Syracuse and UCONN got March Madness to live up to its name in the 2009 Big East Tournament quarter-finals. The Orange and Huskies battled for nearly four hours in a game that would become one of the greatest ever played.
#1: Syracuse vs. UCONN March 12, 2009
Jonny Flynn was the absolute superstar guard that made the ‘09 Orange a force to be reckoned with. Countless accolades, great stats, and flashy plays made him a star at the collegiate level. The kid from Niagara Falls was NBA bound, but he wasn’t the only one on this star-studded SU roster. Arinze Onuaku, Andy Rautins, and Kris Joseph were on their way as well, not to mention guys like Eric Devendorf, Paul Harris, and Rick Jackson. This was one of Boeheim’s best squads since the ‘03 championship run. With 23 wins heading into the Big East Tournament, Syracuse had momentum on its side, and it was shown when it made quick work of Seton Hall in the first round, 89-74. With a win under their belts, the Orange looked to cruise through the next few rounds into the final, that wasn’t the case. The Huskies met them in the next round, and it’s safe to say, Jim Calhoun’s team was stacked to gills. Five future NBA players provided some superstar power for the team from Storrs. A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, Kemba Walker, and Jerome Dyson looked to gear up and take down this SU team no matter what it took. These two teams had that in common, neither were willing to give an inch in a game that became an instant classic.
Regulation ended tied at 71. The first overtime period refused to pick a winner, so did the second, third, fourth, and fifth. Jonny Flynn and A.J. Price each balled out, 67 points between them, and a double-double each. Flynn’s supporting cast just proved better than that of Price. SU’s bigman, Harris put in work on the boards, 22 rebounds, turning a lot of them into buckets on his way to 29 points. Flynn was an absolute workhorse in the game of the decade, he put in 67 minutes, meaning he spent just 3 minutes off the floor.
The game was a statistical anomaly. Eight players fouled out of the game, 102 points were scored after the end of regulation and both teams had four players who played 50+ minutes. It was the second-longest game in Division 1 history. At some point the player’s fatigue became a huge factor. Flynn was quoted after the game, “I just wanted to get the game over with…Whoever wins the game, let’s just get it over with.”
Syracuse went on to trump UCONN 127-117 in what is undoubtedly one of the greatest contests in college basketball history. Flynn received tournament MVP despite Syracuse losing in the conference title game to Louisville a few days later.