Friday, March 13, 2009

Instant Classic: Syracuse Outlasts UCONN in 6th OT

Last night saw an extended Big East tournament matchup between the #4 Connecticut Huskies and #20 Syracuse Orangemen which went into the wee hours of the night. Originally the game was thought to have ended in regulation on a Eric Devendorf three pointer at the buzzer. But Devendorf's celebration was premature; upon further review the ball didn't leave Devendorf's hands in time. The game continued into overtime number 1. From there the two teams continued to battle it out, but UCONN failed to hit the buzzer beating last second shot opportunities they had in several overtimes. Player after player fouled out for both teams including Devendorf for Syracuse and big man Hasheem Thabeet for UCONN. Once OT number 6 came, the Orangemen simply had more gas in their tanks while UCONN was losing key players. A Rautins 3 sparked off a run that saw Syracuse outscore UCONN 17-7 in the final period. After six overtimes and close to four hours a classic game came to an end. Final score: Syracuse 127 UCONN 117.

The game was a true testament to just how tough and competitive collegiate athletes really can be. It saw feats of endurance and skill, including 7 foot 3 center Hasheem Thabeet diving to the floor for a loose ball for UCONN, then quickly getting a timeout out of the deal. The game also featured two hall of fame coaches and a well-known big East rivalry. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was proud of his team's win, while Jim Calhoun admitted the Huskies had chances at the free throw line and with several missed shots. After an exhausting extra 6 rounds in a heavyweight fight, both teams were seen exiting the garden around 2 AM in the morning.

The Huskies will most likely head into the 2009 NCAA Tournament as a top seed, to be determined Sunday night. As the Huskies get a much needed rest from the 6 overtime epic game, Syracuse must press on to their next contest, a 9PM meeting with West Virginia, scheduled for just 2 halves. In the words of ESPN commentators, "What could the Orange possibly have left?"

Read more about Thursday night's classic Big East basketball game at MSG.

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