Is it the greatest college basketball game ever? That’s up for debate. But one things for sure: the UCONN-Syracuse six-overtime game was one of those rare games where you remember exactly where you were when it happened. It simply had everything. A young Kemba Walker making plays, Eric Devendorf jawing with the enemy and a good dosage of Jim Boeheim losing his mind at non-foul calls. However, it’s tough to remember everything that happened in that marathon of a night so let’s go back and recap the top five most forgotten things from the instant classic.
5) Andy Rautins Triple OT Three
There were obviously many different clutch shots and plays in Madison Square Garden that night. That kinda just comes with the territory when a game goes to SIX overtimes. However, one Andy Rautins triple is still the shot of the night for my money. Down by two with the shot clock dead and just 20 seconds left, Eric Devendorf went ahead and intentionally fouled Connecticut’s sharp-shooter A.J. Price to stop the clock (much to Jim Boeheim’s dismay). After, the roughly 70 percent foul-shooter split his free-throws, Syracuse got the ball back with a chance to tie. From there, the Orange dialed up a play to get the ball to Andy Rautins and the junior straight up buried the game-tying triple from NBA range. It was the biggest shot of the game and just one of six threes Rautins hit on the night.
4) Jonny Flynn Played Almost Every Minute
I’m still not really sure how Jonny Flynn made it through that night. I mean the dude literally played 67 of 70 minutes and never skipped a beat. Not only did Flynn lead the team with 34 points, but he was also the little engine that kept the Syracuse car going when it was running on empty. Under Flynn’s leadership, SU only managed to turn the ball over 16 times in a 70 minute basketball game. Considering 16 turnovers in a normal 40 minute game is relatively average, that still might be the most impressive statistics from the game.
3) UCONN Literally Got Every Single Rebound
The Huskies proved why they came into the Big East Tournament as one of the best rebounding teams in the country. The overall rebounding stats–UCONN’s 83 to SU’s 78–don’t really do a justice. But, literally any time UCONN had the ball with a chance to win down the stretch, Syracuse simply couldn’t get a defensive rebound. Some of it was fatigue, some of it was foul trouble and some of it was simply the bounces going Connecticut’s way but it’s truly amazing Syracuse dodged so many second-chance opportunities.
2) Eric Devendorf’s Miraculous Almost-Buzzer Beater
After jawing with some of the UCONN players back and forth throughout the game, Devendorf somehow drilled what would’ve been one of the most memorable shots of the entire college basketball season. I mean does it get any better than standing on top of the scorers table in the most famed basketball arena in the world after canning a three at the buzzer to beat one of your rivals in a postseason game. As Boeheim said post-game, “It would’ve been a lot better if they just counted Eric’s shot and we could’ve gone home 2 hours ago.”
1) UCONN Choked Away Almost Every Single Overtime
Still the most remarkable part about the entire four-hour game is the fact that Syracuse somehow won. The Orange had no business winning that game at all. It wasn’t until an Andy Rautins three at the beginning of the sixth overtime that SU actually took its first lead in the extra sessions. Boeheim’s bunch was fighting from behind in every single overtime period and somehow avoided a plethora of potential game-winning shots from UCONN. The Huskies simply couldn’t close the deal and you still have to wonder why Jim Calhoun was so hesitant to call timeouts after seeing his team miss countless opportunities to end it.
If you haven’t looked it up already, here’s the SportsCenter highlights of the legendary game. Syracuse and UCONN tip tonight around 9:30, make sure to follow @OrangeFizz on twitter for live updates.