INTERVIEW WITH FAB MELO
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES SOUTHERLAND
NEW YORK (AP)—Dion Waiters had 18 points and James Southerland scored all 10 of his points in the final 8 minutes to lead No. 2 Syracuse to a 58-55 victory over Connecticut on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big East Championship Presented by American Eagle Outfitters, snapping the Huskies’ 13-game postseason winning streak.
The top-seeded Orange (31-1) won their 11th straight game overall and advanced to face the winner of the Georgetown-Cincinnati game in the semifinals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
But not before these rivals added another chapter to their Big East tournament history.
Shabazz Napier had 15 points and Andre Drummond added 14 for the ninth-seeded Huskies (20-13), who were trying to duplicate last year’s first-ever five-game run to the Big East tournament title that was followed by a six-game streak that brought the school its third national championship.
In the semifinals last year, Connecticut beat the Orange 76-71 in overtime. In the previous meeting in the tournament in 2009, Syracuse won 127-117 in a six-overtime quarterfinal.
This one ended in 40 minutes, but there once again was the chance at playing past the regulation buzzer.
The Huskies, who beat DePaul and West Virginia in the first two rounds, went 7 minutes without a field goal and during that span Syracuse was able to take the lead for good on a fallaway jumper by Waiters that made it 48-47 with 5:41 to play.
Southerland, who came into the game averaging 6.6 points, hit his second 3-pointer 16 seconds later to make it 51-47. Drummond converted an alley-oop pass from Napier with 2:32 left, the first time the Huskies were within three points.
The last time they were that close was 58-55 with 4.6 seconds left on a reverse by Drummond. After a timeout, the Orange were able to inbound the ball and run out the clock.
Neither team shot well—Connecticut 34.4 percent, Syracuse 38.5 percent— and the Huskies controlled the boards with a 46-34 advantage, 18-8 on the offensive end, with Drummond grabbing 10, seven offensive.
Syracuse had a big advantage at the free throw line, finishing 15 of 23 compared to the Huskies’ 5 of 10.