Recap: Syracuse vs. Connecticut
New York, NY (Sports Network) - James Southerland scored 10 of Syracuse's final 15 points to help the second-ranked Orange rally for a 58-55 victory over Connecticut to end the Huskies' dream of a second straight Big East Tournament championship.
Dion Waiters finished with 18 points to lead the top-seeded Orange (31-1), who have won 11 in a row since their lone loss of the season against Notre Dame in January. Syracuse will face Cincinnati in Friday's semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
"I'm glad that we were able to get a win," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "We haven't played that many games [just one in the past 11 days] and we need to play again. [Friday's] game will help us, but this was a tremendous comeback. This team has been very good down the stretch all year, and that was the case today."
Shabazz Napier scored 15 points and Andre Drummond added 14 with 10 rebounds for UConn (20-13), which was trying to duplicate last year's historic Big East run. The Huskies won five games in five days last March to capture their seventh Big East tourney crown, and had beaten DePaul and West Virginia to start this year's festivities.
Connecticut parlayed last year's Big East championship into a national title and had a 13-game postseason winning streak halted with Thursday's loss.
Jeremy Lamb, UConn's leading scorer, finished with 10 points, including just two in the second half.
"Fatigue is the most over written about thing in sports," said UConn head coach Jim Calhoun when asked if his team was tired from playing the first two days. "Mental fatigue, though, I felt we had a little bit at the end. We came up a little bit short."
Connecticut led by as many as eight in the second half, but the Orange pulled ahead with an 8-0 run. Southerland ignited it with a three-pointer and Waiters' jumper gave Syracuse a 48-47 edge before Southerland again connected from beyond the arc with just under five minutes to play for a 51-47 lead.
After Drummond's dunk ended UConn's seven-minute field goal drought, Kris Joseph hit a runner for his first basket of the game and Southerland followed a Tyler Olander miss with a long jumper to give Syracuse a 55-49 advantage with just over a minute to play.
Joseph made one free throw with 26.2 seconds left for a seven-point lead, but UConn got four quick points. Napier was fouled as he scored on a drive to the hoop, but missed the ensuing free throw. Drummond, though, was able to grab the rebound and score to make it a three-point game.
Southerland then calmly sank two from the line and Drummond countered with a score inside, but it came with only four seconds left as the Orange defended the three-point arc. Syracuse had trouble inbounding the ball, but finally did so and ran out the remaining time.
The Orange beat UConn for the third time this season and ended a string of two straight losses by the top seed in the Big East quarterfinals. Connecticut topped Pittsburgh last year and Georgetown knocked off Syracuse in 2010.
Syracuse opened some breathing room early with eight straight points to grab a 20-12 edge. Waiters fueled the burst with six points, but soon after picked up his second foul and went to the bench. UConn stormed back with a 12-5 spurt and pulled within 25-24 on a Lamb three-pointer with just over 90 seconds left in the first half.
A Brandon Triche dunk off a Joseph miss gave the Orange a three-point margin heading to the break.
Connecticut came out of the locker room with a 15-4 run. Drummond's slam off a missed three-point attempt by Napier gave the Huskies a 39-31 advantage with 14 minutes remaining. The Orange responded a few moments later with a string of seven in a row to pull within 42-41.
"When they had the lead, they were in great position, and I thought our guys just dug down on defense, played a little bit harder and got going on offense," Boeheim noted. "It was a great comeback."Game Notes
Joseph finished with 10 points and six rebounds, while Triche added seven points and a team-high seven boards...UConn held a 46-34 rebounding advantage, including an 18-8 margin on the offensive glass...Syracuse is the top seed in the tournament for the sixth time, but has never won the title from that spot...UConn beat Syracuse, 76-71, in overtime in last year's Big East semifinals...Syracuse is 8-6 all-time against Connecticut in the Big East Tournament...Syracuse posted an 85-67 win over UConn at the Carrier Dome in mid-February and earned a 71-69 triumph at Gampel Pavilion two weeks later. Calhoun did not coach either game because of a back condition rectified by surgery.