By Mark A. Hodgkin
Twitter - @Mark_Hodgkin
On the heels a thrilling five-overtime game between Louisville and Notre Dame Saturday night, it is fitting that this week sees Syracuse and UConn battle (Wednesday, 7pm, ESPN). The Huskies and Orange battled for six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the 2009 BIG EAST Championship in one of the most iconic games in BIG EAST history.
Started on March 12, 2009 at Madison Square Garden, the 127-117 Orange win went into the record books as the longest NCAA Division I game in the shot clock era. The game would finally end at 1:22am – the latest a game (at any level) had ended at MSG.
The game’s box score tells an amazing story – Jonny Flynn logged 67 minutes, eight players fouled out, a combined score of 244 points shattered the previous record. In fact, the statistics software used at the championship was not even built to accommodate a six overtime game.
And one of the more overlooked aspects of the game was that Syracuse was able to survive another overtime game the following night, beating West Virginia 75-69 in the semifinals before running out of gas against Louisville in the final.
Shortly after the game, the BIG EAST Conference built a microsite to serve as a living tribute to the game and can still be visited at www.sixovertimes.com.
Tonight’s contest features a Syracuse team looking to stay a game ahead of Georgetown and Marquette in the BIG EAST standings with just under a month left in the regular season. Connecticut is 6-4 in BIG EAST play but ineligible for the postseason.
It will be the 70th meeting between the schools in 33 years as BIG EAST rivals. Syracuse holds a 37-32 all-time advantage and is 8-6 against the Huskies in the BIG EAST Championship. The Huskies were able to get a bit of revenge in 2011 as they defeated top-seeded Syracuse in the semifinals en route to their improbable BIG EAST and National Championships. In all, the Orange have won six of the last seven meetings.
The game can also be seen on WatchESPN online and on mobile apps.