Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows psychology. Before Friday’s semifinal he called Georgetown’s Otto Porter the greatest power forward in the history of the Big East, despite the fact that he coached Carmelo Anthony. Before Saturday’s final Big East championship for his Orangemen, Boeheim asserted that Louisville was the best team in the country, and then jumped out to a 35-20 lead. But then Peyton Siva became the only player besides Patrick Ewing to be MVP of the tournament twice.
Siva had not hit a basket yet when the score was 35-20, but then drove to the hoop at the end of the half score and make to 35-22 at halftime. From that point on he led Louisville to an incredible 78-61 come back win.
After Syracuse scored to start the half, Siva came back with a jumper to make it 37-24. He then turned up the heat and began harassing the Syracuse offense, and with 14:29 drive and kicked to Russ Smith, who drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to 45-37.
With 12:37 to play, he fired to Gorgui Dieng for a dunk and suddenly the once huge lead was down to 47-41. Less than two minutes later he kicked it to Dieng for a short jumper to cut it to 48-45.
Siva then stole the ball with 10:16 to play and was fouled, hitting both free throws to cut the Syracuse lead to 48-47. On the next trip he fired to Montrezl Harrell for a dunk to finally give Louisville a 49-48 lead, capping a 29-13 run starting with his first layup.
That was just the beginning, as Siva’s steal and harassing defense keyed the next 90 seconds during which Louisville scored nine more points ending with a Siva pass to Kevin Ware dunk to stretch the lead to 58-49 – capping a 38-14 run that started with Siva’s layup at the end of the half.