Two years ago today, March 12, 2009 is a day that will forever be seared in the memories of UConn and Syracuse Men’s basketball fans. It was the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, and everyone knew it would be a close game, UConn and Syracuse games are almost always buzzer beaters. But this game was unlike any other every played. It took 3 hours, 46 minutes to play the game that ended at 1:22 a.m., with a combined total of 244 points, 102 of which came after the regulation buzzer. Eight players fouled out; six registered double-doubles. All of this in a record 6 overtimes. That’s right, 6 OTs. By the time the game came to an end, players, coaches, and fans were exhausted, but the winning team, Syracuse, mustered the strength to celebrate their hard earned victory on the floor of Madison Square Garden.
These were the days of Stanley Robinson, Hasheem Thabeet, Kemba Walker, Craig Austrie
A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien, Donnell Beverly, Jerome Dyson, and Gavin Edwards all of whom gave everything they had on that long, grueling night. It was a tough loss, and one that every UConn fan recalls when UConn and Syracuse play.
I’m not to remember statistics, but I
remember this game. At the end of regulation, we were tied at 71. At then end of the first OT, we were tied at 81. The second OT ended tied at 87; the third OT ended tied at 98; the fourth OT ended tied at 104; and the fifth OT ended tied at 110. In the sixth OT, Syracuse took over, and when the final seconds of the sixth OT expired it was UConn 117–Syracuse 127.
It was a tough loss, for sure, but it was one of the most amazing college basketball games I have ever seen.
Last night, UConn and Syracuse met in the 2011 Big East semi-finals and all the talk was about that game in 2009. It was a tight game throughout, with more lead changes than I could keep track of as the game progressed. This was UConn’s 4th game in four nights, and I fear Syracuse, for whom this was the second game of the tournament, would be fresher and stronger. But UConn is a young team. Yes, Charles Okwandu is a Senior, Kemba Walker is a Junior (and will graduate in May), but most of the other key players are Sophomores Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Alex Oriakhi and Freshmen Jeremy Lamb, Roscoe Smith, Tyler Olander, and Shabazz Napier. And those young men had plenty of energy when the hit the floor last night. In the end, it was the Kemba Walker show, but every UConn player contributed to the win. And, as expected, the game didn’t end in regulation, but this time there was only one OT. Connecticut won 76 – 71 and meets Louisville tonight. This will be Louisville’s third game of the tournament and UConn’s fifth. But UConn has Kemba Walker and four wins over the last four days.
UConn Women’s Basketball Team won the regular season and Big East title last week. Here’s to the men bringing home the Big East tournament title tonight.