Kemba Walker stole the show, amassing 33 points, 12 rebounds, six steals and five assists as No. 9 seed Connecticut edged No. 4 seed Syracuse in overtime, 76-71, in the semifinals of the 2011 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Walker, who made 9-of-18 field goals and was 13-for-14 at the free throw line, will lead his team into the Big East Tournament title game against the winner of No. 2 seed Notre Dame and No. 3 seed Louisville on Saturday night at 9 p.m. EST.
Connecticut (25-9) held a 26-25 advantage entering halftime, but Syracuse (26-7) outfought the Huskies in the second half, outscoring UConn, 43-42, in the second half. The Huskies put up eight points in the extra period, four of which came from Walker, while holding the Orange to just two points.
Kris Joseph buried a jumper with 51 seconds left, cutting Syracuse's deficit to one point, 72-71. Jeremy Lamb answered with a jumper of his own for UConn, giving the Huskies a 74-71 advantage with 26 ticks left. Walker made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to give Connecticut a 76-71 lead, where it would stay.
Alex Oriakhi finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Lamb had 11 points for UConn, which made 26-of-65 shots (38.5%) and 22-of-28 free throws (78.6%). Tyler Olander added seven points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Huskies.
Joseph and Scoop Jardine each scored 20 points to pace Syracuse, which was held to 38.6% shooting. Rick Jackson had 12 points and eight rebounds, Dion Waiters totaled eight points and C.J. Fair added five points and eight boards for the Orange.
Tuesday, March 8 - First Round (ESPN2/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 16 DePaul, 97-71
No. 13 Rutgers def. No. 12 Seton Hall, 76-70
No. 15 USF def. No. 10 Villanova, 70-69
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 14 Providence, 87-66
Wednesday, March 9 - Second Round (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 8 Georgetown, 79-62
No. 5 St. John's def. No. 13 Rutgers, 65-63
No. 7 Cincinnati def. No. 15 USF, 87-61
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 6 West Virginia, 67-61
Thursday, March 10 - Quarterfinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 1 Pittsburgh, 76-74
No. 4 Syracuse def. No. 5 St. John's, 79-73
No. 2 Notre Dame def. No. 7 Cincinnati, 89-51
No. 3 Louisville def. No. 11 Marquette, 81-56
Friday, March 11 - Semifinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 4 Syracuse, 76-71 (OT)
No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 2 Notre Dame 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 12 - Championship (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 3Louisville/No. 2 Notre Dame winner 9 p.m.