting has traditionally been a strength for Michigan under coach John Beilein.
But the past two games, it's become a weakness that has nearly cost the Wolverines in crunch time.
Before senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman hit two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to save Michigan in Monday's 68-67 win over Maryland at Crisler Center, junior center Moritz Wagner and sophomore guard Zavier Simpson each missed a pair in the final five minutes.
Ann Arbor — There wasn't much time for Michigan to savor its biggest win of the season.
Two days after topping rival Michigan State, the No. 23 Wolverines quickly went back to work for the first time after cracking the Associated Press Top 25 rankings this season and the tired legs showed.
No. 23 Michigan barely beats short-handed Maryland 68-67
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan earned a spot in The Associated Press college basketball poll and almost lost it on the same day.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left, lifting the 23rd-ranked Wolverines to a 68-67 win over Maryland on Monday night.
Kevin Huerter connected on a go-ahead 3-pointer on the previous possession for the short-handed Terrapins, who trailed by 10 with five-plus minutes left in the game.
East Lansing — Zavier Simpson appears to be putting the "quarterback controversy" at point guard to rest.
While Moritz Wagner stole the show with a career-high 27 points in Michigan's 82-72 win over No. 4 Michigan State Saturday at the Breslin Center, Simpson outplayed his counterpart in a key supporting role.
East Lansing – Before things got out of hand, Moritz Wagner figured it was time to lift a finger.
The sellout crowd inside the Breslin Center was on its feet, working itself into a frenzy, after Michigan State's freshman star, Jaren Jackson Jr., snuffed successive Michigan possessions with vicious blocked shots and then finished one at the other end of the court for the Spartans with a wicked left-handed dunk.
Wagner scores 27, Michigan beats No. 4 Michigan State 82-72
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Moritz Wagner flicked his right wrist, made a 3-pointer and pressed his right index fingers against his lips.
And, there wasn't anything Michigan State players or fans could do about it.
Wagner scored a career-high 27 points, lifting Michigan to an 82-72 victory over the fourth-ranked Spartans on Saturday.
Making his performance even more impressive, he played through a lingering injury.
Moe better: Wagner’s monster game powers Michigan past Michigan State
East Lansing – Michigan and Michigan State play just once this season and the Wolverines made the most of it.
Behind a career-high 27 points from Moritz Wagner, the Wolverines knocked off No. 4 Michigan State, 82-72, Saturday at the Breslin Center, their second straight victory in the series and first on the road since 2014.
Michigan State has now lost two of three and sits a full two games out of first place in the Big Ten.
Ann Arbor – Moritz Wagner understands the weight the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry carries with the respective fan bases.
The German-born Wagner does not have to be a Michigan-native to figure that out.
Michigan plays at No. 4 Michigan State on Saturday in the Breslin Center in the only regular-season meeting between the rivals.
Ann Arbor — Michigan had a chance to legitimize itself as a Big Ten contender and give its March resume a serious boost.
The opportunity slipped away in the final seconds.
Michigan rallied back from a 14-point deficit but a turnover and foul in the final 10 seconds proved costly in a 70-69 loss to No. 5 Purdue Tuesday night at Crisler Center.
Ann Arbor – Nothing was seemingly going right for Michigan early on.
The offense was out of sync and the turnovers were mounting against Illinois' pressure defense.
On top of that, the Wolverines were without leading scorer Charles Matthews for the majority of the first half due to foul trouble.
Michigan beats Iowa 75-68
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Michigan has leaned heavily on its starters all season.
But Big Blue got a huge lift from its bench on Tuesday night — an encouraging sign now that Big Ten play has resumed.
Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each scored 15 points and Michigan beat host Iowa 75-68, extending its winning streak to six games.
Wagner not sharp in return, but Beilein encouraged
Ann Arbor — Michigan coach John Beilein was just glad junior center Moritz Wagner could make a basket.
Wagner returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 12 in Saturday's 76-51 nonconference finale win over Jacksonville after missing the past two games with a right foot and ankle injury.
As expected after a long layoff, Wagner was far from sharp and finished with seven points on 3-for-7 shooting, six rebounds, four turnovers, two blocks and an assist in 20 minutes.