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Orange still has juice to stop WVU

March 14, 2009|By JIM O'CONNELL

NEW YORK -- Syracuse went five more minutes instead of five more overtimes.

The 18th-ranked Orange, less than 24 hours after winning the second-longest Division I game ever, played just one extra period in a 74-69 victory over West Virginia on Friday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

Instead of people running for the history books to compare its win as it did after beating Connecticut 127-117 in six overtimes in quarterfinals, Syracuse had a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden shaking its heads when regulation ended in a tie.

The Orange (26-8) will face top-seeded and fifth-ranked Louisville in the championship game tonight. The Cardinals advanced to their first title game with a 69-55 victory over fourth-seeded and 10th-ranked Villanova.

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It will be Syracuse's 14th championship game and first since 2005 when Gerry McNamara led the Orange on a memorable four-game run to their fifth title.

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