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Big East Tournament 2012: Cincinnati Upsets Syracuse 71-68 To Advance To The Championship

Dust off the dictionary of sports cliches. Only the finest chestnuts are needed to describe what the Cincinnati Bearcats did in New York City on Friday night. The fourth-seeded Bearcats knocked off the top-seeded Syracuse Orange by a final score of 71-68 in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

Syracuse had lost one game all season, prior to tonight. They were ranked second in the nation in both major polls. Their NCAA tournament invitation is safe, but their pride has to be a little wounded.

Cincinnati must have picked up a little steam from a double overtime win against Georgetown on Thursday. They certainly did not look at all exhausted from their previous game, jumping out to a commanding 22-8 lead halfway through the first.

Syracuse battled back in the second half, outscoring Cincinnati 45-36. Still the Bearcats beat back a late rally to hang on for the win.

Sean Kilpatrick led Cincinnati with 18 points, three rebounds and five assists. He hit six of nine three-pointers on the night. Yancey Gates also scored 18, and added a team-high seven rebounds.

Dion Waiters led Syracuse with 28 points. Fab Melo was the only other Orange player to score in double digits with 11.

Cincinnati advances next plays in the Big East championship game on Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. They will face the winner of the Notre Dame-Louisville game. View the complete Big East bracket here.

For more on the Cincinnati Bearcats, check out Down the Drive. For more on Syracuse, head to Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. For SB Nation Cleveland's coverage of the Big East Tournament, stay with this StoryStream. For complete coverage of Championship Week and Selection Sunday, visit SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.