NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara were able to accomplish something that they couldn't do with Carmelo Anthony.
Warrick scored 20 points and McNamara added 16 as No. 18 Syracuse won its fourth Big East Conference championship and first since 1992 with a 68-59 victory over West Virginia.
While the trio of stars led the Orange to the national championship two years ago, they were taken out in the semifinals of the conference tournament by Connecticut.
"It means a lot. It's something I realize, coming back that we've never even made it to the championship and to win one is even bigger, especially for this class, me, Josh and Craig," Warrick said. "To go out our last year and get a Big East tournament is really important to us."
"Our seniors, Josh (Pace), Craig (Forth) and Hakim were ready from the beginning," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They were ready to go. There's just no better seniors than those guys. They just really have been good all the way through and I'm really happy for them to win this championship for those guys."
Warrick, who scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 10 rebounds in each tournament game, won tournament MVP honors to go along with his regular-season MVP. He shot 6-of-13 from the field and 8-of-11 from the line in this one and added 13 rebounds.
Pace scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and Terrence Roberts added eight for Syracuse, which had a 41-16 advantage in points in the paint and a 41-23 edge on the boards.
"They have so many great athletes to rebound and jump over people and that was the difference tonight," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "We had a couple of critical turnovers, but we only had seven turnovers and only one in the second half.
"Our kids gave every bit of effort that they could, but we were going to have to have one of those games where instead of going 9-for-29 from three, we were going to have to go 15-for-29. We didn't make those because we were guarded so well by Syracuse."
West Virginia, which shot 13-of-25 from the arc against Villanova in the semifinals, went 9-of-29 in this one. The Mountaineers shot 36 percent (19-of-53) overall.
"We are definitely more active, much more active and aggressive getting out to the shooters, attacking the defense and offensive glass," Warrick said. "When we're active like that in the zone, it's tough for teams to get their shots. When we're rebounding the way we did these last couple game, it's tough to beat us. We definitely got to keep that up going into the tournament."
Tyrone Sally scored 13 points and Mike Gansey and Joe Herber added 11 for West Virginia, but Kevin Pittsnogle, who scored 59 points in the first three games of the tourney, was held to two on 1-of-8 shooting.
"We just missed open shots that we had," Pittsnogle said. "We had a lot of looks that we did not hit that we were hitting in previous games. I had my open shots tonight that I missed. And there were shots I took that were not open that flat out were not good shots. I took bad shots at times."
Attempting to become the first team in tournament history to win four games in four days, the weary-legged Mountaineers, who had won just one game all time in this tournament prior to this season, stayed with the Orange for most of the first half.
A layup by Mike Gansey with 2:25 left pulled West Virginia within 31-29, but Syracuse closed on a 10-2 run for a 41-31 advantage at the break. Demetrius Nichols and Gerry McNamara knocked down consecutive 3-pointers during the burst.
The Orange opened the second half with a 10-2 spurt to forge a 51-33 lead three minutes in. McNamara made three free throws, Roberts had a pair of dunks and Warrick capped the run with a three-point play.
The Mountaineers, who looked like they were ready to head for the exits, responded with a 17-4 run to pull within 55-50 with eight minutes to play. But Syracuse wasn't about to let West Virginia become the first eighth seed to win the tournament.
The Orange got three free throws from Warrick, a twisting righthanded follow shot by Pace, a basket by Darryl Watkins and a 3-point dagger by McNamara with 90 seconds left for a 65-53 lead.
"In big situations like that, I try to make a play," McNamara said. "We got a good look. Usually I'm going to make that one, I'm glad that was the case."
The 3-pointer by McNamara was his 106th of the season, breaking the single-season record he set last season.
Syracuse improved to 37-22 all-time in the tournament and 4-8 in the finals, while Beilein fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Orange.