Big East Live Blog, Day 3
Bringing you all five days from the Garden live.
Day three of the Big East Tournament brings the quarterfinals to the Garden and by far the most appetizing day of college hoops yet. With the top four seeds in action today not only will we get a look at three potential number one seeds (Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh) but for you NBA draft nuts out there, no less than 9 players in action who could hear their name called by David Stern this June.
The World’s Most Famous Arena is sure to be packed all day and with over 30 minutes until tip between Providence and Louisville the stands are already starting to fill up. It’s another 12-hour hoop head marathon today, so sit tight as I get this first game preview put together. Hope you’re ready for some basketball!
Game 9: No. 8 Providence vs. No. 1 Louisville
This one has the potential to be a very interesting game, but more impotantly will feature some great individual match ups.
Providence looked very solid during stretches of their 83-74 win over DePaul yesterday, but not enough to convince me that they will be able to tackle the Big East regular season champs. Weyinmi Efejuku and Sharaud Curry were both on their game scoring 23 and 25 points respectively, while Jeff Xavier added some firepower from beyond the arc. Geoff McDermott had some nice flashes and he finished with a well balanced 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals. He is going to have to be huge inside today if the Friars hope to contend with the Louisville front court.
The biggest facet that Providence will need to improve on in today’s game is their perimeter defense; the Friars allowed a DePaul team shooting 29 percent from deep to drain 13 three-pointers. Louisville is a much more dangerous team from the outside and shot over 36 percent from that range during the regular season. If they heat up from the outside and Providence isn’t closing out on shooters, this one will be over real fast.
The way I’ve been describing Louisville all season is tantalizingly frustrating. When they are on their game they have the talent and athleticism to beat any team in the country, period. I think North Carolina is the only team that can match them in terms of sheer physical ability. The big three of course are Earl Clark, Terrence Williams and freshman big Samardo Samuels.
Clark is the most appealing pro prospect here not named Hasheem Thabeet. At 6-9 with freakish athleticism and the ability to shoot and handle the rock, Clark has scouts drooling but also scratching their heads at his tremendous inconsistency. Williams has seen his stock skyrocket this season thanks to the growing appeal of the “point forward” a hybrid position that he has brought to more national attention. Williams is another tremendously explosive athlete who has a great nose for the basket and dishes the rock exceptionally well. By far any away his most ridiculous numbers come on the glass where at 6-5 he hauls in more than 8 rebounds per contest.
The interior has gotten a boost this year from a pair of freshman in Samuels and Terrence Jennings. Samuels was of course a top five recruit out of St. Benedict’s in New Jersey and has been a nice option on the block for the Cardinals. There isn’t a player on the Providence roster who can handle him physically one on one. Jennings who originally committed to Maryland, has been a nice rotational player down low as well and what he lacks in polished post play at this point, he makes up for with hustle and athleticism. Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa bring the quickness in the backcourt.
Starters are being announced and we’re just about set for opening tip. This will be the first of three games featuring a top five team in the latest AP Poll; what could be better than that?
– There’s a good contingency of Louisville supporters here. I wonder if that many people made the trip from Kentucky, or being featured on ESPN’s Big Monday every other week gets you a lot of fans nationwide.
– Earl Clark opens the scoring with a turnaround jumper, but what a rough start for Terrence Williams. He has a wide open break and on the dunk attempt the ball slips out of his hands and goes off the glass. The next time down the floor his turnaround is returned rather rudely to sender by McDermott. For the first time maybe ever the senior isn’t smiling. Efejuku drills a three on the following possession. Friars out in front early 3-2.
– It looks like Clark came to play today. He lays in a gorgeous swooping lay up, flying through a pair of defenders in the lane for an impressive finish. The next time up the floor he dribbles across the paint and hits another fall away J. Samuels has knocked in a couple around the rim, bullying his way to the basket as expected. The pair are representing the Garden State well right now (Clark is from Plainfield) and the Cardinals lead it 10-3 at the first official timeout.
– Samuels is being unleashed right now and Keno Davis calls timeout. The frosh bulldozes his way into the lane for another easy basket, then he finds himself unattended to during a fastbreak and Edgar Sosa hits him for a massive two-handed jam. The frame of the basket just stopped shaking. Samuels and Clark have all 14 points for the Cardinals and show no sign of letting up on the overmatched Providence bigs.
– Under 12 timeout finds the Cardinals ahead 17-7. Louisville is letting their size and length do the work defensively. They can rotate in three players in Clark, Samuels and Jennings that go 6-8, 6-9 and 6-10. Samuels is built like a MACK truck and the other two have wingspans that rival that of a 747. The Friars are left to send out McDermott and Kale who both measure in at 6-8 (though I think that’s generous) and don’t have anywhere close the same leaping ability as Clark and Jennings do.
– Bad news for the Friars; Jeff Xavier comes down with a rebound and grabs his knee. He is grimacing a lot and needs assistance off the floor. The Providence cheering section is dead silent save for one fan who is asking for the first born of each official for not calling a foul on the play.
– Samuels is truly the definition of a man amongst boys right now. The youngster is a perfect 5-5 from the floor and has a game high 10 points. I remember seeing Samuels last year at the Nike Super 6 and the Elite 24 and while he was beasting on defenders, he wasn’t doing it in this manner. He has definitely gotten a step quicker since I last saw him play live, so kudos to the Louisville conditioning staff on that one. On two of his buckets he’s been able to face up and take Geoff McDermott baseline for a lay in, not bad for a kid who’s packing 240 pounds (allegedly).
– Terrence Williams plays the game at another gear compared to 95 percent of the college basketball world. The zip he puts on his passes, the speed at which he gets up the floor, the way he skies for rebounds, everything I’m seeing is just further solidifying in my mind that the kid is a sure fire first round pick in June. With 7:20 to go in the half Louisville is ahead 21-10.
– Ladies and gentlemen the Earl Clark show is now in full swing. The junior burries his first three from the right wing then catches a lob pass inside and lays it in all on the fly in transition; give him a game high 11 points.
– Under 4 break with Louisville ahead 28-19, but suddenly the Cardinals are starting to get a little sloppy. Rick Pitino is letting them know this in the team huddle as I write this. A couple of turnovers and lapses on defense results in a pair of buckets for the Friars and the fans are starting to see some hope as the half is winding down.
