So where were you when one of the greatest college basketball games of all time was played? For those of you on the east coast, the answer is probably “asleep.” Unless you were at Madison Square Garden, where, at 1:22 a.m., the buzzer sounded for the final time as Syracuse beat UConn 127-117 in six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.
It was the longest game in Big East history, and came up just one overtime short of tying the longest game in the history of college basketball. And it was nearly over an hour and a half earlier. Eric Devendorf buried what appeared to be the winning three-pointer at the regulation buzzer, sending the Orange into a frenzied celebration. But then came the review, and a long review it was. And after talking it over the refs decided this shot didn’t count:
So on we went to a second overtime. And a third. And a fourth. And so on. UConn led in each of the first five OTs but couldn’t close it out. Syracuse finally took the lead in OT number six and pulled away.
To put the whole thing in perspective, the game lasted three hours and 46 minutes. There were 70 minutes of basketball, and Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn played 67 of them. Flynn had 34 points, 11 assists, and six steals. UConn had five players in double figures…in rebounds. Four guys on each team fouled out, so guys who don’t even normally play were in the game for the final OT. Astonishingly, Jim Calhoun didn’t keel over at the three hour mark.
The previous longest game in the Big East Tournament was the 1981 final, which went to three OTs. Syracuse beat Villanova 83-80, and the game featured Leo Rautins, whose son Andy was the key to Orange’s win last night. Andy Rautins hit a three with 10 seconds left in the third OT to tie it up yet again, then hit another early in the sixth OT to put Syracuse up for good. Somehow, the Orange have to recover and play tonight against West Virginia.
The busiest day in conference tourney action saw some other big names fall, and some bubbles burst.
Pittsburgh, Kansas, and Oklahoma were among the victims of the quarterfinal round in their respective tournaments. Pitt was run out of the Garden by the Mountaineers, while Kansas was handled by Baylor and Oklahoma clipped by rival Oklahoma State.
The best finish of the day prior to the SU-UConn battle was earlier in the day at MSG, when Villanova blew a huge second-half lead to Marquette but rallied to get a buzzer-beating layup by Dwayne Anderson to crush the Golden Eagles 76-75:
It was the only basket Anderson had all game.
Meanwhile, Miami (FL) probably is on the outside looking in after getting blown out by Virginia Tech. Rhode Island needed a good showing in the A-10 tourney for a shot at an at-large bid, but instead lost to Duquesne. Kansas State came up short against Texas, Vegas was dumped on its home floor by San Diego State, and New Mexico flamed out against Wyoming. And finally, Northwestern, seeking a first-ever bid, turned a late 49-47 lead into a 66-53 loss to Minnesota in the Big 11 tournament.
(Not yet, guys)
• As a guy with an iPhone who is obsessed with the NCAA Tournament, this is the best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. For $5, streaming video of every tournament game. Boom. Thank you for brightening my day, MEDIA DAILY NEWS.
• Mark Prior’s trying to come back yet again. And yes, everything that’s happened the last five years is still probably Dusty Baker’s fault. Put the frying pan down, Cub fan.
• Your daily economic downturn update: Posh Spice Beckham has, shockingly, been spotted by GABBY BABBLE wearing the same outfit in public … TWICE. This follows news that hubby Dave has had to come up with $3 million of his own cash to pay the Galaxy part of the loan fee owed by AC Slater…err, Milan. Are the good times over?
• Buried in this story about Johan Santana throwing a couple of good innings for the Mets today is the revelation that Tim Redding, who the Mets have guaranteed $2.25 million to this year, can’t get anyone out. He gave up nine runs and three home runs in two innings against the Marlins yesterday, after failing to complete a full inning in an outing against the University of Michigan on Sunday. (He gave up five runs in that game, including back-to-back jacks. To college players.)
• Jason Richardson had a bad 20 seconds in the Suns’ loss to Cleveland last night. First, he attempted a 360 dunk that was blocked by LeBron James. Second, the refs didn’t call a foul even though Bron Bron clearly hacked him. Third, he got a T for complaining. LeBron had a triple double, with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 calls nobody else in the league would get. Video of the play:
• It’s Friday the 13th for the second consecutive month. To commemorate the occasion, HOME RUN DERBY picked the all-time team of guys who wore (wear) #13. The only excuse to put Blue Moon Odom and Nate McLouth on the same team
• JUICED SPORTS sat down for a 25-minute interview with Bill Laimbeer, who says that Isiah Thomas liked practice about as much as Allen Iverson does.
• UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL has the story of Danny Mountain, an up-and-coming soccer star whose career was cut short by a tragic injury. But he picked himself up off the deck and got it together … in porn. Now he’s “acting” six days a week and is married to porn starlet Eva Angelina. And yes, Danny Mountain is actually his real name. Here’s one of the few pictures of Ms. Angelina we could actually run on this site:
• Chad Cordero will be looking stupid in a Mariners cap this year, according to the SEATTLE TIMES.
• WALKOFF WALK implores you, adult fans of the (Devil) Rays, to not wear this replica AL Champion ring in public. Apparently, every fan at the April 14th game will get one. And, since it’s still April baseball in Tampa, they’ll only be handing out 47 of them:
(Photo by James Borchuck, St. Pete Times)