Connecticut's, from left, Jonathan Mandeldove, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards watch from the bench in the final minute of the sixth period of overtime against Syracuse during a quarterfinal NCAA college basketball game at the Big East men's tournament Thursday, March 12, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York.  Syracuse won 127-117. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

It took six overtimes to determine a winner between the #4 UConn Huskies and and #20 Syracuse Orange and in the end it was the Orange who came out on top 127-117 in six overtime periods to advance to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The Orange hadn’t lead at all in the first five overtimes but that all changed early in the 6th OT when Andy Rautins hit a three-pointer to start an 8-0 run the Orange. A.J. Price got the Huskies on the board with a jumper with 2:11 remaining but a 5-0 run increased the Syracuse lead to 11 at 123-112. The Huskies got it to six on a Kemba Walker layup and a Scottie Haralson three but the Orange hit their final four free throws to seal the win.

The game almost didn’t go to the first overtime.

With four seconds left to go in the game, Walker grabbed the rebound and layed the ball back in to tie the game at 71. After a timeout by Syracuse, the Orange threw the ball down the court that was tipped by a UConn player and ended up in the hands of Eric Devendorf who nailed what was thought to be the game-winning three pointer.[/youtube]

As is the case when shots are made at the buzzer, the referees went to the replay and after a few minutes of looking at, they determined that the shot hadn’t left Devendorf’s hand in time and nullified the basket. This set up the epic battle between the two teams.

This game came down to free throw shooting and it was Syracuse who was better at the foul line. They hit 23-of-26 in overtime and 40-of-51 (78.4%) in the game while UConn was 24-of-42 (57.1%). When you can’t hit your free throws, you’re not going to win as I’ve said for as long as I can remember.

Price led the Huskies (27-4) with 33 points and 10 assists before fouling out in the 6th OT. Stanley Robinson had a great game with 28 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out while Hasheem Thabeet had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks before he fouled out. Jeff Adrien also had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds and also added 7 assists.

Jonny Flynn, who played 67 minutes, led Syracuse (25-8) with 34 points and 11 assists. Paul Harris had a monster game on the glass with 22 rebounds and had 29 points while Devendorf added 22 points. Rautins added 20 points and Rick Jackson finished with 10 before fouling out.

The question remains whether or not this loss affects UConn getting a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. I say no because I don’t think you can penalize them for losing this game, especially with the fact it went 6 overtimes.

Of course, UConn’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament won’t matter if they don’t learn how to make a damn free throw.

Notes and musings:

Syracuse Orange vs UConn Huskies 3.12.09 Big East Tournament Quarterfinal box score

Neither UConn nor Syracuse had ever played a 6 overtime game in their histories.

This was the longest Big East game in history and just the 3rd six overtime game in the history of college basketball.

8 players between the two teams fouled out.

The game took 3 hours and 46 minutes.

There was 93 combined free throw attempts between the two teams.

The 244 points scored by the two teams is a Big East record.

This is the third time in 4 seasons that the Orange have eliminated the Huskies from the Big East Tournament. They were sent packing last year by West Virginia.

UConn has not won a postseason game since 2006.