– I have a favorite pep band of the week and honors go to Louisville. The Cardinals ensemble is decked out in hockey style jerseys with white fitted lids; good start. In addition, they’re busting out some Green Day “Basket Case” as part of their repertoire. Bravo Louisville, bravo.
– First random thought of the day. Most media guides are typically either soft cover bound books, or are of the always handy spiral bound variety. Louisville decided to go hardcover; fancy.
– Efejuku has been fairly quite in the opening half, but just went on a mini 5-0 personal run. He finished a great three point play by taking the contact and hanging in the air to bank home the bucket, then stole the inbounds, drew a foul and hit both free ones. Providence ends up with the final possession of the half but with Clark right in his grill, Efejuku can only throw up a prayer from the corner that goes over the backboard. At the break its 34-24 in favor of the Cardinals.
– Just about set to start the second half and I’ve got some stats to send your way. Both teams have been sloppy, with Louisville turning the ball over 13 times and Providence 15 times. The Cardinals length on the defensive end frustrated the Friars into a poor shooting half, just 27 percent, while the stellar shooting of Samuels and Clark kept Louisville at 44 percent. The two front court machines combined for 25 points on 12-14 shooting in the first half.
– Jonathan Kale finishes a tough shot inside against Jennings and Clark to cut the lead to 8 points. Rick Pitino has some choice words for no one in particular.
– Louisville is in a 2-3 zone right now, which for the life of me I can’t understand. You mean to tell me that this team with as much athleticism and size as they have can’t play straight man, contest shots and rebound out of that style of D? The under 16 break is a relief for the Cardinals who come out looking very flat this half; they lead by 6.
– The Providence Friar is walking in circles at mid court clapping his hands and occasionally pointing to random spots in the crowd. Maybe I just had a bad first impression of him yesterday, but explain to me how this guy qualifies as a mascot and not just a guy in a costume.
– Clark gets the ball on the left block and hits a gorgeous fall away jumper on the baseline. NBA scouts in attendance just swooned. The junior has a game high 17 points and he and Samuels have combined for 25 of Louisville’s 43. The Cardinals lead by 8 at the 13:19 mark.
– I love when Pitino gets heated about his team’s defense; he stomps his feet up and down the court. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but given that Pitino is all about fashion and is wearing expensive (what appear to be) Italian made dress shoes, the ones with the wooden bases, each stomp sounds like a two-by-four snapping in half.
– With today’s games featuring so much star power there is a great influx of star power from the media world today as well. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports is sitting about ten feet to my left and I spotting ESPN’s Dana O’neal at the half in the media lounge. Dick Weiss has been here all week and I bumped into WFAN’s Mike Francesa this morning at the media buffet.
– Louisville is comfortably keeping this one at a 13-point lead with about 9 minutes remianing. Terrence Williams just took off along the baseline, I mean took off. Dude was a good step outside the paint when he took off and was at eye level with the rim when he flushed it with the right hand.
– A potential triple-double warning has to be put into effect as we hit the under 8 official break. Clark continues to get his buckets in a variety of ways, the two most recent one as a result of running the floor and Providence falling asleep on D. The junior also has 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the bank, so putting up the triple D isn’t out of the question completely. The lead is 57-42 for the Cardinals.
– Terrence Williams has been painfully quiet today, disappointing since I’m a big fan. While a two spot in the points column wont look great, you still have to love the 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Can’t knock the hustle either as T Will has been very active playing on the bottom of that 2-3 zone the Cardinals have been going to. Sharaun Curry just got 4 points the hard way for the Friars, drilling a three with the harm, then knocking home the automatic at the line. Providence is trying to chip away trailing by 11 with 5 minutes to go, but Williams is at the line for a couple.
– This one has started to wind down into a very back and forth pace with the Cardinals leading by 16. Even though Keno Davis felt that a loss today wouldn’t hurt the Friars chance of earning an at-large birth, chances are it probably did. Finising 10-8 in the Big East was nice, but aside from a win over Pittsburgh (which is great don’t get me wrong) and a win over ‘Cuse, the Friars don’t have a very impressive resume. I think this loss knocks them out of the picture if they weren’t already.
– Clark is getting ever so close to that triple-double, having notched 23 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists with just under a minute to go. He’ll likely fall short, but what a showing for the versatile forward in front of a packed Garden and plenty of NBA scouts.
– Louisville takes the opening game of the day by a final of 73-55 to advance to tomorrow’s semis. Clark and Samuels lead the way, each scoring over 20 points. I’ll be back with final thoughts after the press conference.
– In Louisville’s post game press conference one reporter posed the question to Rick Pitino of whether or not Providence should be in the NCAA Tournament field now that they had been eliminated from the Big East Tourney; his answer was interesting. “If you finish over .500 in the ACC, Big East or Big Ten you should automatically be in the Tournament. You’re playing the best teams every night out. Now if the conference is having a down year the situation becomes more subjective. But clearly the Big East is not having a down year.”
Game 10: No. 5 Marquette vs. No. 4 Villanova
Sorry for the delay folks, had some wireless issues. At the 14 minute mark Villanova is out in front 12-7 thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Corey Fisher.
On paper this is probably the most even match up of the tournament with both teams liking to go small and fast. Marquette got contributions from the usual suspects yesterday in their blowout win over St. John’s with Jerel McNeal, Lazar Haywood and Wesley Matthews all reaching double figures.
For Villanova it’s been an interesting, but solid season. The Wildcats swept Syracuse this season and nearly came away with wins versus Louisville and Connecticut.
Dante Cunningham is the only effective size that ‘Nova really can speak of. The 6-8 versatile forward has a pretty solid post game, sticking mainly with a fall away jumper and can put the ball on the deck from the perimeter as well. He won’t hurt you from beyond the arc, but he can catch and shoot effectively from mid-range.
Scottie Reynolds is the other major weapon. The sophomore out of Virginia burst onto the Big East scene as a rook last year and has continued to put up the numbers this year, scoring just under 16 ppg and dishing out nearly 4 apg. The Golden Eagles need to make sure they keep an eye on Corey Stokes as well who can absolutely fill up the basket from beyond the arc if given the space.
– At the under 12 break Villanova has a slight 15-9 advantage, with Marquette struggling to hit much of anything from the field right now. The Golden Eagles are just 1-10 from the floor, the lone field goal being a McNeal three, but luckily they have been a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe, otherwise this one would be much uglier. It’s funny how Marquette didn’t allow St. John’s a good look at the basket for the entire first half yesterday and now it’s the Eagles who can’t find the range.
