Duke, Syracuse provide a thriller

In my 35 years of calling games for ESPN, Syracuse's 91-89 win over Duke on Saturday had to rank in my all-time top five.

This game had everything imaginable. You had two Hall of Fame coaches in Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim, who entered the game with a combined 1,914 career wins. There were two of the premier diaper dandies in America in Syracuse's Tyler Ennis and Duke's Jabari Parker. Ennis, the smooth point guard, is Fred Astaire in shorts the way he moves on the court. And Parker is a force inside, outside and on the glass.

There was Duke's 3-point attack -- the Blue Devils had hit 41.4 percent of their trifectas entering the showdown, tops in the ACC. There was Syracuse's zone defense, which had held eight straight opponents below 60 points prior to Saturday.

The atmosphere was electric as more than 35,000 fans helped set Syracuse and NCAA on-campus attendance records. It was like a heavyweight fight, and I was sweating as I called the contest with my buddy Dan Shulman.

There were so many dramatic moments. It looked like Syracuse had all the momentum when Parker and Amile Jefferson fouled out, forcing Duke to go with a smaller lineup. But when Rasheed Sulaimon hit a game-tying 3-pointer to send it to overtime, the fans at the Carrier Dome appeared to be in a state of shock.

Syracuse was able to take advantage of the Blue Devils' foul issues as C.J. Fair (28 points) and Jerami Grant (24 points, 12 rebounds) put up career-high scoring efforts.

Duke countered with a barrage of 3-pointers, hitting 15 of 36 from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils attempted the same number of two-point shots (16 of 36), showing how important the perimeter game was.

I said before the game that Duke had to make at least eight trifectas. Their long-range shooting kept them in the contest.

Syracuse had a decided edge on the foul line, making 26-of-32 compared to 12-of-17 for Duke. That was another big factor.

The fact that Syracuse's supporting cast provided a lift also helped the Orange. Rakeem Christmas had seven points and 10 rebounds, while Baye-Moussa Keita had six rebounds. Christmas was also involved in a crucial play: Rodney Hood went for a late dunk, and replays showed that Christmas had made contact, though no foul was called.

I love that Coach K and Boeheim are terrific family men who do so much for charity as well as great coaches. But on the sidelines, they are all about that big moment.

The bottom line was Syracuse remained unbeaten.

My friends, that was a classic. We only have to wait three weeks for the sequel, this time at Cameron Indoor Stadium. I cannot wait to call that one!