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Skidmore wins NCAA-record tying 7-OT marathon wire reports

It was only the third game of Joe Burke's coaching career at Skidmore College.

He'll never forget a second of it -- and that says something, because there were 4,500 of them.

Skidmore beat Southern Vermont on Tuesday night in the longest game in NCAA Division III men's basketball history -- a seven-overtime marathon, with the Thoroughbreds prevailing 128-123.

The game was tied at 59 after regulation, and they were just getting started.

"We always talk about toughness," Burke told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And tonight was just a battle of toughness. I told my kids, 'Enjoy it -- because you'll never be part of anything like it again.' They'll be telling their kids and grandkids about this."

It matched the longest NCAA men's game in any division, and was two overtimes longer than the previous record at the Division III level. Cincinnati beat Bradley on Dec. 21, 1981, in seven overtimes for the Division I mark; Black Hills beat Yankton in seven OTs on Feb. 18, 1956, for the Division II record.

Southern Vermont's Lance Spratling played all 75 minutes, one of several records the teams set.

"He's an incredible athlete," Burke said. "He still had some pop in his step at the end. Unbelievable."

And to think -- the game in Bennington, Vt., had more rebounds than fans. Only 142 people showed up, none knowing they would see history.

The teams combined for 166 rebounds, 42 more than in any other Division III game in history and an NCAA all-division record -- besting the 152 set by Indiana and Michigan in 1961.

"It's hard to describe," Burke said. "The kids, honestly, I know it's the old cliche that no one should lose a game like this, but these kids didn't quit on either side."

John Mantas scored 27 points for Skidmore, which got tying shots near the end of four different overtime periods.

Melvis Langyintuo tied it at 67 for the Thoroughbreds (1-1), of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with a free throw with 1 second left in the first overtime. Jeff Altimar's jumper with 10 seconds left in the third overtime knotted the score at 84, Terron Victoria's layup with 3 ticks remaining in the fourth overtime extended the game again, and Eli Johnston hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the sixth extra session to pull Skidmore into a 112-all tie.

Those were Johnston's only points of the game.

"We had guys cramping up all over the place," Burke said.

Skidmore set another NCAA all-division record with 69 points after regulation; the previous Division III mark was 50 by Babson in 1999, which was also eclipsed by Southern Vermont's 64, and the previous all-division OT best was 60 by Division II's California, Pa., in 1989.

The teams' combined total of 133 points in overtime also is the most ever in a men's NCAA game.

Langyintuo had 18 points and 21 rebounds for Skidmore.

Taeshon Johnson scored 39 for Southern Vermont (3-1) and Spratling finished with 31. Ben Naaktgeboren had 28 rebounds for Southern Vermont.

"It's funny. The whole time, as overtime kept going, I just kept saying to them, 'Enjoy the moment,"' said Burke, who once played in a four-overtime high school championship game. "By the sixth overtime, they got sick of me saying it."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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