By Jeff Benedict
DURHAM, N.C. — Let it be said. Let it be written. Syracuse versus Duke has emerged as the most intoxicating rivalry in college basketball. And there is nothing the NBA has to offer that comes remotely close in terms of entertainment value.
Syracuse’s 91-89 overtime victory over Duke at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 1 remains the best game of the season. But Duke’s 66-60 defeat of Syracuse last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium had unparalleled and unrelenting intensity. Few rematches live up to the hype. This one did.
Tickets on the street sold for as high as $2,000. Cameron Crazies covered in blue paint began screaming non-stop in the student section two hours before tip off. It was so loud by game time that you literally had to cup your hands and shout at the person next to you to be heard. Some media and security wore earplugs.
Emotions were so high that Jim Boeheim came unhinged and was escorted off the floor by police after being tossed with 10.4 seconds remaining. It marked the first time in his 38-year career that he’d been ejected from a regular season game.
Boeheim’s meltdown started after Syracuse forward C.J. Fair drove the baseline with 11 seconds to play and Duke leading by 2. Fair collided with Duke forward Rodney Hood before making an acrobatic layup that was waived off when an offensive foul was assessed by official Tony Greene.
Boeheim tried unsuccessfully to rip off his jacket before tearing onto the court and showering Greene with enough expletives to make Martin Scorsese proud.
The outburst got him a double technical that put the game out of reach. Duke’s Quinn Cook hit three-of-four free throws and the Blue Devils maintained possession. It was over. Top-ranked Syracuse fell to 25-2 and fifth-ranked Duke improved to 22-6.
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