When the Syracuse Orange and UConn Huskies tip off tonight, it’ll be the team’s first-ever regular season matchup at Madison Square Garden. Despite the stakes being a bit lower than previous meetings, it got us thinking about all the times SU beat the Huskies with something more on the line. Ends up they’ve done that 10 different times since 1957.
Also ends up that 10 was Trevor Cooney’s jersey number, which allows us to post the photo above with ease, despite the fact that last year’s Battle 4 Atlantis was a regular season game.
Walk with us down memory lane below...
1. 2009: Syracuse 127, UConn 117 (6OT)
As if any other game could go here. Arguably the greatest college basketball contest of all-time, the six overtime game is this rivalry in a nutshell. The cast of characters and personalities on display, the fan bases’ heated vitriol toward one another — all of it lent to fantastic theater and the most thrilling basketball game I’ve ever watched. It’s among my favorite SU-related memories, and it’s probably among yours too. The Syracuse win also knocked the Huskies out of the second round of the Big East Tournament.
2. 2006: Syracuse 86, UConn 84 (OT)
The heavily favored Huskies were supposed to make short work of the Orange at MSG, but Gerry McNamara would have none of it. While the SU guard’s heroics throughout that Big East Tournament run tend to bleed together into one larger story, this game is really what sealed the legend for good. As a high school senior about to mail in my acceptance to Syracuse, this ended any lingering questions I had about attending or not.
3. 2005: Syracuse 67, UConn 63
With a trip to the Big East Championship Game on the line, the two rivals squared off at MSG, and Syracuse triumphed yet again. Hakim Warrick led the way with 26 points as the Orange upset a favored UConn team. They’d proceed to win the conference title the following night.
4. 2012: Syracuse 58, UConn 55
Far from a pretty game, but a win nonetheless. Syracuse had just wrapped up the best regular season run in league history, going 17-1 and earning the Big East’s to seed. UConn had an 18-12 trash team, and yet, they managed to test SU mightily in this game. Dion Waiters and James Southerland’s shooting would make all the difference in the closing minutes, however, in the Orange win.
5. 1979: Syracuse 89, UConn 81
The Orangemen managed an NCAA Tournament berth despite losing to Georgetown in the ECAC Tournament, and their first foe was UConn. Ranked 10th in the nation, Syracuse was favored going in, and they outlasted the Huskies in Providence, R.I. Roosevelt Bouie scored 19 points in the win, and the seeds were planted for the rivalry to come when the Big East formed for the following season.
6. 1957: Syracuse 82, UConn 76
It was a smaller NCAA Tournament field back then, but on their way to the 1957 East Region Elite 8, Syracuse downed the Huskies’ chances in the first round. Gary Clark led the team with 26 points in the contest. SU would go on to beat Lafayette in the Sweet 16 before falling to North Carolina.
7. 1980: Syracuse 92, UConn 61
In the first Big East Tournament, Syracuse and UConn returned to the scene of the crime from 1979’s NCAA matchup: Providence. This time, the result would not be as close. The third-ranked Orangemen trounced the Huskies by 31 — still one of the largest margins of victory in the history of that league tournament.
8. 2001: Syracuse 86, UConn 75
Syracuse finished third in the Big East’s “West” division, and as a reward, they faced off with UConn in the first round of the league tournament. The 17th-ranked Orangemen made short work of the Huskies, as Preston Shumpert piled on 31 points en route to the easy win.
9. 2007: Syracuse 78, UConn 65
UConn was in the middle of a bad season, while Syracuse was busy getting robbed of an NCAA Tournament bid that year. But before that, the teams played in the first round of the Big East Tourney once again, and the Orange won big. Demetris Nichols poured on 28 points in a performance that was supposed to cement SU’s place in the postseason field (if it wasn’t solidified already). They’d end up losing a close one to Notre Dame the next night, which was sort of a death knell.
10. 1984: Syracuse 73, UConn 58
The only truly important part of this game is that it allowed SU to keep moving through the Big East Tournament to get to the championship game vs. Georgetown. SU mowed through a bad Huskies squad in the first round to collect the stress-free victory. Rafael Addison led Syracuse in scoring with 31 points — one of his highest outputs for a season in which he scored 17.7 per game.
Sure, Syracuse also lost some postseason matchups to UConn, but we’re certainly not talking about those here. Have other victories over the Huskies you’d like to talk about? Discuss below.