– Buzz Williams just drew himself a technical. It’s funny, this is the most subdued I have seen him this week, so he clearly had some unkind words for the officiating crew from his coaches crouch, just in front of the bench. Stokes hits both freebies to push the lead back to seven. They waste the extra possession though as Jimmy Butler intercepts a pass and takes it the other way and draws a shooting foul.
– Jerel McNeal gets straight nasty with a drive to the basket; dude gets bumped for the foul and gets the basket to go as he falls to the floor. I had the pleasure of interviewing McNeal for a story back at the beginning of the college hoops season and he is an unbelievably humble individual. From a strictly basketball standpoint though, what amazes me is that in addition to being the all-time leading scorer in Marquette history, the argument can be made that he is the best perimeter defender in the country. I hope he gets drafted.
– Stokes alert! The sophomore steps up and drills an NBA range bomb from the top of the key that prompts Buzz Williams to take a 30-second timeout with his team trailing 25-15 at the 8:34 mark in the first half. It’s funny to watch the differing styles in coaching between Williams and ‘Nova’s Jay Wright. Williams is up and down, left and right, jumping, waving, yelling and almost constantly doing something. The only time is still is when he gets down in his squat right in front of his assistants. Wright on the other hand has almost an air of dignity about him. He is almost always standing with his arms relaxed at his sides and his expression rarely changes. Scottie Reynolds draws a shooting foul to send us to the under 8 break.
– Is it wrong that I look at the Marquette Golden Eagle and can only think how much better/cooler the Saint Joe’s Hawk is?
– Marquette is going soft to the basket right now and that just isn’t cutting it. The only thing keeping them in this game right now is their unreal 15-16 shooting from the free throw line and Wesley Matthews cleaning up on the glass right now.
– I can’t remember the last time I saw a half with so many fouls, it’s unbelievable. In total the two teams have combined to shoot 34 automatics from the line and we still have a little less than 4 minutes to go in the half. Villanova is in control 38-25 at the official break; Reynolds is leading the way with 13 points.
– This is now the tenth time that I’ve heard a freecreditreport.com jingle and this is actually the first time that I’ve heard members of the crowd singing along with the tune as oppossed to booing it. It must be that massive influx of out-of-towners coming in from Wisconsin and Philly.
– The half looks like it’s going to end, how else? At the free throw line. Wesley Matthews drew the double-bonus attempt on a strong drive to the rack. Jay Wright takes a 30-second break to draw up a final play should the Wildcats get the rebound with a little under seven ticks remaining until the break.
– Just like Wright drew it up. Corey Fisher takes the inbounds after the made free throw, goes the length of the court, gets silly with a spin move and finish in the lane as time expires. Villanova goes to the locker room well out in front 47-31. I’ll be back after a quick snack for some updates on other action around the country.
– With about 6 minutes to go until the start of the second half I’m just browsing some other scores from around the country and thought I would share my thoughts. Kentucky managed to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive by pulling away from Mississippi in the SEC Tournament; they still have work to do though in my mind. Northwestern and Miami are both officially out of the picture now after losing opening round games in their respective conference tournaments. I’m surprised but not shocked (there is a difference) that Baylor took out Kansas in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament, I thought the Bears severly underachieved during the regular season. No one is going to beat Xavier in the A-10 Tournament, put money on that. I’m very surprised that Temple is blowing out Saint Joe’s right now, I thought that would be a closer one. With any luck though, I’ll get a chance to see both Ahmad Nivins and Dionte Christmas the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament later in the year as they try to impress NBA scouts. Well those are just some ramblings I had to get off my chest.
– Marquette managed to get some easy buckets towards the end of the first half which upped their shooting percentage, but 5-24 is not going to hack it against Villanova. The Golden Eagles look intense as they make their way back onto the floor, lets see if that translates into baskets to start the half.
– It really hurts to see Dominic James sitting on the bench in street clothes and a boot on his left foot; reduced to providing vocal encouragement to his teammates. Good players who stay four years shouldn’t have their senior season cut short by injury, it isn’t right. Still, the encouragement seems to be working as Wesley Matthews opens the half on a personal 5-0 run, drilling a three then hitting a pair from the line. Of course, Dante Cunnigham has to end that run with an alley oop at the other end. ‘Nova still in control 2 minutes into the half.
– Jerel McNeal drills a corner three and pounds his chest. He has that look in his eye that tells me he’s about to have himself a good half. On the next possession he drives and kicks to Matthews for another three ball. Jay Wright calls time for ‘Nova, here come the Golden Eagles opening the half on an 11-2; 49-42 ballgame at the 16:20 mark.
– These refs are extremely trigger happy with their whistles. Dante Cunningham just got called for a foul after Wesley Matthews tripped and fell into him.
– There have been 51 free throws. 51! There are still 13 minutes left in the ball game! Luckily for Marquette they essentially can’t miss from the line. The pace of play is starting to pick up now. Corey Stokes gets a couple to go for the Wildcats and Maurice Acker slices through the defense to lay one in for Marquette. Jerel McNeal just picked up a ticky-tack 4th foul on a three point attempt by Stokes. Buzz Williams looks like he is going to keep his senior guard on the floor for now: risky.
– Antonio Pena gets whisteled for Villanova’s sixth foul of the half and that sends us to the under 12 break with the ‘Cats still leading it 60-48. Jay Wright’s mug appears on the jumbo tron for a commercial promoting the Big East Tournament and the ‘Nova student section goes nuts. They love him over there. I’ve liked Wright for a while now, ever since he was getting things done as the head man at Hofstra before moving on to the glitz and glam of the Big East.
– Maurice Acker gets his second bomb of the half and it’s a six point ball game; the Marquette cheering section is going nuts. My only complaint is the whole, “We Are, Marquette!” chant. Every school that has a two syllable name does that. We Are Penn State! We Are Duquesne! We Are DePaul! We Are Unoriginal!
– Corey Stokes is making me look very good with that whole, he will be an x-factor in this game comment I made in my preview. The sophomore drills another three, giving him a game high 20 points and sending us to the 8 minute official timeout with Villanova pushing the lead back to 9. Stokes has been a great weapon all season long coming off the bench and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move into the starting rotation next season.
– Jerel McNeal hits another from the outside to cut the deficit to the smallest it’s been since early in the ball game: 4 points. The senior wants to ball right now, you can tell.
