THE DAILY ORANGE

An oral history of the six-overtime game

Five years ago, Syracuse and Connecticut played a game for the ages in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.

From the moment the draw for the 2009 Big East tournament put Syracuse and Connecticut on a crash course for the quarterfinal round, the game had the makings of an instant classic.

Two bitter rivals coached by Hall of Famers. Two rosters stocked with NBA talent. The Huskies handled the Orange with ease earlier in the season, but in Madison Square Garden, stuff like that doesn’t seem to matter.

The first 40 minutes were hard-fought, if sometimes unspectacular. But then Eric Devendorf hit his now-famous discounted 3-pointer and the game became an epic.

Six overtimes. Two hundred and twenty-six minutes. Two hundred and forty-four total points. Eight players who fouled out.

There were missed opportunities in some overtimes, but big shots by Andy Rautins and Jonny Flynn in others. And ultimately, SU prevailed in six overtimes despite not leading in the previous five.

“I don’t think other games can be compared to it,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “It’s not necessarily the best game, but it’s just one-of-a-kind to go six overtimes.”

As late night turned to early morning, the most iconic game in one of the sport’s most iconic leagues became something of legend. There may be games that drag on longer than six overtimes, but odds of the perfect storm of opponents, coaches, venue and stakes all colliding again are impossibly slim.

Five years later, its legacy lives on as one of the Big East’s — and college basketball’s — all-time classics.

“I think both teams proved something that night: that Syracuse and UConn were true programs, not just teams,” said Jim Calhoun, Connecticut’s head coach at the time. “They had players within the program who truly believed in the Orange and the blue and white of the Huskies. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was an incredible game to show that both teams weren’t going to quit.”

Graphic by Ankur Patankar and Chris Voll

The calm before the storm

On Thursday, March 12, 2009, Syracuse and Connecticut met in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. The No. 3 Huskies had a double bye until Thursday and were fighting for a No. 1 seed. The No. 18 Orange had just beaten Seton Hall after a single bye. The winner would advance to the semifinals to play West Virginia after the Mountaineers upset No. 2 Pittsburgh earlier in the day.

Calhoun: “I always loved the Big East tournament. I always thought it was special and over the years we’ve had some very special games.”

Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse center: “Every game we play them is a tough game, but nobody really expected all that.”

Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut center: “We just went over there, we was ready to compete, man. Big East’s always tough. Anybody can beat anybody at anytime, so we just came out and said we’re trying to win the Big East.”

We just knew we were playing a good team that was hungry at the time, who needed a win to solidify their spot to the NCAA Tournament. We were pretty much set, but we were definitely looking forward to playing spoiler.
A.J. Price, Connecticut guard

Mike Ogle, The New York Times reporter: “I actually was going to go home because Pete Thamel was going to write off of the Syracuse game late and I was going to go home and get some sleep. And then the game seemed to be kind of interesting and a late game at the Garden between those two teams — I figured I’d stick around and see what happened.”

Justin Thomas, Syracuse walk-on guard: “It’s never a regular day when Syracuse is going to play UConn. You can feel the tension. Everybody knows it’s a rivalry. Great games. And that year in particular both teams had great players.”

Kip Wellman, Syracuse graduate assistant: “You’re not expecting six overtimes or anything like that, but it did have that sort of feel that it could be an instant classic.”

Jake Presutti, Syracuse walk-on guard: “We played the night before against a really tough, trash-talking Seton Hall team and it really lit a fire under Eric and Jonny.”

Price: “When Pittsburgh went down, it was definitely shocking because you don’t want to overlook anybody, but that was definitely a game that we were looking forward to…Maybe it was made for us to make a run.”

Patrick Sellers, Connecticut assistant coach: “I never said this at the time, but I’m thinking this is our year.”


Tipoff: 9:36 p.m.

Calhoun: “Syracuse and Georgetown might have been the ’90s rivalry, but clearly the 2000s it was Syracuse-UConn.”

Devendorf: “There was definitely some trash talk during the game. Particularly I remember me and A.J. Price going at it.”

Price: “We were still going back and forth a lot.”

Thomas: “Eric always was talking, man, so that was nothing new.”

Price: “It wasn’t just me and him. It was a lot of us out there who was getting into it. There was a lot of us out there who were getting into it. It made the game more competitive, made it more fun.”

Devendorf: “Maybe later in the game it definitely tailed off a little bit.”

