NEW YORK -- Prior to the late-night shift at Madison Square Garden Thursday, UConn senior guard
"Punch in," the player-foreman said, extending his fist toward freshman point guard
Next in line was junior forward
Unknown to Price at the time was the fact that he would work six overtimes, score 33 points and clock 61 minutes before leaving the workplace. Unable to finish the job, he punched out after picking up his fifth foul in the final frame and exited with an unwanted, 127-117 Big East Championship quarterfinals loss on his time sheet. "Something, I don't know what it was, kept the door opened," said UConn coach
History, the unseen force operating inside The World's Most Famous Arena during the contest, insisted the game go on, and so it did. Growing increasingly stubborn as the night ticked into morning, the door finally gave way in the sixth overtime. In a final show of effort, a slow-dribbling Syracuse point guard
In winning the longest game ever played in Big East history, the Orange, as fatigued and famished by fouls as they were by the end, survived several game-ending attempts from the Huskies by shooting 23-of-26 from the line. Their reward? A West Virginia team that looked primed for a March run after beating second-seeded Pitt. Putting their timetable in perspective, Flynn said, "We've got to turn around for West Virginia, well, today."
Added Syracuse forward
At 12:46 Friday morning, the Madison Square Garden public address announcer said, "Ladies and gentleman, you are now presently watching the longest game in Big East tournament history", but it was the moments that will be remembered more than the 1:22 a.m. finish. For every Flynn-inspired flourish, including his blow-absorbing left-handed layup in the second overtime, there was a response from UConn freshman point guard
Not to be forgotten were the hard-hat post players, particularly those from Syracuse who allowed just two more points in the paint than the domineering UConn front line. "We attacked [
Workmanlike in their own way, the Orange will punch in at nine o'clock Friday night for their semifinal -- just over 19 hours after they walked off the Garden floor.