The Connecticut Huskies were hanging on for most of Wednesday's Big East Quarterfinal, but just like the first two meetings between the Conference rivals, it was Syracuse coming through with the big plays down the stretch for the 58-55 victory. The Orange advance to the Big East semifinal with the win, and snap UConn's 13 game postseason winning streak.
Dion Waiters led off the bench with 18 points, while James Southerland contributed with 10 points and 4 rebounds, all of his points scored in the final 8 minutes of the game.
"It felt really great out there," says Southerland, "especially being at home and all. I missed my first two shots. The first one I felt was good, the second one was kind of rushed. It's good my teammates are here for me, they're not giving up on me just because I missed two shots, and it feels good. It was a great atmosphere."
" He can make those shots, and he made them early in the year ," said Head Coach Jim Boeheim after the game", " He struggled a little bit during the week, but he's been making them in practice. He looked good the last game, made a big one, and we think he can make those shots and be a factor for us, a big factor for us the rest of the way. So it was good for him to get those looks ."
Senior Kris Joseph led all starters with 10 points, while fellow senior Scoop Jardine struggled with just 2 points and 1 assist.
" I got fouled a couple times ," says Joseph "a couple times I drove, and the defense conversion, I found Dion, I found Brandon, and those are the types of plays I need to make down the stretch. "
The top-seeded Orange improve to 31-1 on the season, winning their 11th straight game overall . They'll now face the either Georgetown or Cincinnati in the semifinals on Friday night.
Shabazz Napier led the Huskies with 15 points in a losing cause, while Andre Drummond contributed 14.
We??ll have more shortly at CNYCentral.com. John and Niko will have full coverage tonight at 5 and 6.