– Dwight Burke gets called for a foul when he knocks Reynolds to the floor pretty hard going for a long rebound. The Marquette student section has a few choice words that I usually reserve for my dentist. With Jimmy Butler going to the line at the other end for a 1 and 1 and a chance to make it a one possession game, you just know this is going to be an outstanding finish.
– A football like scramble for a loose ball that ends with a diving Scottie Reynolds sending Jimmy Butler end over end brings us to the last official timeout of the game. Villanova leads by three, 70-67, but Butler will have a couple of freebies coming out of the timeout. The roof on this place is ready to blow; both cheering sections on are their feet with no intention of sitting down. Looks like we’re heading for a head on collision with the first outstanding finish of the week.
– Guess who? Maurice Acker hits a HUGE three from the corner with a defender flying at him. It’s a one point game and after a ‘Nova turnover Marquette has a shot to take their first lead since 3-2.
– Hayward hits a three from the top of the arc, Marquette leads! If the Golden Eagles hold on this would be the biggest halftime deficit overcome in Big East Tournament history at 16 points. Just 90 seconds remaining.
– Corey Stokes gets called for a traveling violation along the endline much to the dismay of Jay Wright who makes sure to voice his displeasure with the officials. The Wildcats take a timeout trailing by one point. Marquette regains possession with 40 ticks on the clock, I expect ‘Nova to foul before the clock gets under 20 seconds.
– Wow! McNeal gets blocked going to the rack with about 15 seconds left on the clock. Villanova goes the other way and Dwayne Anderson gets a prayer of a reverse lay up to go as the buzzer sounds! What a finish!
– Now that is what college basketball in March is all about! My heart goes out to Marquette. The Golden Eagles were down 16 at the half, fought all the way back and had the lead up until the final buzzer; what a heart breaker. Buzz Williams and co. can take solace in the fact that in just a few days they’ll be watching their name be unveiled in the NCAA Tournament field of 65, but until then, this one will sting.
– Marquette has give players reach double figures, led by 19 from Jimmy Butler. Villanova is led by 20 point showings from Reynolds and Stokes in coming away with the win. A total of 66 free throws were taken in this foul fest, but I can’t complain after that incredible finish. With that, I’ll step aside to get some food and prep for some more action tonight!
Game 11: No. 7 West Virginia vs. No. 2 Pittsburgh
It’s time for the Backyard Brawl at the Garden. This one should be an absolute slug fest with the nation’s top defense in Pitt and one of the more underrated squads around in West Virginia.
The Mountaineers put Notre Dame in a headlock last night, holding the Irish to just 37.5 percent shooting. Aside from a second half explosion from Luke Harangody, it was a relatively quiet night for the guys in green. West Virginia freshman Devin Ebanks was a monster on the boards hauling in 18, while the trio of De’Sean Butler, Alex Ruoff and Darryl Bryant did the bulk of the scoring. An 11-20 showing from beyond the arc didn’t hurt matters either and will certainly help tonight against a Pitt team that is loaded inside.
The Panthers have been at or near the top of the national rankings all season long due in large part to their defense which has been holding opponents to just 63.7 ppg on 33.7 percent shooting from the floor. This team is built around the trio of Levance Fields, Sam Young and co-Big East POY DeJuan Blair. Fields is exactly what you want in a point guard, smart, steady and the owner of an absolutely ridiculous 4.1 assist to turnover ratio. Young is a super athlete who can beat defenses inside, outside, in the half court set, or throwing down some highlight reel material in transition.
Then there’s Blair. What can really be said that hasn’t already been said about the monster in the middle. Though he’s very undersized for the position, he may be the strongest player pound for pound in the country. He’s one of the nation’s top rebounders at over 12 rpg and has recorded a mind numbing 17 double-doubles on the year. He is going to be very, very tough to stop inside as West Virginia doesn’t have anyone on their roster capable of handling the big man one on one.
The crowd is still filing in and we’re about two minutes away from the anthem, starters and then tip off at the Garden for the next round of games in the quarterfinals.
– The crowd is overwhelmingly in support of Pitt in this game. I have a feeling that the Connecticut vs. ‘Cuse game game later tonight will be much more divided and hostile. As it stands, aside from a small contingency of fans in yellow, this is pretty darn close to a home game for the Panthers from what I can tell so far.
– DeJuan Blair is a scary dude. I wonder what was going through Wellington Smith’s head as Blair just gave him the cold stare down before the opening tip?
– Pitt is ahead 6-4 at the 16:39 mark Blair at the charity stripe for a couple. The game isn’t ever four minutes old and he’s already got a pair of offensive rebounds. West Virginia can not allow him to get position down low when shots go up, otherwise he’s going to bully them around all night. As I write this, he gets a dump off inside and a drop step for two more. Give him 5 points and 3 rebounds.
– We go to the first official timeout of the ball game after Blair gets a tough foul call against him. That’s two now on the sophomore, I don’t expect we’ll be seeing him for a while. Pitt leads it 9-4.
– Pitt plays a great defensive series that ends with Ebanks going to the line, but still, it was a solid possession overall. What I like about the Panthers is they’ve clearly done their homework on who the shooters for West Virginia are. The players stay at home near the paint to prevent the dribble drive game from being established unless they absolutely have to defend the perimeter. This is the mark of great coaching by Jamie Dixon.
– Fields makes a nice pass ahead in transition to Sam Young. The senior is able to catch in stride, take a little contact and finish with a soft left hand. Tell me at least half a dozen scouts didn’t just mark that down in their books.
– Devin Ebanks has arms that don’t end…ever. He’s making great use of his length on the offensive end where he has 7 early points. While the wingspan is also helping him deter Fields when he drives to the basket, the lack of meat on the freshman is allowing Sam Young to move him around at will inside. Under 12 timeout and West Virginia has snuck ahead thanks to Ebanks and a couple of long jumpers from Alex Ruoff; they lead it 19-17.
– We’re at the under 8 timeout and Sam Young just made Sportscenter after putting down an alley oop from half court, courtesy of Levance Fields. There was absolutely no way that Young should have been able to get to that basketball, it was above the square and heading out of bounds. The senior in full sprint skies, grabs it with two hands and puts it down for the flush. God I love the Big East. West Virginia still up 24-20.
