The best-of-the-best was the battle between No. 6 Syracuse and No. 3 UConn. Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun must love to have classics every time they play.
The Orange defeated the Huskies in what may be the greatest game I have ever witnessed in 22 years of watching college hoops. Syracuse advanced past UConn, defeating them 127-117 in six overtimes at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
The Orange held a five-point lead but saw the Huskies tie it with 1.1 seconds left. Eric Devendorf hit a ridiculous 3-pointer, but he did not release the shot in time, so to overtime we went.
Here is a play-by-play of the overtimes.
In the first overtime period, the Huskies led 80-76 with 1:37 remaining. Andy Rautins drilled a trey to cut the lead to one, and after UConn made one of two at the line, Rick Jackson slammed it home in the closing seconds to force double OT.
In the second extra period, it was a charity stripe war, but in the end, the Huskies could not make a shot to force a third overtime.
In that third OT, the Huskies jumped out on a 6-0 run to give them a 93-87 lead with 3:08 remaining. After Rautins hit both free throws to narrow the lead to four, Paul Harris stole in the inbound pass and was fouled on the way up.
Harris hit them both and UConn's lead was only 93-91 with 2:50 to go. After A.J. Price hit both from the line to lift the lead to four and 'Cuse missed a trey, Hasheem Thabeet slammed it home for a 97-91 lead.
Harris had a layup and after a Jackson steal, Harris had a one-handed dunk to close the margin to 97-95. 'Cuse fouled Jeff Adrien immediately with justover 50 ticks remaining.
Adrien would miss both, but 6-foot-1 Kemba Walker got the offensive rebound. After another miss, the Huskies again was able to control the offensive glass. Cuse was forced to foul. Price missed the front end for UConn and Boeheim called his final timeout to design the Orange's final play.
Price hit the second free throw and Cuse had one final chance to tie it. Rautins sunk the long ball to tie it at 98 apiece. Price missed a NBA three and Adrien's jumper went hard off the back iron to send it to a fourth overtime.
Thabeet opened the fourth overtime with a dunk to extend the lead to 100-98. Moments later, Thabeet took a charge to give the ball back to the Huskies, but he fouled out going for the rebound. Harris hit both for 'Cuse to tie it at 100.
Price responded with a jumper to give UConn the 102-100 lead, but Jonny Flynn came right back with a two of his own to tie it for Syracuse at 102.
Price's floater with two minutes left gave UConn the lead back. A Devendorf layup less than 10 seconds later tied it at 104.
Flynn's reverse layin rolled off and UConn took back possession with 38 ticks remaining.
Out of the timeout, the Huskies missed on a Price jumper and Harris had numerous attempts and was denied each time to force the first 5-overtime game this season in the NCAA!
Back and forth they went, Jonny Flynn hit a pair of free throws and the Huskies could not end it. On to a sixth overtime, UNBELIEVABLE!!!
The sixth overtime saw UConn run out of gas and after many free throws by Syracuse, the Orange advanced to the Big East semis 127-117 where they face the WVU Mountaineers.
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