Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and spurred a furious second-half rally to send Michigan past second-seeded Louisville 73-69 on Sunday and into the Sweet 16.
The seventh-seeded Wolverines (26-11) have won seven straight — six since a frightening plane accident before the Big Ten Tournament. They also earned a ticket to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Mo., their first since 2014.
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Deng Adel had 16 points to lead Louisville (25-9), which had made the Sweet 16 in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances.
But Wagner bailed out the Wolverines from a poor game.
Trailing 45-36 with 16:09 to play, the German native scored on a layup to start a 17-6 run that gave Michigan its first lead since the opening minutes. And after Wagner’s three-pointer broke a 55-55 tie with 6:39 to go, the Wolverines led the rest of the way.
Afterward, the Michigan players celebrated by jumping around near midcourt, then walking by the pep band and pumping their fists toward fans as the school’s fight song played.
Inside the locker room, Coach John Beilein squirted his players with a water gun. It was only his second win in five games against Louisville Coach Rick Pitino.
Early in the second half, it looked like there would be no celebration for the Big Ten tourney champs.
Louisville appeared to have Michigan on the ropes when it opened up a nine-point lead early in the second half. But Wagner was able to get to the basket, draw fouls, make free throws and even hit an occasional outside shot.
Louisville had no answer for him, and once Wagner got started the rest of the team joined in. D.J. Wilson had 17 points and Derrick Walton Jr. had 10 points and seven rebounds on a day he was just 3-of-13 from the field.
Michigan finished 6-of-17 on three-pointers just two days after setting a school record for three-pointers in NCAA tourney games.
Louisville: The Cardinals head home empty-handed after returning to the tournament. The Cardinals fell to 12-1 all-time as a No. 2 seed.
Michigan: The Wolverines’ magical ride shows no sign of stopping. They’ve been winning games in different ways and now they head to Kansas City to see if they can keep building on the momentum.
The Wolverines will face the winner of the Oregon-Rhode Island game on Thursday.