– Levance Fields is having a tough day at the office. The lengthy forwards of West Virginia are making it tough for him to get a clean look at the rim when he is able to get into the lane. In addition to that, he’s had at least two shots that were halfway down, suddenly decided they wanted out. Still, as usual, the senior is dishing the rock well. He just got Gilbert Brown an open dunk inside and an incensed Bob Huggins calls timeout. Huggins is looking like a cherry tomato right now as he lets his team have it during the break. The Panthers regain a one point lead with 5 to go in the half.
– The final official timeout of the half arrives after Fields tries to get too fancy with a no look pass that deflects out of bounds off a Mountaineer player. They always say one of the hardest things to do is beat a team three times in one season; Pitt has already won the previous two meetings with West Virginia. Are the Panthers going to be able to pull off the trifecta in 2009?
– Once each game at the Big East Tournament there is the Aeropastale T-Shirt Toss in which cheerleaders from one team come out and throw t-shirts to the fans who are making the most noise. If you’ve ever been to any sort of a professional or major college sporting event you know exactly what I’m talking about. My question though, is do you think the cheerleaders ever scope out an unsuspecting fan and try to drill them with a shirt? I only ask because I nearly had my head taken off by a fastball courtesy of a rather petite cheerleader from West Virginia.
– De’Sean Butler gets called for a hooking offensive foul trying to take his man baseline. The Mountaineers top offensive weapon grabs a seat with his third foul and just over a minute to go until the break. It’ll be interesting to see if Huggins starts him in the second half. Pitt has lucked out in that Blair has been off the floor since the 16 minute mark and the game is tied despite the absence of their best player. I also think the tide might finally be turning for Fields as he gets his first field goal, a tough runner in the lane.
– It also just dawned on me: how good are the four coaches we get to see tonight? Bob Huggins, Jamie Dixon, Jim Calhoun and Jim Boehiem. That’s quite the quad of coaches.
– The half ends with Ebanks pulling up for a long two that is off the mark but junior forward Josh Sowards is there with the last second tip in for two. Remember kids, you don’t stop boxing out until you hear the horn blow. West Virginia is ahead at the break 36-34 in a good one.
– So at the break I went back into the media lounge to grab a cup of coffee (because lets be honest, no one is doing 12 games in 3 days without a cup or two of joe). Anyway, the point of the story is I turn to get some milk for my coffee and who is standing in line behind me filling his cup? None other than Allan Houston. Random? Yes. Do I have an explanation for this? No. Is there a point to this story? Probably not. Let’s get the second half underway.
– Without Blair on the floor the Panthers were outrebounded 16-11. What kept them in this game was a very strong 53.6 percent shooting from the field. If they keep that up with their big man in the game, you can put a W in the books for the two seed.
– The Moutaineers come out sharp to start the second half. Ruoff gets an easy lay up off a backdoor cut and a nice dish from Ebanks. The next time down the floor Bryant, the freshman, drills a three from the left side. Give West Virginia a 6-point advantage.
– Ebanks just replaced Young on Sportcenter. The freshman took a bounce pass on a two on one break and flushed it on Jermaine Dixon; I mean flushed it. All Ebanks could do was turn around and flash the pearly whites as he made his way back down the floor; enjoy that one kid, it’ll be all over YouTube tomorrow. Dixon takes a timeout with West Virginia on a 9-3 run and leading by 8 at the 16:44 mark.
– I was having a conversation earlier in the day about West Virginia’s tournament birth chances based on where they are right now. I think if they pull off the upset of Pitt, they should be a lock to get off the bubble and into the dance, not even a question. The Moutaineers must be thinking that very thought, they lead by 8 with 12:27 to go.
– DeJuan Blair could get to the free throw line every single time down the floor if he wanted. He is so strong that the only way the West Virginia bigs can stop him is to hack away. Of course that doesn’t make up for the hideous free throw he just banked in, but hey its March, aesthetics go out the window this time of year.
– Blair gets hit with a technical for allegedly throwing an elbow; I didn’t see it. Either way, Ruoff nails both freebies and Ebanks hits a couple of his own after getting hacked on his way to the basket; give him 15 points and the Moutaineers a 10-point lead. If West Virginia can pull this off, it will be only the second time since 2001 that Pitt has not played in the Big East Championship game; how about that for consistency. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any other team in a major conference that has had that kind of run. Maybe Duke, though they had a down year in 2006 and I don’t think Carolina has been every year since 2001. If anyone knows of a stretch that can compare to Pitt’s I would love to know.
– At the under 8 break the Moutaineers still lead by 10, 61-51. With the lull in the action I’m going to try to answer my own question.
– I have my answer. Duke made every ACC Championship game from 1999 through 2006 and won all but one of them. So the Blue Devils can match the Panthers consistency in tournament play, just over a slightly different stretch of time. No other team in a major conference comes close to matching those two in the last decade. After a Pitt turnover and an easy lay in for Ebanks (17 points) the Moutaineers look like they are going to pull this one off, leading by a dozen with 5:20 to go.
– Sam Young gets a tough leaner to go plus the harm; his free throw cuts the deficit to ten. Do the Panthers have a run in them with 3 to play?
– Ruoff misses a spinning lay up, but Mr. Rebound, Devin Ebanks comes swooping in and is fouled by Blair on the put back attempt. That’s five on Blair; Pitt can start the buses down 9 with a minute to go.
– The West Virginia cheering section is on their feet while the Pitt fans are in stunned silence. Down 11 with 30 ticks to go the Panthers decide to foul Butler and extend the game for at least one more possession. Boys and girls the kids in blue and yellow are going to the Big East semis for the second straight year.
– Alex Ruoff dribbles out the clock and points towards the West Virginia cheering section in a show of victory. The final is a 74-60 ball game. Devin Ebanks was absolutely huge going for 20 points and 8 rebounds, connecting on 10 of 11 free throw attempts. Ruoff and Butler added 18 and 16 respectively as the Moutaineers shot 44 percent from the floor and hit 24 of 27 from the free throw line. For Pitt, Sam Young and DeJuan Blair each posted double figures, but Blair only had five field goal attempts. So the question has been answered, what is the best way to shut down Blair in the postseason? Overplay and deny, deny, deny. I’m off for a quick snack then a preview of the big one: Connecticut and Syracuse.
Game 12: No. 6 Syracuse vs. No. Connecticut
‘Cuse and UConn. Jonny Flynn and A.J. Price. Arinze Onuaku and Hasheem Thabeet. Paul Harris and Jeff Adrien. I could go on, but if that doesn’t get you psyched then frankly nothing will.
