Syracuse 74, West Virginia 69

  • March 14, 2009 12:20 AM
  • |
By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
March 13, 2009

Syracuse 74, West Virginia 69 (OT)
big east tournament - semifinals
madison square garden
new york, n.y.


West Virginia 29 34 6 69
Syracuse 36 27 11 74
Stat Comparison
FG Made-Att 25-53 27-64
FG Percentage 47.2% 42.2%
3P Made-Att 8-25 10-28
3P Percentage 32.0% 35.7%
FT Made-Att 11-14 10-17
FT Percentage 78.6% 58.8%
Rebounds 33 38
Turnovers 18 14
Top WVU Players
Top Scorer
Top Scoroer
Devin Ebanks
22 Points
Da'Sean Butler
21 Points

Syracuse is getting used to these overtime games. A day after its six-overtime epic against Connecticut, the 18th-ranked Orange needed another extra session to defeat seventh-seeded West Virginia, 74-69, Friday night in the Big East Tournament semifinals.

Guard Eric Devendorf was the Mountaineer killer, hitting for 23 points including a three-quarter-court heave ahead of the first half horn to give the Orange a 36-29 advantage at the break.

Syracuse took its biggest lead of the game at the start of the second half on a Harris dunk before West Virginia ran off 13 straight to take its biggest lead of the game at 42-38.

Andy Rautins ended West Virginia’s run with a 3 and Devendorf tied the game at 42 with one of two from the free throw line.

Leading 50-47 after a Cam Thoroughman steal and layup with 9:58 remaining, the Mountaineers hit a three-minute scoreless stretch when they looked like they were about to take over the game. Syracuse responded with five straight points from Rick Jackson and a 3 by Devendorf with 7:18 to go to give the Orange a 54-50 lead.

Trailing 60-55 with 4:01 remaining, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins chose not to wait for the television timeout and stopped play. After exchanging turnovers, Truck Bryant made a jumper to pull the Mountaineers to within three.

An Ebanks basket and a Wellington Smith layup reduced Syracuse’s lead to 62-61.

Jonny Flynn had an opportunity at the foul line to put the Orange up three, but he missed his second attempt. Ebanks was fouled by Jackson on the other end and the freshman coolly sank both free throws to send the game into overtime.

Syracuse scored the first six points of the overtime period, but missed free throws by Harris gave the Mountaineers another chance to tie it.

West Virginia trailed 71-69 after two Ebanks free throws and Harris was sent back to the line for the Orange. After making the first, Harris once again missed the second to keep it a one possession game.

Bryant’s game-tying 3-point try with 16 seconds left was partially deflected by Devendorf, who eventually got the basketball back for a driving layup to ice the game for the Orange.

Flynn scored 15 and Rautins added 12 for Syracuse, which defeated the Mountaineers by 13 in the Carrier Dome earlier this year.

After scoring 20 last night against Pitt, Ebanks had a season-high 22 for West Virginia. Butler scored 21 and Bryant finished with 10. Ruoff, who scored 25 and 18 points against Notre Dame and Pitt, managed to score 9 on three 3s against Syracuse.

The Orange beat West Virginia on the glass and out-shot the Mountaineers 10-8 from behind the 3-point arc. Eighteen turnovers also hurt West Virginia.

Syracuse (26-8) advances to the Big East championship game Saturday night where the Orange will face top-seeded Louisville, a 69-55 winner over Villanova in the first game.

West Virginia (23-11) will await its post-season destination when the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced Sunday evening.