West Virginia vs Syracuse

Syracuse heads into OT again, downs West Virginia

CBSSports.com wire reports
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Big East bracket

NEW YORK -- Jonny Flynn was sitting in front of his locker, looking as though he could play another few overtimes. After all, he and his Syracuse teammates have plenty of experience playing college basketball games that go beyond the traditional 40 minutes.

 Bleacher Report: Syracuse still has energy

With his headband still on and his smile still broad, Flynn was explaining how being tired wasn't a factor as No. 18 Syracuse followed its epic six-overtime win less than 24 hours later with a 74-69 victory over West Virginia in the Big East tournament semifinals Friday night.

The win that sent the Orange on to the championship game went a paltry one overtime. Come on, five more minutes for a big win after needing 30 more to beat Connecticut 127-117 in the quarterfinals on Thursday was no big deal.

"You have to overcome that," Flynn, who played 67 minutes Thursday and all 45 on Friday, said of feeling tired. "There's a lot of obstacles you have to overcome and fatigue is one of them. (Assistant) Coach Mike Hopkins tells us if you say you're not tired enough times, your body is going to start believing that. You have to be mentally tough out there and believe you're not tired and I think that's we did tonight and we won a tough game."

Instead of people running for the history books for games to compare its six-overtime win over No. 3 Connecticut to, Syracuse had a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden shaking its heads when regulation ended in a tie.

"I thought we looked good for a long time tonight," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team improved to 5-0 in overtime this season. "I know Jonny was feeling it the most. I didn't really see it, the other guys, didn't play quite as many minutes maybe, but I didn't see it. At the end I think both teams were probably a little tired."

Flynn will get to test his theory of beating feeling tired again Saturday.

The Orange (26-8) will face top-seeded and fifth-ranked Louisville in the championship game. The Cardinals advanced to their first title game with a 69-55 victory over fourth-seeded and 10th-ranked Villanova.

It will be Syracuse's 14th championship game and first since 2006 when it beat Pittsburgh for its fifth title. A year earlier, Gerry McNamara led the Orange on a memorable four-game run to a championship many thought would never be matched for drama.

They were wrong.

Eric Devendorf had 23 points, one more than he had in 61 minutes in the classic win over Connecticut, for sixth-seeded Syracuse. Flynn, who had 34 points and 11 assists in 67 minutes in Thursday's win over the third-seeded Huskies, had 15 points and nine assists Friday.

"I think he's the most talented point guard in the country," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said of Flynn. "He's a great, great athlete. He has great speed. He's as fast with the ball as anybody in transition. ... He's a great, great player."

Freshman Devin Ebanks, who sent the game into overtime with two free throws with 4.8 seconds left in regulation, had 22 points and Da'Sean Butler added 21 for the seventh-seeded Mountaineers (23-11).

"We'll bounce back, we've bounced back all year," Huggins said. "We're very resilient, but we're a little dejected right now."

West Virginia was trying to get to its second title game, the other being a 68-59 loss to McNamara and his band of overachieving teammates in 2005.

This Syracuse team may be better than the one four years ago, but it's certainly making a run at matching it for drama.

"This has to be even crazier. That was crazy, too, when Gerry did that and made a shot or play to win every game that was unbelievable," Devendorf said. "When you play six overtimes, that's unbelievable. It's mentally draining and for us to come out tonight against a great West Virginia team and go to another overtime and come out on the winning side is just cool for our team."

Unlike the epic game, when Syracuse took its only lead after regulation at the start of the sixth overtime, the Orange took the lead right away in the only one Friday when Devendorf found Paul Harris for a layup 35 seconds in to make it 65-63. Flynn scored on a drive and added two free throws to make it 69-63, but West Virginia was back within one when Ebanks made two free throws with 20 seconds left.

Harris made the first of two free throws after being fouled on the inbounds. Darryl Bryant's 3-point attempt was partially blocked by Devendorf, who went down for a layup with 7.5 seconds left that ended any thoughts of a second straight marathon.

Devendorf almost ended Thursday's game in regulation when he hit a shot from about 30 feet as time ran out. An official review showed it came too late.

Against West Virginia, Devendorf's long-range heroics came a lot sooner -- and counted. Bryant hit a 3 with 2 seconds left in the half to bring the Mountaineers within 33-29, but Devendorf took the inbounds pass, set himself and drained a 50-footer that he got off in time.

"That was just luck. I threw it up and it went in," Devendorf said of the halftime buzzer beater. "We're on a seven-game winning streak, on a real emotional roller coaster going into the NCAA tournament. It will say a lot about our team if we come out and win tomorrow."

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Jonny Flynn logs 41 minutes and dishes out nine assists to go with his 15 points. (Getty Images)
Jonny Flynn logs 41 minutes and dishes out nine assists to go with his 15 points. (Getty Images)

 
Scoreboard
West Virginia (23-11)2934669
Syracuse #18 (26-8) «36271174
WV:Devin Ebanks 22 Pts
WV:Alex Ruoff 6 Reb
WV:Alex Ruoff 7 Ast
SYR:E. Devendorf 23 Pts
SYR:K. Ongenaet 10 Reb
SYR:J. Flynn 9 Ast
 
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
SyracuseWest Virginia
SYR
E. Devendorf
WV
D. Ebanks
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
23232263
West Virginia Mountaineers
A. Ruoff, G453-90-06719
D. Butler, F439-170-061221
D. Ebanks, F437-108-863222
D. Bryant, G384-100-024310
W. Smith, F291-40-02252
K. Jones, F110-22-23102
C. Thoroughman, F101-11-23133
J. Flowers, F60-00-21000
J. Sowards, FDid Not Play
J. Mazzulla, GDid Not Play
J. West, GDid Not Play
C. Payne, GDid Not Play
W. Thomas, GDid Not Play
D. Proby, FDid Not Play
Totals 25-5311-1429191669
 47.2%78.6% 
Syracuse Orange
J. Flynn, G454-135-629015
E. Devendorf, G438-173-523423
R. Jackson, F283-80-26216
A. Onuaku, F233-70-05126
P. Harris, F202-42-44136
A. Rautins, G374-110-054312
K. Ongenaet, F293-40-010326
J. Presutti, GDid Not Play
W. Johnson, FDid Not Play
J. Thomas, GDid Not Play
S. Williams, CDid Not Play
S. Jardine, GDid Not Play
M. Jones, FDid Not Play
K. Drew, GDid Not Play
K. Joseph, FDid Not Play
B. Reese, GDid Not Play
Totals 27-6410-1734231574
 42.2%58.8% 
Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-L
Villanova16-229-5
Creighton14-427-8
Providence10-823-12
Xavier10-821-13
St. Johns10-820-13
Marquette9-917-15
Georgetown8-1018-15
Seton Hall6-1217-17
Butler4-1414-17
DePaul3-1512-21
 
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