In victory, Michigan’s Moritz Wagner feels for the losers
Wichita, Kan. – Junior center Moritz Wagner was among the throng of Wolverines chasing down freshman Jordan Poole in a euphoric celebration.
Poole had just hit the winning 3-pointer as time expired to save third-seeded Michigan and stamp its ticket to the Sweet 16 in a thrilling 64-63 win over No. 6 seed Houston Saturday night at Intrust Bank Arena.
But during Wagner’s hot pursuit of Poole, he took a brief detour to console devastated Houston junior guard Corey Davis Jr., who Poole hit the miraculous shot over from well beyond the arc.
“Seeing the guys like that, at the end of the day, sports is all love,” said Wagner, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. “I have feelings for both sides. It's very emotional and this group is special.”
Cameras caught the moment and it quickly went viral on social media as the ultimate sign of respect and sportsmanship between two competitors.
For Wagner, though, it was simply an act of empathy because he knew he was just 3.6 seconds away from being in Davis’ shoes and heading home heartbroken.
“I wasn't sure if they were seniors, but first of all you got to give a lot of credit to Houston,” Wagner said. “Defensively they were really good. They held us to 64 points and they were in there with all their hearts. I have a lot of respect for the way they played.
“At the end of the day, you're only human. Seeing people like this, it's a weird feeling. For an emotional guy like me, I knew if (Poole) doesn't make that shot it's us laying on the floor. You got to appreciate both sides.”