Joe D has the highlights and a post game recap with Assistant Coach Kevin Ollie.
By JIM O’CONNELL AP ‘Write My Essay‘ Basketball Writer
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 tournament, 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. The Orange swept the two regular season meetings, the second 71-69 at Connecticut. Syracuse has an 8-6 advantage in the teams’ Big East tournament meetings and have won six of the last seven, the only loss the six-overtime game.
The Orange are 4-0 against Connecticut in the quarterfinals. The game pitted two coaches who have had their share of struggles this season. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who went through the child-abuse charges and firing of longtime assistant Bernie Fine and recent allegations of former players in the program failing drug tests, won his 887th game, second on the all-time list.
Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun was suspended for the first three conference games for failure to maintain control of his program when it was charged with NCAA violations and he missed eight games with back problems, returning four games ago following spinal surgery. The Huskies won his first three games back, bringing him to 873 wins, sixth on the all-time list.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)