I can safely say that last night, i saw one of the greatest games in NCAA Basketball history. The Big East Tournament showdown between Syracuse and UConn is no doubt an instant classic that people will be talking about for years to come!
March Madness may “officially” kick off next Sunday on “Selection Sunday” (although, I’ve always believed that March Madness begins with the Conference Tournaments), but it was Madness in New York last night, that’s for sure!
It’s hard to imagine that Syracuse won the game, after not holding a single lead in any of the first 5 OT. Yet, the Orangmen were able to come out and start the sixth OT with an 8-0 run that sealed a victory.
I was speechless last night, and, for the most part, I’m still speechless this morning. Did anyone else watch? What are your thoughts?
From USA Today:
The tumult of March goes on this weekend, and there is too much happening to stop and savor a single college basketball game. But this one, we must.
A classic — a true classic, not one just to fill a slot on ESPN — deserves special notice, before it is placed to stay in the inner sanctum of great games.
They played for 3 hours and 46 minutes and six overtimes in the last quarterfinal of the Big East tournament, neither Connecticut nor Syracuse willing to give, as Thursday turned to Friday in Madison Square Garden. But at 1:22 a.m., Syracuse finally won 127-117, mostly because somebody eventually had to.
“I’ve got no words to describe it,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim would later say. “I can’t imagine being involved in a better basketball game.
“I’m more proud of this team tonight than any team I’ve ever coached. We had nothing (left).”
By 1:22 a.m., who did?
Sheer numbers only say so much, but we can begin there.
There were 209 shots taken — 26 of them blocked.
And 93 free throws put up.
Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn scored 34 points, but that wasn’t the remarkable part. He played 67 minutes. “I can’t feel my legs right now,” he said afterward.
The game was tied 22 times. Syracuse never led in any of the first five overtimes.
Eight players fouled out, four on each team.
What that meant is that in the sixth overtime, Syracuse had to turn to a walk-on guard named Justin Thomas, who had played 18 minutes all year. When he grabbed a rebound, it was his first of the season.
By the sixth overtime, the Orange had to call on 6-4 Harris for the center jump. All the big guys were gone. It was the only jump ball Syracuse won all night.
The game ran so long, when Boeheim tried to recall one of the strategic moves, he finally had to admit, “I forget when that was.”
The irony? The whole issue was a millisecond from being settled in regulation. That would have been on a nice, routine buzzer-beating jump shot by Eric Devendorf, which appeared to give Syracuse a 73-71 win. The celebration went on long enough for Devendorf to leap onto the press table and lead the fans in a chant.