I have not been to a Syracuse basketball game all year. I have been way too busy. I took this week off to recharge and get ready for the rest of the semester. So when the opportunity arose to go the The Big East tournament, I just hand to jump at it. I figured I would catch a few games and hopefully I would see something special.
We (my boy Chris and fellow alum David Walker) had already witnessed the Seton Hall game. So we were hoping for another win against UCONN. The one thing about Madison Square Garden that I like is that there is not a bad seat in the entire place. We sat in section 347 and it was just crawling with UCONN fans. Our tickets are good for only 2 games which was the Pitt vs W. Virginia game and the SU vs. UCONN game, so there were other fans there.
When Pitt lost, most of the those fans left. In the section we were in, there were quite a few people talking shit about how this would an easy win for the Huskies. So, let me just say that when I go the game such as this, I have my game face on. I don’t pay attention to the haters from the other team. There were two West Virginia fans who sat in front of me. They stayed for the game because West Virginia gets the winner of this game. Let me just say that I drank no beer during this game and I am glad for it.
The game starts and I feel like I am back at the Carrier Dome. The chant of “Let’s go Orange” (clap, clap,clapclapclap) is deafening. We jump out to a lead first and the Huskies fans in my section know I am here. I will point out, that I don’t berate the other teams fans. But they know I bleed Orange! However, UCONN comes roaring back into this game and this is where I began really see how UCONN fans came out in full force. Orange chants are muffled by Huskies chants. At one point one of the Huskies fans behind me comments on how he cannot stand Eric Devendorf by shouting, “Go Home and Beat up your girlfriend.” Before we knew it, the first half was over. UCONN is up by 3.
During halftime I knew we had a very good shot. The Huskies didn’t look like they were into the game. Sure they were winning but they gave me the feeling that they were waiting for SU to make a run. The second half starts and at one point it seemed like SU was stuck at 40. I thought the Huskies were going to put us away but we came back and kept pushing. We saw a fight in the stand between some fans. It took about 10 security guards to stop it.
The last 2 minutes I never sat down. It was so close that I started biting my nails. I kept looking at this one big guy in our section who was a Huskies fan. He looked like he could be on steroids. He was a cheer leader for this section. He kept saying that the boys were going to pull it out. He looked like one of types that could go into a roid rage if they lose…more on him later. I look over to David and I say, “This game is so great, I can do overtime”. Then there is this white kid who was sitting on the bottom of our section who kept looking up at me since the 3 of us were the only one cheering the Orange. He gets up and sits next to me and says, “I can’t sit next to these UCONN people anymore.”
The Orange have the last possession with like :01 left and the ball is inbounded to Eric Devondorf, I will tell you that everyone in the Garden thought that shot was good. I hugged everyone with Orange on and pointed at anyone who thought we would not win this game (except for steroid dude). But then there was this long wait. We see people on the court and we realizing they are reviewing the play. I get a text from a co-worker telling me it is no good. Then we see the ref call it off… The place explodes with UCONN UCONN UCONN.
The West Virginia fan…who was sitting in front of me just smiles. My buddy Chris is like..”You want this to go to like double overtime, don’t you?” The guy replies…”I will be happy with 6 overtimes….”
The first 4 OTS were gut wrenching. UCONN took the lead from the start in every OT. They would jump out in front and the Orange would fight right back. It was like watching a prize fight. There were people who actually left! I am guessing that they could not hang. My voice is raw and my phone was dying. I was getting texts from friends and co-workers while updating my Facebook status. When the big men from the Huskies fouled out, the atmosphere changed. UCONN fans were pissed, they knew what we all knew, this was going to be the Johnny Flynn show.
The 5th OT flew by and the announcer says that we are now apart of the longest Big East Game ever! I never thought that I was going to see history in the making. But, we knew that the momentum was still on the Orange. In the 6th OT, we jump out in front and never look back. It is 1:30! We got to the Garden at 6:30. I was starving, sleep deprived, had no beer, and I even think an old woman gave me the finger. Oh…that steroid guy, he left with about 90 seconds left. He was pissed! Cursing how the Orange beat them AGAIN….127-117.
People are dancing in the aisles. When we finally leave the Garden and it is all Orange (and it is cold folks) and people are screaming “Go Cuse”. It was insane. The whole night was insane. I am not going to tonight’s game because tickets start at $95, and I am not sure I would want to even if I had it like that. After what I just witnessed, I think I saw the greatest SU Basketball game of all time.