Syracuse looked good yesterday in their win over Seton Hall with Jonny Flynn doing all kinds of business on the offensive end. The super talented sophomore was hitting from the outside, driving to the basket and dishing out assists left and right. Defensively he didn’t look great though and he’ll need to be on his game in order to slow down A.J. Price.
Frankly, the real battle is going to be inside. Adrien and Thabeet going up against Onuaku and Harris; that is a whole lot of muscle flying around. Thabeet the conference defensive player of the year and co-player of the year is going to create all kinds of problems inside, but luckily the Orange have some shooters on the perimeter. Harris and Adrien are two of the toughest players in the country no question about that.
There’s an excellent turn out of supporters for both teams and a packed house at the Garden. This crowd is fired up and I have the feeling it is going to be an epic battle on the floor. Hope you’re set for this exciting nightcap.
– The game opens fast and intense. Flynn and Harris get a couple break out buckets for the Orange off of UConn turnovers. Thabeet makes his presence felt with a thunderous two-handed dunk plus the foul; he missed the free throw. In the early going ‘Cuse is out in front 6-4.
– Stanley Robinson nearly hits his head on the rim while putting in an alley oop courtesy of a lob from Kemba Walker. On the other end Eric Devendorf shows no fear going to the rack, getting a tough drive to drop over Adrien. At the first official timeout this game is every bit as intense as I was hoping for; the Orange lead 8-7.
– The internet is starting to slow down with so many media members in attendence for this one so I’ll try to keep the posts coming as fast as I can. It’s raining threes for Syracuse right now with Devendorf and Andy Rautins looking good from beyond the arc. Orange big man Rick Jackson (6-9) is also showing some real toughness inside, going right at Thabeet on one play to lay a baby hook over the top of the giant. At the 11:54 mark Syracuse is ahead 18-13.
– A.J. Price is straight wheelin’ and deelin’ as he slices into the lane and hits Gavid Edwards for an easy two inside to trim the lead. The Orange fast break coming the other way is proving to be a little tougher for UConn to slow down than expected and Jackson gets a pair of automatics after being fouled.
– Price is starting to heat up. He has the last five for the Huskies on a floating baseline jumper and a step back three ball on the right side. Jonny Flynn is impressing early on as well. The sophomore, despite his lack of size, does a fantastic job of using his body to shield the ball from defenders when he attacks the rim. He hangs and kisses one of the glass.
– Stanley Robinson strikes again! This time he gets some space on a fast break and puts down a windmill flush with the right hand. Under 8 break and we’re all tied up at 22.
– UConn is having a lot of sucess finding the weak spots in the Syracuse classic 2-3 zone and exploiting them. Those of you who play/played hoops know that the best way to attack a 2-3 is by coming at it from the wings and forcing the two defenders closest to you choose who is going to step up. This usually leads to confusion and someone, somewhere being open. So far, the Huskies have been able to drive and kick a whole lot thanks to the quickness that A.J. Price brings off the dribble. Jim Calhoun’s squad is up one with 5 to go in the half.
– Two on one fast break with Kemba Walker and Stanley Robinson leads to Paul Harris looking up at Robinsons kicks as they sail over his head. Robinson is an absolute freak athlete and has already raised my eye brows three times in this first half. The junior has 11 points, which ties him with Price for the game high. I’m still waiting for Thabeet to have an impact play, he’s alterred a few shots, but mainly because he got away with fouls inside. The final break of the half comes at the 2:27 mark with the Huskies up 31-29.
– Well it was only a matter of time with how riled up this crowd has been. As I look to my right amidst cheers, I see a fan (can’t tell for which team) getting physical with several security guards and being dragged out of the arena. I also just noticed a student in the Syracuse cheering section who has a miniature stuffed husky with a noose tied around its neck. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh at that one.
– The half comes to an end with a gorgeous drive and dish by Price to Adrien for a flush. Syracuse gets the last shot, a three in the corner from Harris that is off the mark. We’re at the midway point and the Huskies are clinging to a 37-34 lead. It’s been a good one so far, I expect nothing different for the final 20 here at the Garden.
– At the break Connecticut is shooting a lights out 51 percent from the floor, thanks in large part to a handful of dunks from Adrien and Robinson. Syracuse who is shooting a respectable 40 percent from the field has been helped out by Devendorf and Andy Rautins, who have each connected on a pair of bombs from beyond the arc. The Orange need to stop allowing second chance opportunities for the Huskies though; UConn hauled in 8 offensive rebounds in the first half. The start of the second half is set to get rolling.
– UConn starts out strong. Kemba Walker has a pretty scoop finish in the lane and Price follows it up with a driving finish of his own, plus a freebie.
– They should start awarding bonus points to UConn every time Robinson brings the crowd to its feet. Kemba Walker air balls a runner in the lane but the high flying Robinson picks it out of the air for another slam. Give the Huskies a 4 spot at the under 16 break.
– Sorry for the delay, another slow spot with the wireless there for a few minutes. At the under 12 break UConn is still ahead by a slight margin, 46-42. Thabeet get called for traveling trying a reverse along the baseline. I’m sorry, but if you are 7-3 and you attempt a reverse lay up, you should be benched. First of all, I don’t think it’s actually possible for someone that tall to pull off a reverse, but either way it was a turnover. The junior made up for it a few moments later though when he jumped over the back of teammate Gavin Edwards to pin Paul Harris’s shot on the glass. Overall though, this has been another poor showing by the co-Big East POY on the offensive end. He isn’t being decisive with his post moves and he is easily flustered by the double teams that he faces. Robinson continues to impress me tonight though; he’s hit a couple this half from mid-range, showing a decent stroke.
– There a quick post, finally! This internet is proving to be as consistent as Arinze Onuaku’s free throw shooting.
– The Stanley Robinson Makes Everyone Go Crazy Count is up to five after he throws down a two-handed put back.
– Robinson drains an 12-footer along the baseline and Jonny Flynn answers with a driving lay in. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of their draft stocks climbing.
– Rautins drills a long two coming off a screen at the top of the key to give ‘Cuse its first lead in a while and the Garden explodes! I can’t even believe this is only a quarterfinal game. If you close your eyes and just listen to the game it might as well be the National Championship game the way these fans are going off right now.
– Random site note (I know not the time for it): the Syracuse Orange looks like it was made out of the same material as my kindergarten dinosaur costume.