Sellers: “The year before, we had a tough time guarding the pick-and-rolls. Jonny Flynn was really good at pick-and-rolls. George Blaney and I went to the Boston Celtics and talked to Tom Thibodeau and he gave us some stuff they did with Yao Ming. It’s called ‘icing the ball screen.’ You jump on the ball handler and you push him away from the screen, so we iced all their ball screens at Storrs (Conn.) that year and we ended up winning by 14 points.”

Presutti: “They just really took it to us. Thabeet played a huge factor. Coach Boeheim was really on us hard about not allowing him to dictate the game and he just controlled the paint.”

Sellers: “Syracuse made an adjustment. When you do that type of defense, you don’t guard the screener. What Syracuse did was they threw the ball to those guys and then they dribble-handoffed to (Andy) Rautins. The first couple times they did it, they went to Rautins. Rautins made a couple 3s and Coach Calhoun was like, ‘We’ve got to get out of it.’ And now they go all ball screens and Jonny Flynn started going crazy on us.”

Guys like Jonny, Eric, Paul — they felt comfortable at the Garden. It brought something different out of them. Eric and Jonny, specifically, they thrived.
Jake Presutti, Syracuse walk-on guard

Sean McDonough, ESPN’s play-by-play announcer tossing the broadcast to halftime: “As usual, these two longtime rivals get together — an interesting ball game.”


Second half

UConn went into the second half with a 37-34 lead, but there were still 50 minutes to be played. With 3:56 left in regulation, Syracuse battled back to lead 64-57. It was the largest lead of regulation, and there wouldn’t be a larger one until the game was decided in the sixth overtime.

Devendorf: “I don’t know if we thought we had control. We were just trying to come out with a win.”

Onuaku: “We never really relaxed. When you get a lead in the Big East, it’s hard to maintain it. We were just trying to maintain the lead. We never really relaxed.”

Price: “Onuaku, who was like a 30-percent free-throw shooter, just missed two free throws, so we went to the hack-a-Onuaku, pretty much. We fouled him on purpose and he goes to the line and I’m just giving it to him before he shoots the shot. Just talking all kinds of junk to him knowing that he’s going to miss. He calmly knocks the first one down and calmly knocks the second one down. I couldn’t believe it.”

Boeheim, after the game: “The free-throw shooting was absolutely unbelievable tonight. We had to make two free throws at least seven, eight times.”

In the final seconds, Craig Austrie missed a potential game-tying shot. Kemba Walker was there for the putback with 1.1. ”Does it get any better?” Bill Raftery rhetorically asked during the broadcast.


The shot

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The Orange had time for one last catch-and-shoot. Paul Harris’ long inbounds pass was deflected by Gavin Edwards, but fell right to Devendorf on the right wing. He tossed up an off-balance 3 as the final buzzer sounded.

Calhoun: “I didn’t know if it was good or not, initially, and when it was up in the air I said, ‘Oh my god, it’s got a chance.’”

Sellers: “And then he jumps on the table celebrating. At the moment I’m like, ‘Oh, man, we lost.’”

Thomas: “We loved it. We all rushed the floor. We thought the game was over. Perfect ending. At the buzzer, no chance for a reply, break their hearts in the Garden for the world to see. We thought it was going to be the best ending ever. I loved the way he celebrated. I thought it was awesome. It was quintessential Eric Devendorf. Stand on the table, look at the crowd. I loved it.”

Boeheim: “That’s just Eric.”

I bet Eric had run through something like that in his head a million times. Like, 'If I hit a game winner, I'm going to step on the table.' I'm sure he'd thought about that before.
Jake Presutti, Syracuse walk-on guard

Price: “I knew it was no good. I was right there. I was the one who was right next to him when he shot it. I knew he didn’t get it off.”

Referee John Cahill: “I knew the shot was close and I knew by rule that we had to go to the monitor.”

Thomas: “I remember we were in the huddle and Jonny had his hands on his knees and he looked at me and he said, ‘JT, they’re going to take this away from us.’”

Calhoun: “One of my assistants said, ‘Too late! Too late!’”

Sellers: “I go over to our SID and I look at the computer and I see it…I’m over peeking over at the screen and I almost sprint back. ‘It’s no good! It’s no good! It’s no good!’”

