Friday, March 13, 2009

Deep Six

Did we just watch the Greatest Game Ever Played? Is anyone going to be at work on time this morning to discuss that possibility?

Syracuse 127, UConn 117. Final. Six overtimes.

Six overtimes.

Where do you even begin to try and capture the flavor of the second-longest game in Division I history? Which play was the biggest, the strangest, the most spectacular? And how happy must West Virginia be to pick up the pieces tomorrow night?

Let the analysis of UConn's NCAA Tournament seeding and mindset come another day. Right now, let's pick some nuggets from this goldmine of a basketball game, the longest game in UConn, Syracuse and Big East history.

-- Eric Devendorf. After UConn ties the score on a crazy broken play with 1.1 seconds left in regulation, Devendorf calmly cans a three-pointer as the buzzer sounds. Maybe a smidge too calm. Replays show the ball was still on Devendorf's fingertips as the light went off. No basket.

-- Stanley Robinson. Did you know he scored 28 points? Do you even remember that he played in this game? Robinson gave an enormous performance tonight, and that gives the Huskies bright hopes for the NCAA Tournament. Robinson has been Mr. Inconsistent all season, but if he wants to peak in March (and April), no one is going to complain. He was all over the floor before fouling out.

-- The Rautins Triple-Double. Leo won a triple-overtime Big East tournament game in the final seconds in 1981 and now sonny-boy Andy comes through in the latest third-OT, forcing a fourth overtime with a three-pointer. Three overtimes later, Rautins hits the three-point dagger with 4:50 left to put UConn away.

-- Price was right. Thirty-three points (19 in overtimes) and 10 assists for A.J. Price. If he shoots a little better from three-point range (3-for-14), the Huskies win. But he was about the last reason the Huskies didn't emerge victorious tonight.

-- Paul Harris' Charles Smith Impersonation. Harris got the last laugh in the sixth OT, but dude, seriously, make a layup. First, Harris misses three bunnies in a row with under three minutes to play in the fourth OT, then misses two more in the final seconds of the same overtime. Even worse, all five misses came after Hasheem Thabeet fouled out. When exactly did Jordan, Grant and Cartwright throw on UConn jerseys and sneak into this game?

-- Scottie Haralson. That was a big-time cameo for Haralson, who had some strong moments for the Huskies late in the overtimes. It will be interesting to see how much he contributes in the
NCAAs. He certainly has earned a chance to get some minutes.

-- The Comeback Trail. Rautins' three-pointer in the sixth OT ends an extraordinary drought. Syracuse did not once have the lead over the first five overtimes. Yet, Syracuse led by 10 at the end of the sixth. Both teams can hold their heads high and sleep well tonight. But none of them will sleep as well as West Virginia.

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