– Devendorf drains a three and gives A.J. Price a scowl that is going to give me nightmares. Jeff Adrien responds with a short jumper, before Flynn gets a bucket and the harm to send us to the under 8 break with ‘Cuse leading by three. The Orange have won their last three meetings with UConn in the Big East Tournament, they are looking to make it four in a row. After a slow two days at the Garden I am more than getting my money’s worth today (which is funny given that I’m not paying to be here).
– Gavin Edwards gets hit with an offensive foul to give the ball back to Syracuse with the Orange leading by 5 and less the 5 to play. There are over 19,000 fans in the Garden, three of them are sitting right now.
– Onuaku sends us to the final official timeout with a strong finish inside with the foul coming courtesy of Thabeet. Give the Orange a 7 point lead and an ever so slight chance (Onuaku is at the line) of making it an 8 point lead coming out of the timeout.
– I don’t know how I haven’t noticed this until now, but Jim Calhoun does a lot of dancing when his team shoots. It’s the same kind of movements you made as a kid when you were playing video games and you thought that if you turned your entire body it would help the car you were driving make that tricky turn a little tighter. Thabeet grabs an offensive board (he’s got a baker’s dozen) and goes to the line where he hits a pair. Two point lead for ‘Cuse with 2:38 to play.
– UConn ties the game on an offensive rebound and a put back. Guess who? Robinson. Few if any players have had a better performance this week then the one he is putting together tonight; give him 22 points and 8 rebounds. We’re tied with 2:17 to go; time to strap in!
– Flynn beats Price off the dribble without a care in the world and draws a foul on Thabeet. The sophomore calms swishes both without blinking an eye. The two possession lead is short lived though as Craig Austrie (first time we’ve heard his name tonight) drills an amazingly tough, contested shot from beyond the arc. So to reset, ‘Cuse ball, they lead by one with 1:02 to go. I love college basketball.
– The Orange knock down a pair of free throws and UConn comes back inside with Thabeet who plows his was to the basket. Still a one point Syracuse lead, they have the ball, shot clock is off, 28.5 ticks left on the game clock. Gut check time.
– The Huskies foul immedietly and send Ongenaet to the line where he hits 1 of 2. Huskies down two with the last shot!
– OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! UConn ties it up with 1.1 seconds but a full court pass from Paul Harris gets tipped to the hands of Devendorf and he nails a fall away jumper at the buzzer! The shot is under review!
– NO GOOD! OVERTIME! March Madness has come early this year, it’s bonus basketball at the Garden!
– How you know you’re watching a good college basketball game. Clue No. 1: Even the people on press row are sitting at the edge of their seat not paying attention to their work.
– UConn lands the first blow when Ongenaet fouls out and the Huskies convert both automatics from the line. ‘Cuse turns it over at the other end and UConn calls time out. To quote Rocky IV (yes I’m about to do this), “Forget about technique, this is just a street fight. It’s about who wants it more.”
– Adrien knocks down an open elbow jumper from the left side to give the Huskies a 3-point lead with 2:36 to go, then comes up with a huge block on Eric “I Almost Hit The Shot” Devendorf.
– UConn turns it over and Flynn takes it the other way for two. The refs totally missed Devendorf laying a lead block on Adrien though.
– Who care’s though? Stan the man comes back down the floor and nails a three from the right side to push the lead back to four! My fingers are running on pure adrenaline at this point, but they’ll be sore tomorrow I can promise you that.
– Out of the timeout Andy Rautins catches and fires another three coming off a curl screen; dude burries it no problem. Jim Calhoun calls time out with his team leading one. These two squads keep trading blows; 80-79 with 1:04 to go.
– UConn wastes their possession, forcing up a tough runner that goes out of bounds. ‘Cuse ball, down one, with 36 tics remaining after the Orange take their final timeout. Boehiem has to be thinking run the clock down as far possible before attempting a shot to ensure the Huskies can’t get a good look. My money is on a drive and kick to either Rautins or Devendorf who have both been money down the stretch.
– The ball goes to Rautins off another curl screen but he shorts the three ball off front iron. Robinson comes down with the rebound and is fouled with 14.8 seconds remaining. Free one rims out as the clock strikes midnight (ominous sign?) but the second one is good.
– DOUBLE OVERTIME!!! Flynn drives and draws the entire UConn defense to the left side of the paint, so he shovels a pass over to…Rick Jackson for the easy flush! Kemba Walker’s off balance runner at the buzzer is no good. We’ve got 5 more minutes of action coming. As one writer in front of me just said, this is fun.
– This makes the first time since 2007 that a Big East Tournament game has gone past one overtime. West Virginia and Louisville did battle that year. Kemba Walker opens the scoring this period with a tough lay up in traffic and Rick Jackson gets an almost identical dunk plus the harm on the ensuring trip. His free throw is no good, we’re tied at 83 with 3:51 remaining.
– Price dribbles through the entire ‘Cuse defense and gets bumped by Flynn going to the basket; dude nearly gets the basket to go too. The roof would have blown off and landed near 42nd street if it did. Instead Price hits 1 of 2 with a slew of Orange fans waving in his face.
– Flynn gets bumped going to the rim but it isn’t called and on the loose ball Devendorf gets called for fouling Craig Austrie. Jim Boeheim nearly loses his suit jacket while flapping his arms in disbelief. Austrie hits both freebies to make it a three point lead with 1:45 remaining. Not happy with the last trip down, Flynn goes to the rack again and is fouled plus the bucket. Give him the three point play and tie ball game.
– Big blow to Syracuse as Onuaku fouls out tussling with Thabeet for a rebound. The UConn big will be at the line shooting a pair (he’s a 63 percent shooting from the line.) Onuaku looks like a kid who just lost his puppy as he sits down on the bench and starts munching away on a towel.
– Thabeet hits 1 of 2 and Devendorf hits both of his after getting fouled. Tie game with less than a minute to go. UConn gets four offensive rebounds their next trip down but can’t convert! ‘Cuse ball, shot clock off, 20 ticks!
– I’m laughing at this point…but TRIPLE OT!! This is only the second time in Big East Tournament history that a game has gone this distance, the last time was the 1981 title game. Flynn missed a runner with time winding down and a UConn chuck was off the back rim. Here we go folks, this is going to go down as one of the all-time greats.
– A quick Price three and a one for two trip by Thabeet at the line has the Huskies ahead by four with a minute gone by. The Orange turn it over at the other end and Price makes them pay with a runner. Jimmy B takes a timeout with his squad trailing by 6 with 3:09 to go in the third overtime.