Cahill: “We were fortunate the technology had advanced to the stage that it had when that game was played because if that game had happened maybe 10 years prior, by rule we may not have even gone to the monitor and secondly, we may not have had the angles or the ability to have the shot blown up. TV was able to not only show us a bunch of different angles, but they were able to blow up Devendorf’s hand on the ball and we were able to see the time going off the clock and hitting zero while it was still on the hand of Devendorf.”

McDonough: “I was just really proud of our broadcast team. Not just Jay (Bilas) and Bill, but producer, director, all the camera people. We had an amazing shot from our center-court, hand-held camera.”

Boeheim: “I thought it was good, but I thought it was questionable when he shot it. It was really so close you couldn’t tell.”

Cahill: “When Bob Donato went down and told coach Calhoun, I’m sure he was elated. When I told coach Boeheim, he didn’t have the same reaction. He told me, ‘You’d better be right.’”

Devendorf: “I wouldn’t have changed anything I did. I was going on passion and emotions.”

Bilas: “The game to that point hadn’t been an epic. It had been a good game, but I didn’t consider it to be an epic game, but it certainly was after that. The whole thing, when you took it all together, became unforgettable.”

Boeheim: “At the time you’re very upset because you want to get a win and you think you got it or have a chance to get it, but looking back on it, it’s the best thing that ever happened because then we became part of a once-in-a-lifetime game.”


First overtime

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Onuaku: “I just remember us getting together, regrouping. It’s 0-0 now. Let’s go win the ballgame.”

Price: “Being down and then coming back the way we did, we felt like the game was ours in overtime. We felt like we had momentum on our side and we felt like that was going to carry us for the rest of the game.”

Thabeet: “To take the game to overtime, that’s when it wasn’t normal for us. Especially in Big East play, we beat each other pretty well. We was expecting the game to be over without the overtime, so when they were going to first we were like, ‘Oh, wow. They really turned it up.’”

Just 34 seconds in to the first overtime Kristof Ongenaet became the first player to foul out. With 30 seconds left, Rautins missed a 3 that would have given Syracuse a two-point lead. Stanley Robinson went to the line for UConn with 14 seconds left and made 1-of-2 to stretch the lead to two.

Calhoun: “We had opportunities to win and it’s kind of a frustrating feeling. Let’s put this away, let’s finish this and, quite frankly, Syracuse never let us finish it.”

Sellers: “We were in the lead. We had the game in hand at least two or three times in those overtimes.”

Onuaku: “We never really felt like we was playing from behind, we were just playing a game. We always feel like we’re at home in the Garden and we’ve got the fans on our side. We were just playing hard. We were playing like we knew we was going to win the game.”

Syracuse didn’t need a 3, so Flynn dumped a pass off to Rick Jackson who flushed home a game-tying dunk with 8 seconds left. Walker’s off-balance 3 missed and the game continued.


Second overtime

With 1:18 left in the next overtime, the foul trouble continued for Syracuse. Onuaku fouled out of an 86-86 game and the Orange called on freshman Kris Joseph for the first time in the game. The natural small forward would have to anchor the center of SU’s zone.

Onuaku: “I had to talk to Kris Joseph because he was playing center at the end of the game. I had to tell him what to do.”

He came into this game and I remember looking at his face and thinking he looked so nervous and not comfortable.
Patrick Sellers, Connecticut assistant coach

Onuaku: “I think he did well. He listened to the little things that I told him and he was able to go out there and execute.”

Boeheim: “That kind of game just takes its toll. We won the game because we had a couple starters that made it all the way through. That was the difference in the sixth overtime.”

Bilas: “Some of the overtimes it was tied and somebody didn’t make a play. It could have been ended several times.”

At the end of second overtime, Flynn pulled up for a long two-pointer. His shot bricked and Walker’s off-balance heave on the other end missed, too.


Third overtime

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Price: “We were taking shots of B-12, energy drink. And we had some guys on the team who were accustomed to doing that, such as myself. I was always the guy who liked that boost of energy, so I would take shots of B-12 maybe at halftime or something. But I remember our trainer, after the second overtime, was like, ‘No. Everybody has to take it. Everybody needs the B-12 right now.’”

Thabeet: “It was such a long game. We had fatigue a little bit. I didn’t have much of a break until I fouled out in the fourth overtime.”

Price: “Thabeet was a guy who never took anything and he had to take B-12. He was tired.”

Cahill: “We kept taking Gatorade in between periods and things like that, but we were emotionally drained.”

