Connecticut didn’t need six overtimes. One was enough.
Kemba Walker had 33 points and 12 rebounds in another phenomenal performance and the 21st-ranked Huskies held off No. 11 Syracuse, 76-71, in overtime last night in the Big East tournament semifinals — two years after the teams played a six-OT game for the ages at Madison Square Garden.
The Huskies (25-9) improved to 10-3 in Big East semifinals with their fourth win in four days and will play 14th-ranked Louisville tonight, looking for their first tournament championship since 2004.
Scoop Jardine had 20 points for the Orange (26-7), including a pair of 3-pointers at the end of regulation that sent the game to overtime.
The first shot came with 21 seconds remaining and drew Syracuse within 68-65. After freshman Shabazz Napier missed a free throw with 15 seconds left, Jardine came down and hit a tying trey with 4.6 seconds left.
Alex Oriakhi had 15 points and 11 rebounds for UConn before fouling out with 51 seconds left in overtime. The Huskies led, 72-71, at that point, and freshman Jeremy Lamb calmly hit a pull-up floater from 15 feet moments later.
This time, Jardine couldn’t hit the deep shot, and Walker pulled down the rebound with 13 seconds left. He made both free throws to put the game away.
A few hours later in New York, Louisville (25-8) and fourth-ranked Notre Dame went to overtime as well, with the Cardinals pulling out an 83-77 victory.
Louisville’s Preston Knowles scored 20 points despite playing the final 10 minutes of regulation and overtime with four fouls. Ben Hansbrough struggled for the Irish (26-6), finishing 3 of 16 from the field for 16 points.
Atlantic 10 quarterfinals — No. 9 seed Dayton (21-12) eliminated top-seeded and 18th-ranked Xavier, 68-67, blowing a big lead in Atlantic City but pulling out the win on Luke Fabrizius’s two free throws with 5.8 seconds to play. The Musketeers (24-7) climbed out of a 17-point hole to lead by 1 with 23.9 seconds left . . . No. 12 seed Saint Joseph’s moved on by beating Duquesne, 93-90, in overtime. Carl Jones scored 28 points for the Hawks (11-21) . . . Temple (25-6), ranked 24th, had no trouble with La Salle, 96-76. Ramone Moore netted 23 points for the Owls . . . Sixth-seeded Rhode Island (19-13) fell to No. 3 seed Richmond, 55-45, matching its season low in points.
Big Ten quarterfinals — Jared Sullinger had 20 points and 18 rebounds as top-ranked Ohio State beat Northwestern, 67-61, in overtime in Indianapolis. The Buckeyes (30-2) scored 12 of their 15 points in OT from the foul line . . . Kalin Lucas scored a career-high 30 points to help Michigan State (19-13) upset No. 9 Purdue, 74-56, and greatly improve its chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament bid . . . Michigan (20-12) rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat Illinois, 60-55. The win was the 1,000th in the coaching career of the Wolverines’ John Beilein . . . Talor Battle (9 points) and Penn State (18-13) upset 13th-ranked Wisconsin, 36-33, as the teams broke the record for lowest combined score in the 14-year history of the tournament.
Big 12 semifinals — At Kansas City, Mo., Marcus and Markieff Morris personally outscored Colorado, 17-4, during one stretch of the first half, leading second-ranked Kansas (31-2) to a 90-83 triumph . . . Tenth-ranked Texas (27-6) placed four players in double figures while beating Texas A&M, 70-58, topped by Jordan Hamilton’s 17 points.
Mountain West semifinals — Jimmer Fredette poured in a school-record 52 points in No. 8 BYU’s 87-76 win over New Mexico in Las Vegas. The Cougars (30-3) had lost to the Lobos two straight times. Fredette was 22 of 37 from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range, and just 1 of 1 on free throws.
Pac-10 semifinals — Arizona (27-6), ranked 16th, reached the title game for the first time since 2005, getting 20 points from Derrick Williams in a 67-62 win over Southern Cal in Los Angeles.
Patriot final — Top-seeded Bucknell (25-8) earned its first trip to the NCAAs since 2006 by dispatching sixth-seeded Lafayette, 72-57, in Lewisburg, Pa. Mike Muscala scored 18 points.
SEC quarterfinals — In a matchup of teams jostling for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, Alabama (21-10) pulled out a 65-59 overtime win over Georgia in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide, who trailed the Bulldogs (21-11) by 14 with seven minutes to go, received 20 points and 13 boards from JaMychal Green . . . Kentucky (23-8), ranked 15th, held off Mississippi, 75-66, as Brandon Knight scored 5 of his 17 points from the foul line over the final 41 seconds . . . Kenny Boynton scored 22 points and 12th-ranked Florida (25-6) overcame a first-half scoring drought to beat Tennessee, 85-74 . . . John Jenkins returned from a foot injury to score 29 points and Vanderbilt (23-9) knocked out Mississippi State, 87-81.
WAC semifinals — No. 23-ranked Utah State (29-3) narrowly escaped San Jose State, 58-54, in Las Vegas behind Tai Wesley’s 14 points and 12 rebounds.
NCAA Div. 3 sectionals — Amherst (25-3) moved into the Elite Eight with a 78-74 win over Rhode Island College in Williamstown. The Jeffs’ Aaron Toomey had 22 points and teammate Conor Meehan scored 20 to go over 1,000 for his career . . . Host Williams (28-2) will face Amherst tonight after beating Virginia Wesleyan, 79-73. Troy Whittington led the Ephs with 28 points . . . A third NESCAC team, Middlebury (27-1), moved within a win of the Final Four by defeating host Rochester, 61-52.