Syracuse-Kansas: Flynn Puts Orange on His Back in Dramatic Win Over Jayhawks

Larry RulisonContributor INovember 25, 2008

Jonny Flynn hit the most important shot of his college career Tuesday night, a three-pointer that sent Syracuse's game against Kansas into overtime.

The shot—arguably one of the most clutch shots since Gerry McNamara was in orbit for the Cuse—propelled Syracuse into overtime and an 89-81 win over the Jayhawks. When Flynn's shot went in, there were 6.4 second left on the clock.

Kansas played intense man-to-man defense in the first half, seemingly getting the Orange out of its rhythm. Flynn had several turnovers, which added to the frustration. At the half, Kansas led by 11. They increased the lead to 13 in the second half.

But then Syracuse switched from its trademark 2-3 zone to man-to-man, and Flynn was able to force his own turnovers and several breakaway fast-break layups.

"We won because of our man-to-man," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN in a post-game interview. "Offensively, we got better in the second half. It was a gutty effort. It's a tough place to play. We might as well be in Lawrence. This is a great win."

Lawrence, Kansas is obviously the location of the University of Kansas campus and Fogg Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks are virtually (Richmond anyone?) impossible to beat.

The crowd in Kansas City at the Sprint Center was overwhelmingly a pro-Kansas crowd. Every basket by the Jayhawks was cheered as if this was a home game—an important home game.

But Dicky Vitale, who was the color commentator for ESPN during the game, said this:

"This is not Fogg, my friend, this is not Fogg," he said.

OK, it's not Fogg, but this was a huge win for the Cuse. They now have two wins against two Top 25 teams, and we're still in November.

This game felt like a Big East or Big 12 championship game. Even though they fell behind by a lot in the first half, Syracuse wasn't playing its best, and its interior game with Onuaku was incredible, although at the end of the day, the Jayhawks outrebounded the Cuse.

The key, it appears, was fouls. Kansas picked up 27 personal fouls, and Syracuse was able to convert on nearly 70 percent.

Bring on Virginia Friday, but until then Syracuse should enjoy these wins and its CBE Classic championship. They have Jonny Flynn to thank.