The Syracuse 127-117 upset victory over fourth-ranked UConn, which unfolded over a history-making six overtimes, was one of the wildest, greatest games in hoops history. Only one college game, ever, has gone longer; no Big East Tournament game has ever gone more than three.
Anyone who loves a good sports story has to appreciate the drama of this game; a test of endurance and adrenaline that will long reverberate in college basketball lore. It was a game that appeared finished, but had only just started. With 1.1 seconds left in regulation and the game tied, Eric Devendorf scooped up a deflected fullcourt pass and swished a 3-point shot. Devendorf, one of the Big East’s most vociferous players, jumped up on the broadcast table in celebration and defiance.
But officials huddled around the monitor and called off the shot, which was on Devendorf’s fingertips as time expired. That’s when the fun really started, with Syracuse scrambling from one overtime to the next and the next. In the fifth overtime and in foul trouble, Syracuse had to put in Justin Thomas, a walk-on who hadn’t played a meaningful minute all season.
Connecticut had two shots to win at the end of the fifth overtime but missed both times. The futile last possession personified five overtimes of frustration for the Huskies. And when the next and last buzzer sounded, the Orange players had a celebration they’ll remember for a lifetime.
“Sheer numbers only say so much, but we can begin there,” writes Mike Lopresti in USA Today.
“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.”
The Hartford Courant’s Jeff Jacobs writes.
“Baskets saved one team from sure defeat. Blown shots stopped the other team from sure victory. They may not have been able to feel their legs, but you couldn’t help but feel great for college basketball, feel that something very special had unraveled in front of your eyes.”
Just one word: Wow! Check ESPN for a recap of the epic game.