- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

SATURDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

With its third win in three days, Maryland would earn a spot in the ACC tournament final. 4 p.m., Chs. 20, 54

AN OVERDOSE OF OVERTIME

If you went to bed before 1:22 a.m. Friday, you missed the greatest game in Big East history — and maybe the greatest game ever in college basketball.

Syracuse’s six-overtime win against Connecticut at Madison Square Garden wasn’t merely a game, though. It was like an experiment cooked up by an evil scientist who loves college hoops. In terms of drama, it left everyone feeling as engorged as a kid who eats the entire candy basket on Halloween night.

After his team went in front for good in the sixth overtime — amazingly, its first lead since regulation — and UConn at last had no response, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim succinctly summed up the previous 3 hours, 46 minutes: “I’ve got no words.”

And how could he? The No. 18 Orange and No. 3 Huskies played almost as many minutes in extra time (30) as they did in regulation (40). By the third overtime, many of the players were visibly weary. Perhaps that’s why each session ended with an off-target heave, leaving the scoreboard a mirror image of itself.

Of course, all of this came within a whisker of not happening. Had Eric Devendorf released his nothing-but-net 3-pointer at the end of regulation a hair earlier, or had the referees interpreted the replay differently, Syracuse would have won 74-71.

Instead, to the chagrin of many in the stands and on the court, the night went on. And on. And on.

“I just wanted to get the game over with,” said Syracuse marathon man Jonny Flynn, who sat out only three minutes. “I was thinking, ‘Lord, just get this game over with. Whoever wins the game, let’s just get it over with.’ ”

TWT Five ” Numbers from the Syracuse-Connecticut game

1. 102 — Combined points scored in the six overtime sessions. The Orange had 56, the Huskies 46.

2. 8 — Players who fouled out. In all, there were 66 fouls in the game.

3. 16 — Blocked shots by UConn, led by Hasheem Thabeet’s six.

4. 6 — Players who finished with a double-double. Orange forward Paul Harris collected his in points (29) and offensive rebounds (10).

5. .326 — Combined shooting percentage in overtime by the two teams. Each squad made 15 field goals in the six extra sessions.

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