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There were seven ties and 18 lead changes in the first multiple-overtime game at the Big East tournament since Syracuse beat UConn 127-117 in six OTs in the 2009 quarterfinals.

Then, in the semifinals last year, Connecticut beat the Orange 76-71 in overtime.

Their rematch Thursday ended in 40 minutes, but it was pretty tense just the same.

The top-seeded Orange (31-1), expected to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament as well, won their 11th straight game overall. This was their first game after earning a double-bye into the quarterfinals.

“I hate sitting around all week, and it’s very difficult,” Boeheim said. “We haven’t played that many games and we need to play again. Tomorrow’s game will help us, but this was a tremendous comeback. This team has been very good down the stretch all year, and that was the case today.”

The game again pitted Boeheim against fellow coaching great Jim Calhoun _ though both have been dealing with off-the-court problems this season.

Boeheim, whose program has weathered the child sex-abuse allegations against fired associate head coach Bernie Fine and recent allegations of former players in the program failing drug tests, earned his 887th win, second on the career list.

“This was reported five years ago, and we’re waiting for them to finish the process,” Boeheim said when asked about the drug tests. “If things were bothering us we wouldn’t be 31-1. Nothing bothers us. We come ready to play. That’s what you should do in life. Everybody gets bothered. Everybody has problems. I’m much more concerned about my wife being mad at me than I am anything else, to tell you the truth.”

About 3 hours after Boeheim spoke at the news conference the NCAA released a statement clarifying the time frame.

“The NCAA enforcement staff received a self-report from Syracuse University on October 27, 2010,” the organization said.

Calhoun and the ninth-seeded Huskies (20-13), last year’s national champs, had their 13-game postseason winning streak snapped.

Pitino’s defensive-minded team has been perhaps the most impressive in the Big Apple so far. After a pair of losses last week knocked the seventh-seeded Cardinals (24-9) out of The Associated Press Top 25, they shut down Seton Hall in the second round Wednesday and then forced No. 2 seed Marquette (25-7) into 26 turnovers, one shy of the tournament record.

“They kept hounding us,” Golden Eagles star Darius Johnson-Odom said. “I think we had an idea that they were going to pressure us. I didn’t think it was going to be at a high level like that.”