Where our spout offs about sports are spot on!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big East Basketball Tournament Time: Over Time Times Six

I haven't been as big a fan of college basketball in recent years. The physicality and the rules changes have turned me off, but I got snared by the sextuple overtime (6 OT) basketball game last night: Connecticut and Syracuse in a marathon. I like that Syracuse plays zone and often extends it to a zone press. I didn't flip the TV on until about a minute into the first overtime, but I was hooked after that, staying up way passed my bed time; but it felt like watching a whole game. CT out rebounded Syracuse, especially on the offensive boards, at least in the OT's. But Syracuse stayed in it with some great free throw shooting from Paul Harris (13 of 14) and Jonny Flynn (a perfect 16 of 16) and Rautins' screened 3 pointers; that's a tough thing to do, come off a screen 20+ feet from the basket, catch the ball and shoot while still moving sideways; he had at least 3 of those that kept the Orange Men in the game. By the 5th OT CT had lost most of its tall timber and Paul Harris started taking over inside for Syracuse, although he missed numerous 2 foot and closer shots, including a wide open dunk when his exhausted legs wouldn't lift him 10 feet up to the rim -- he pulled his own rebound though and made the traditional lay-up off the glass.

For CT, AJ Price showed a lot of leadership, playing through 5 OTs with 4 fouls on him, not fouling out until CT was in desperation mode in the sixth overtime. But Price, CT's best free thrower, did miss one critical freebie at the end of one overtime (the 3rd? who can remember?) that would have put them up by 2 possessions, instead Rautins extended the game on the other end with another three. Nice to see some of the Syracuse benchwarmers get some minutes, Justin Thomas was doing jumping jacks in his zone defense while the rest of the 'cuse team were grabbing their shorts. They may not have much gas left to face West Virginia in the semi's tonight.

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