6 overtimes! Syracuse Orange stuns Connecticut Huskies in quarterfinals of Big East men's basketball tournament

A multiple-OT thriller: UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet fights for the ball against Syracuse’s Rick Jackson, left, and Kristof Ongenaet.

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A multiple-OT thriller: UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet fights for the ball against Syracuse’s Rick Jackson, left, and Kristof Ongenaet.

NEW YORK — Syracuse outlasted Connecticut in the second-longest Division I game ever played, capping a Big East tournament quarterfinal doubleheader in which the second- and third-ranked teams in the country both lost.

Andy Rautins hit a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the sixth overtime Thursday night/this morning, giving the Orange its first lead since regulation en route to a 127-117 victory over the third-ranked Huskies.

Much earlier in the evening, West Virginia beat No. 2 Pittsburgh 74-60, meaning that instead of a much-anticipated third meeting between two teams that held the No. 1 ranking this season, it will be sixth-seeded and 18th-ranked Syracuse and the seventh-seeded Mountaineers in tonight's in the conference semifinals.

The Syracuse-UConn game was one overtime short of the record set in Cincinnati's 75-73 victory over Bradley on Dec. 21, 1981.

"I've never been prouder of a team than I am tonight. They were unbelievable,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

There were some staggering numbers besides the overtimes. The game started at 9:36 p.m. and ended at 1:22 this morning.

Jonny Flynn had 34 points and 11 assists for the Orange (25-8), playing 67 of the 70 minutes, the most of any player. Paul Harris had 29 points and 22 rebounds, while Eric Devendorf had 22 points and Rautins had 20, all but two on 3-pointers.

A.J. Price had 33 points and 10 assists for the Huskies (27-4), while Stanley Robinson had 28 points and was one of three UConn players with 14 rebounds. Hasheem Thabeet had 19 points, 14 rebounds and six of the Huskies' 16 blocked shots.

"They just kept fighting … hanging in there and toughing it out and fighting," Boeheim said of his team.

Flynn said he kept telling his teammates, "This is destined for us. I told them, 'We played this long, all we can do is win this game.' "

WEST VA. 74, NO. 2 PITT 60: Freshman Devin Ebanks scored a career-high 20 to lead West Virginia to its upset of No. 2-ranked Pitt, knocking out the defending Big East tournament champion.

Alex Ruoff, a star at Brooksville's Central High, added 18 for the Mountaineers (23-10), who lost twice to the Panthers during the regular season.

"I think we were the aggressor. I think that's big," Ruoff said. "In the first two games, we … had stretches where they kind of outmanned us."

DeJuan Blair, the league co-player of the year, spent most of the game on the bench for Pitt (28-4). The 6-7, 265-pounder had 14 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 1:17 left.

"Of course you feel down right now, the next couple hours, the next couple days. You're going to feel down watching the Big East, watching everybody," Blair said. "We weren't prepared. We just didn't grind it out like we usually do."

No. 10 Villanova 76, No. 21 Marquette 75: An improvised play led to a last-second layup by Dwayne Anderson that fell in as the buzzer sounded for the fourth-seeded Wildcats (26-6).

Reggie Redding had the ball near the top of the key for Villanova with less than 10 seconds left and the Wildcats down one. He was trying to find Scottie Rey­nolds, but Marquette wouldn't allow that to happen. And with no timeouts, it was all up to him.

"I knew time was running down, so I said, 'Hey, I've got to make a play,' " Redding said. "I drove, and Dwayne's man stepped up on me. Dwayne made a great second cut, and I hit him with a pass, and he finished it for us."

The crowd erupted when the ball fell through for Anderson's only field goal of the game.

Reynolds scored 21 for Villanova, which faces top seed Louisville today.

Jimmy Butler had 19 points for the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles (24-9), who have lost five of six since starting point guard Dominic James broke his left foot.

No. 5 Louisville 73, Providence 55: Earl Clark had 24 points and 10 rebounds and freshman Samardo Samuels 22 points for the Cardinals (26-5), who have won 18 of 20. Weyinmi Efejuku scored 17 to lead the Friars (19-13), who had 26 turnovers.

6 overtimes! Syracuse Orange stuns Connecticut Huskies in quarterfinals of Big East men's basketball tournament 03/12/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 13, 2009 2:10am]

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