McDonough: “I could have stayed there all night. The only thing, when you get to be our age, is you couldn’t get up to go to the men’s room. When the game ended that was my first thought — it is time to go find a bathroom.”

Mike Tranghese, Big East commissioner: “It worked out perfectly because if you ever had that game in the first game, then people would have just been exhausted. They would’ve been drained, but fortunately it was the second game and everyone knew they were going to be back shortly.”

With 2:59 remaining, UConn forward Stanley Robinson fouled out. He had 28 points and 14 rebounds.

Sellers: “They said he fouled Rautins. I don’t think he touched Rautins. When I went back and looked at the film I didn’t think he touched him either. I think it was a bad call.”

Boeheim: “Andy Rautins hit a 3 with 10 seconds to go down three — that kept us alive and was a tough 3. That was a huge shot that game.”

Price: “I was gassed, so I had to settle for a long 3. I felt like I didn’t have enough to get through the zone, so I’m going to have to settle for a 3.”

Jeff Adrien, Connecticut forward: “It’s kind of unexpected. I got a rebound and I kind of just threw it up. It’s a tough shot.”

Thomas: “When the third overtime ended I remember just throwing up my hands on the bench and going, ‘When is this game going to be over?’ This is unreal. I’m sitting on the bench, I have to pee and I’m just sitting there for hours.”


Fourth overtime

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Price: “It was the fourth overtime. Me and Flynn came together at the scorers’ table. Everybody’s putting their sneakers on the sticky tape, whatever it’s called. Before the overtime’s about to start we’re dusting off our shoes and you can see that both of the teams were just looking gassed and me and Flynn said to each other, ‘Somebody has to win this game.’ And we laughed about it — even through the competition, competing as hard as we were, somebody had to win that game because someone had to play that night.”

Thomas: “Kip looks down and he says, ‘JT, be ready.’ I’m looking around thinking, ‘Yeah, right.’ But then I’m looking at the fouls, how much time and how the game is going and I really might have to start getting mentally ready to play here. And then Coach (Mike) Hopkins looks down and says, ‘Be ready.’ And Jake and Brandon Reese, we’re all looking around like, ‘Oh, shoot. We might all have to play.’”

With 1:09 remaining and Syracuse trailing by two, Thabeet fouled out of the game. Adrien took over at center and Gavin Edwards entered at power forward for Connecticut.

Bilas: “I thought Syracuse was going to win once Thabeet fouled out. Once that rim protector was gone, Syracuse just went right after the basket. They immediately attacked the rim.”

Presutti: “When Thabeet fouled out, I felt great because he scared the crap out of us.”

Cahill: “There was a series of really good blocked shots in the last 10 seconds that really kind of stood out because you’re holding the whistle to make sure it’s a good play and you go, ‘OK, he got ball there. And that looks like a good block.’ You try to make sure that whatever foul you call at that particular point is a good foul.”

With 16 seconds left, Harris had a chance to win the game for the Orange with several chances at the rim.

McDonough: “Paul had a couple that were close to the rim that didn’t go in.”

Boeheim, after the game: “Paul was just, I can’t describe how awful he was for most of the part of that game.”

Presutti: “Who are we to judge, but we were a little frustrated because he missed that layup. We were like, ‘Oh, come on, Paul!’”


Fifth overtime

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With 2:01 remaining and Syracuse trailing 106-104, Devendorf committed his fifth personal foul.

Thomas: “Automatically I stand up and I take off my jump suit, but Coach isn’t saying anything to me yet, so I sit right back down wondering what’s going to happen.”

Onuaku: “JT played well in practice all the time, so we knew that he was able to go out there and be relaxed and get the job done.”

Thomas: “Jonny goes over to Coach and Jonny says, ‘Make sure you put in JT.’ And Coach goes, ‘Yeah, I know, I know.’”

Presutti: “He was a laid-back kid from California. For him, it was just kind of his moment.”

Thomas: “Coach Boeheim tells me don’t be scared, but at that moment I wasn’t. I wasn’t scared at all, I wasn’t nervous, I was honestly just more excited than anything, which is evident by the first rebound. The ball came off the rim, I should have grabbed the rebound and I fumbled it out of bounds.”

Wellman: “Justin had some swagger to him. He had a little bit of cockiness to him.”

The only person who was scared was Boeheim when he put me in.
Justin Thomas, Syracuse walk-on guard

Boeheim: “We were down to everybody and they were down to everybody. They were down to walk-ons and so were we.”

