SAN ANTONIO — When he’s not breaking glasses or glass slippers, Moe Wagner, deep down, is a Jennifer Aniston man.
“He usually watches Friends on his laptop,” Michigan backup center Jon Teske said of Wagner, whose 24 points and 15 rebounds powered the Wolverines to a 69-57 win over Loyola-Chicago in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
“He watches a lot of Friends on his laptop. Or he FaceTimes a couple of people back in Ann Arbor. So he’s always kind of chilling [in the room]. He’s recovering.
“But he definitely likes to watch Friends. He likes it for some reason.”
Actually, Teske, Wagner’s roomie on the road, can give you one pretty strong reason: Rachel Green, Aniston’s character on the iconic ‘90s sitcom.
“I don’t really watch Friends,” the Ohio native added. “So I couldn’t tell you who all is in that.”
“But I know she’s in it. So I’d have to say that.”
And here’s the weird part: Earlier in the day, based on how his normally stoic German teammate was behaving, Teske wondered if the Final Four was going to be Wagner’s day, his week, his month — or even his year.
“He said he was really, really nervous and very anxious,” Teske recalled. “He kind of always gets up. He said [that] something felt different [Saturday].
“He actually left the room a little bit earlier to go down to pregame before we left [the hotel].”
Any idea why?
“I’m not sure. I think he was trying to actually get here and play the game as quick as he can,” Teske said. “Really, I think he was mentally locked in.”
The 6-foot-11 Berlin native had it all rolling against the Ramblers, during and after the tilt. He accidentally broke the glasses of TBS announcer Bill Raftery while chasing a loose ball. He congratulated Grant Hill on his Hall of Fame induction after the game. He even got a Twitter shout-out from one of his hoops heroes and fellow countrymen, German legend Dirk Nowitzki.
I see you @moritz_weasley
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) April 1, 2018
More sweetness: Wagner is believed to be the third player ever to rack up at least 20 points and 15 boards in a national semifinal.
The other two? Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird.
Pretty fair company.
“When you put it like that, obviously, that’s pretty cool,” Wagner said.
Blessed with a center’s frame and a European winger’s game, Wagner is a beast of a matchup for most teams on a short turnaround. But for a mid-major, even one as feisty as Loyola, it’s doubly tough, and when the size-challenged Ramblers switched on ball screens, a mismatch underneath — on occasion — became even more pronounced.
“He went to the rim for rebounds; I hadn’t seen him do that for a while,” Michigan forward Isaiah Livers noted. “He definitely played like an actual big man [Saturday] and obviously, that was big for us.”
Especially in the first half, when Wagner accounted for half of cold-shooting Michigan’s points (11 of 22) and boards (11 of 21). When the Wolverines were stuck in second gear, No. 13 was there for them.
“We scored 22 points [in the first half], and that was kind of the only way we found our way to the basket: Grab offensive rebounds and get second-shot opportunities,” Wagner said. “And I honestly just tried to do my job.”