– Stan the Man fouls out for UConn and gets a standing ovation after putting together a masterful 28-point, 14-rebound performance; that’s a season high for points. Andy Rautins hits both free throws and Paul Harris steals the inbounds and is fouled going to the basket. The junior proves his worth hits both as well. It’s a 4-point swing and a 2-point game with 2:53 remaining. Could we be destined for a fourth overtime?
– Adrien stuffs home a put back that has the Huskies back up by six before Harris gets a follow up of his own. Connecticut calls a 30-second time out leading 97-93 with a buck thirty-seven remaining. Few if any people have left the stands and even fewer are sitting right now. If not for the credential around my neck, I’d be standing too.
– Syracuse gets a steal out of the timeout and Harris skies for a thunderous tomahawk jam to make it a one posession game. Rautins quickly fouls Adrian, a 64 percent free throw shooter, on the inbounds. It proves to be a wise decision as the power forward missed both, but Kemba Walker of all people comes away with the offensive board to give the Huskies another shot. They don’t waste it. Price is fouled with 21.3 ticks on the clock and he goes to the line for a pair.
– Price misses the front end and Boehiem calls a timeout to ice the the senior and to go over a final possession with his team.
– Price hits the second. Flynn brings it down court and kicks to Rautin for the three! Jeff Adrien’s jumper as time expires is no good. That’s right…for the first time in Big East Tournament history we are going to a 4th overtime!!!
– Thabeet gets a quick dunk and Rick Jackson fouls out on the other end with an offensive foul. The Huskies reach the century mark first and lead by 2.
– Down goes Thabeet! Down goes Thabeet! The big man fouls out with an offensive foul going for a rebound against Paul Harris. The hard nosed forward ties the game by nailing both.
– Harris gets his own miss, one, twice, blocked on the third try! Huskies come down at the other end of the floor and Price gets another to go in the lane before Devendorf slices his way through the UConn D to tie it at 104 with a minute to go.
– UConn take a full timeout and the image of Jonny Flynn squatting in exhaustion near half court tells you all you need to know about this game. It has been nearly 60 minutes of basketball, a game that started more than 3 hours ago. This one will go down in history as one of the all-time greats in the conference. Just 38.3 seconds remaining and the game is tied, do I dare think of the number 5?
– This was just announced as the longest game in Big East Tournament history, some more trivia coming your way.
– I knew I shouldn’t have said anything, but we’re going to lucky number 5! Paul Harris misses a tough contested lay up point blank range. Flynn hurled his head band into the crowd in disgust with the no call by the officials. That head band will be on Ebay tomorrow going for a grand.
– Flynn gets called for an offensive foul, it’s his second foul of the game. How the heck does one play in a five OT game and get 2 fouls?!?! Price hits a runner at the other end, give him 29 points and UConn a two point lead.
– Devendorf just fouled out of the ball game and is replace by Justin Thomas. Price gets both to go and the Huskies pull ahead by 4 with just inside of two minutes to go. A now bare-headed Flynn answers with a tough lay in from the right side.
– An official timeout is taken on the floor and the officials are given bottles of water; I can’t imagine how tired they are. All I know at this point is I’m going to wake up with arthritic hands in the morning by the time this one is all said and done. Ten-thousand plus words and counting.
– Out of the timeout Flynn almost puts down the most absurd reverse I’ve ever seen live. Instead he fouls out Gavin Edwards and gets a pair at the line. Scottie Haralson is Edwards replacement, averaging 4.2 minutes per game on the season. Flynn gets both, tie game, 50 ticks to go.
– Haralson nails a jumper from the foul line! Flynn quickly back the other way is fouled again going to the rack and again hits both. Twenty seconds, tie game and Connecticut calls timeout! I have to assume the ball is going to Price at this point, he has hit everything since regulation ended. Here we go!
– Price is off and Adrien’s follow is no good. Six, I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but six overtimes. This is what we call laughable. Even members of the media are starting to leave at this point so they can watch the end of this one in their hotel rooms.
– The decision to play ACDC’s “Shook Me All Night Long” during the break was a nice touch, I approve MSG.
– Andy Rauten opens the 6th OT period by nailing a corner three and UConn gets whistled for traveling at the other end. ‘Cuse comes back and Harris gets a baseline lay in to put the Orange up five. I’ve been here so long my Blackberry has died, I kid you not people.
– Amazingly the Garden is still full. It’s past 1 AM on a work night and no one, I mean no one will leave. Harris gets a bucket plus the harm following his own shot! Give the Orange a seven point lead and a chance to make it eight with 2:34 remaining in the contest…I think.
– Connecticut calls time after Price grabs an offensive board and lays it back up; ‘Cuse still leads 118-112 with 2:14 to go. The scoreboard at the Garden under the label “period” says the number 8. I didn’t know that was possible. Do the math though, two regulation halves plus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…6 overtimes makes 8 periods. I’m not entirely sure but I think the first half of this game is already airing on ESPN Classic.
– After a couple of more Harris freebies the Orange lead by eight with less than 2 minutes to go. Jimmy B takes a 30-second timeout to let his kids catch their breath. Some fans are starting to make their way to the exits (I don’t know why) but you can start to get the sense that this one might finally be heading toward a conclusion (I probably just jinxed it.)
– Price gets stuffed by Rautins on a three ball attempt then ends his night by fouling Harris. Syracuse is up ten with just over a minute to go and this one looks to be over.
– Amazingly enough, this isn’t the most overtimes in a college basketball game. That distinction goes to the 1981 match up between Cincinnati and Bradley in which the Bearcats were victorious in 7 overtimes. Amazing.
– Finally, we have a final score at the Garden as the Syracuse Orange win one of the greatest games you will ever see by a final of 127-117. What can I say? What can anyone say?
– Here are some final stats to wrap your head around: Jonny Flynn – 34 points, 11 assists. Paul Harris – 29 points, 22 rebounds. Eric Devendorf – 22 points. Andy Rautins – 20 points. A.J. Price – 33 points, 8 assists. Stanley Robinson – 28 points, 14 rebounds. Hasheem Thabeet – 19 points, 14 rebounds, 7 blocks.
– That does it for me for the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament; logging a little extra time at the Garden today, 14 hours! Thanks to those of you who stayed up and posted throughout the night on this one and thanks to Syracuse and Connecticut for one of the all-time great games in college basketball history. I’ll see you all later today for the semis!