Thomas: “They didn’t want A.J. to pick up his last foul, so they put him on me and I remember A.J. Price saying, ‘Oh, look at this. He doesn’t want to play. He doesn’t want the ball.’ And I told him, ‘Oh, I’m out here for the win.’ And we both started laughing. We were talking a little bit.”

At the end of this overtime, a situation repeated itself. Price threw up a 3 and Adrien gathered the offensive rebound. He got an open look from the left baseline, but once again, he couldn’t get the putback to go.

Price: “Both times when Jeff gets the offensive rebound, that’s what we’re looking for. I’m thinking he’s going to finish and he just missed two shots that I’m sure he felt he should’ve made.”

Adrien: “For that to happen twice? I didn’t expect that either. It was just one of those things where the basketball gods wanted more basketball.”


Sixth overtime

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Ogle: “When the fifth overtime ended, Jonny Flynn was near me on the court and he just, almost like he was pulled by gravity, started backpedaling toward the press table and took a seat on top of the press table and just caught his breath, shook his head and looked over at us and said, ‘This is crazy.’”

Wellman: “I literally didn’t think he was going to be able to walk over to the huddle. I kind of put my arm around him and was kind of ready to carry him if I needed to. I could just feel the weight and exhaustion he had.”

Bilas: “‘Overtime No. 6.’ Just as simple as that sounds. With the way (McDonough) said it, with the incredible timing and his voice — that stayed in my head. Sean’s so good in the moment. You hate to say you’re proud of something you didn’t say, but I think both Bill and I were really proud we kept our traps shut and let him do his job.”

Flynn, after the game: “I just wanted to get the game over with. For a second, I’m thinking, ‘Lord, let’s just get this game over, go home. Whoever wins, wins the game. It was getting near that time.’”

Harris, after the game: “We lost every tip. Jonny Flynn said we needed to get one tip.”

Rautins’ 3, just 4 seconds into the sixth overtime, gave Syracuse its first lead of any overtime period and gave the Orange the lead for good.

Wellman: “That’s the first time I thought, ‘We’re definitely going to win this game.’”

Price: “I remember Rautins making big 3s. They made plays, so I had to tip my hat to them. I don’t feel like we lost the game, I feel like they did a great play.”

Flynn iced the game for SU with four free throws in the final overtime. He went 16-for-16 from the line in the game.

Wellman: “He just kept getting to the free-throw line. It was like every time you turned around he was shooting another free throw…The kid was unbelievable. I think he played over 60 minutes and he was such a battler.”

Boeheim: “I’m sure he was tired, but he made his free throws. He really did. He made them all. They were all must-makes — he had to make them — and he made them.”


Final: Syracuse 127, Connecticut 117.

1:22 a.m.
Time of game: 3 hours, 46 minutes.

Thomas: “I threw up my hands. I found Jonny and me and Jonny just hugged. We had a big grin on our faces and he didn’t collapse, but he was just leaning on me because he was so exhausted. But he still had that super-giant smile on his face because we both knew it was a special, special game.”

When the game was over, Bill Raftery and Sean McDonough and Jay Bilas were standing, applauding the two teams for their effort. I kind of realized then that this was some type of game that would really be etched in people’s memory.
Referee John Cahill

McDonough: “Regardless of which team won, we would’ve done that. Those guys played so many minutes and one clutch performance after another.”

Sellers: “I just remember being exhausted as an assistant coach. Coach Calhoun is up coaching, the players are playing. I’m thinking these guys must be gassed.”

Calhoun: “When I walked off the court — I always consider myself to be in pretty good shape — I was exhausted immediately.”

Boeheim: “It’s just a sense of relief, really. It was 1:15 or something in the morning. It was a long night and we had to struggle in the first five overtimes just to get to the next overtime, so it was really a struggle just to get there and to win. It was a good feeling because you knew it was an epic already, so it was good to win.”

Sellers: “We had a great year that year, so we were worried because if we lost in the first round we might not get a No. 1 seed.”

Calhoun, after the game: “It’s a loss. I’m sure in the summertime I’ll look back and say what a historic battle it was. Right now, it’s a loss. There’s no other way.”

Sellers: “Coach (George) Blaney said, ‘Guys, you’re not going to appreciate what this game was like or what it meant, but people are going to talk about this for years and years to come. I know you lost and you’re mad about that, but you were part of history.’”

