History is one game away from the No. 9-seeded Connecticut Huskies, who defeated the No. 4 Syracuse Orange, 76-71, in a 2011 Big East Tournament semifinal game at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies (No. 21 in the AP poll and No. 19 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) used an amazing 32-point, 12-rebound, 6-steal and 5-assist performance from junior guard Kemba Walker and an extra five minutes (overtime) to tie a Big East Tournament record of winning four games in four day to advance to the finals to play either No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish or No. 3 Louisville Cardinals. Notre Dame and Louisville play each other in Friday's nightcap on ESPN.
Walker scored four points in OT, made 13-of-14 from the free-throw line (4-of-4 in OT) and hit clutch shot after clutch shot for the Huskies (25-9), who will try for their recording tying seventh Big East Tournament title (Georgetown has seven) on Saturday night (9 p.m. on ESPN). UConn will also try to break the tournament record of winning four games in four days by winning five in five for the championship -- the Huskies have defeated DePaul, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and now SU (26-7), which won the 2006 championship in record-setting fashion.
However, UConn's improbable run almost ended after the Orange (No. 11 in both polls), who trailed by six points, 68-62, with 28 second remaining in regulation, tied the game at 68 with six second to go -- red-shirt senior Scoop Jardine nailed two 3-pointers in the closing seconds. The Huskies' last-second desperation play failed and the game headed into overtime.
From there, SU made just one field goal in OT, while UConn used four free-throws from Walker and two jumpers from freshman forward Jeremy Lamb to ice the contest.
Jardine and junior forward Kris Joseph each finished with a team-best 20 points for SU, which had a three-game winning streak against UConn and its current six-game winning streak snapped. Senior forward Rick Jackson added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore forward Alex Oriakhi chipped in with 15 points and 11 rebounds for UConn, which made 22-of-28 (78.6 percent) from the free throw line. Syracuse made just 5-of-11 (45.5) from the charity stripe, including going 1-for-4 in OT.