HARTFORD, Conn. -- Considering how many memorable moments the Connecticut-Syracuse men's basketball rivalry has provided over the last 33 years, it seemed only fitting that the final Big East Conference meeting between the fierce rivals made for compelling theater.
After hitting only one 3-pointer in the first 19:59, the Huskies drained six in the next 14 minutes to upset the sixth-ranked Syracuse, 66-58, on Wednesday night.
Ryan Boatright hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Huskies a 29-24 lead. Boatright had two 3-pointers to go with a couple of dunks and Omar Calhoun hit three 3-pointers.
In a first half featuring 11 lead changes, it was the unranked Huskies who grabbed the momentum heading into the locker room, as Calhoun's first basket of the game was a tie-breaking jumper with 39 seconds to go in the half, setting the stage for Boatright's buzzer- beater.
The Orange stormed out of the locker room following the halftime break by scoring the first four points forcing UConn coach Kevin Ollie into a timeout 53 seconds in.
Syracuse was not bothered, at least temporarily, by the play stoppage as C.J. Fair scored to give the Orange the 30-29 lead.
Then Boatright found room to operate from the perimeter and connected on two 3-pointers 36 seconds apart to give the Huskies a five-point lead.
Syracuse answered with James Southerland's 3-pointer and Michael Carter-Williams's jumper to tie the game before Shabazz Napier's layup allowed the Huskies to regain the lead.
However, Boatright's dunk elicited a thunderous roar from the crowd of 13,518 at the XL Center, but Southerland responded by scoring five straight points in 47 seconds to allow the Orange to regain the lead.
Niels Giffey put the Huskies back up with a 3-pointer and after a jumper by Fair retied the game, Calhoun hit a 3-pointer followed by a steal and another dunk by Boatright to put the Huskies up by five with 8:53 left.
With Calhoun heating up from the perimeter, the Huskies were able to extend the lead to nine points on two occasions. The lead finally hit double digits on Giffey's two free throws with 3:43 remaining.
But Syracuse made things interesting.
With the Huskies still up by 10, Carter-Williams and Jerami Grant had baskets eight seconds apart to make it a two-possession game, but Syracuse could not get any closer than six points until the final 30 seconds.
Boatright scored 17 points, Calhoun added 15 and Napier had 10 points and seven assists to lead UConn (17-6, 7-4).
Carter-Williams had 15 points for Syracuse (20-4, 8-3).
NOTES: UConn was playing without junior center Enosch Wolf, who has been suspended indefinitely after being accused of striking a female student early Monday morning. ... First-year UConn coach Kevin Ollie was quick to pull Tyler Olander after he picked up an early foul as he attempted to keep the Huskies' frontcourt players out of foul trouble. It worked for a while but Olander did pick up his second foul with 7:03 to go in the first half.