Thabeet: “It’s a shame that we ended up losing, but we was glad to be a part of that.”

Thomas: “Us walk-ons, normally we don’t get interviewed for anything, so we just leave and these people were crowding me with their microphones. I was like, ‘Wow. This is definitely a change here.’ It was awesome, though.”

Bilas: “After the teams left the floor, everybody left. We’d gone underneath to the tunnel and after we come back out the place was totally empty and the only person we saw was Jim Boeheim came out the other tunnel. And he comes out and he sees the three of us, and then he kind of shrugs his shoulders and he goes, ‘Are we in the tournament now?’”

Tranghese: “My friends from Providence were throwing a surprise retirement party for me that night, which I did not know about and they finally had to tell me because of what was going on, so when the game ended, my wife Susan and I left the Garden, jumped in a cab and went to a restaurant. We were there until 5 or 5:30 in the morning.”

Presutti: “We got back so late and right down the street was a 24-hour McDonald’s. I got McDonald’s. Andy wasn’t a big fast food guy, but I think he partook in some McDonald’s, as well. It was the only place really open.”

I thought I'd fall asleep and I didn't sleep for quite a while. I kept seeing foul shots and jump shots go in.
Jim Calhoun, Connecticut's head coach

Price: “I was so wound up that I could not sleep. I didn’t sleep until about 5-5:30, just from being on B-12 and stuff.”

Thomas: “I checked my Facebook the next morning and people were writing me telling me that I was an inspiration. I couldn’t believe what some of the people were writing me, people I’d never heard of.”

McDonough: “We went for a beer with a couple of people on our crew some place down the street, so I probably got back to the hotel at about 3 o’clock and I couldn’t fall asleep. You think you’d be exhausted. Your mind’s still racing through everything that happened.”

Ogle: “It was around 6 a.m. and it was so late that when we were leaving the Garden, at the security guard’s desk, next day’s newspaper had already been delivered. I hailed a cab and took a taxi home and I actually had the taxi let me out at a bodega in my neighborhood instead of my apartment because I felt like I had to have a beer after all that.”

Presutti: “We were all kind of on the same floor at the Eastside Marriott. I just remember walking in the halls and stopping at Jonny’s room and he’s already got his McDonald’s. I just remember being at the hotel and it kind of sinking in how great the game was. It was being talked about on every sports program.”

Wellman: “Mike Hopkins and I were doing the scouting report (for West Virginia at 9 p.m. that day) and I go to the window for whatever reason and I look across and I see one light on. ‘Who in the world is awake right now?’ And I look across and who do I see but Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris. We’re waving at each other. I’m trying to signal him to go to bed, get some rest.”

Syracuse tipped off against West Virginia less than 20 hours later with a chance to face Louisville in the Big East championship on the line. The No. 5 Cardinals had just beaten No. 10 Villanova.

Thomas: “We were in the tunnel. Louisville had just played and they won and they’re coming down the hall. Rick Pitino actually taps me and goes, ‘Hey, Justin. That was a big rebound. Way to block out and be ready to play.’”

Boeheim: “We played pretty well and ironically, it comes down and goes into overtime again. We played almost three games in two days.”

Onuaku: “I think that’s why we didn’t win the championship. We had Louisville, and then at halftime I feel like we died from having all those games that quick and playing all them overtimes.”

The Orange outlasted the Mountaineers 74-69. This one only took one overtime and SU advanced to the Big East title game. SU hung with the Cardinals in the first half, but ultimately LU pulled away for a 76-66 win and claimed the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse earned a No. 3 seed.

Tranghese: “In a lot of ways the championship game was anticlimactic.”

Thomas: “I got to play in the championship game against Louisville a little bit because Jonny was exhausted.”

When the Big East tournament ended and Syracuse and Connecticut had time off before the NCAA Tournament, the Orange and Huskies finally had a chance to reflect.

Price: “I didn’t really appreciate the game until probably about a week later when it was still on ESPN.”

Onuaku: “That little time we have off before the Tournament, everyone’s talking about it.”

Price: “I think that’s a one-time thing. It was a great, classic game between what was back then the two Big East rivals. You had so many storylines and matchups.”

Tranghese: “You sat there and said you’re having another great game. And then you just sat there. I don’t even know how to describe it. It was one of those magical games that you’re not even certain you can look back and understand what it was all about.”