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Is this technically a road game now ESPN?
I think a lot of people thought this game was going to be closer. Syracuse playing in Madison Square Garden knew that, despite being a friendly away environment, St. John's is a team on the rise. But it turned out to be full of suspense for only a half. Syracuse cruised their way to a big victory.
The game started shaky for the Orange, allowing St. John's to jump out to a 15 to seven early lead on very cold shooting (starting the game 3-11) with a lot of bad jump shots. Then a big 10-0 run for Syracuse put them ahead by two points. St. John's would keep it close, to just a one point Orange lead before Syracuse went on another run to go into the half up 35 to 24. Syracuse finished the last nine minutes of the first half outscoring St. John's 28-9. The second half was all Syracuse, to which St. John's managed to get the lead down to nine before Syracuse truly opened the game up and earned their biggest lead of the game at 22 points. Syracuse and St. John's continued to trade blows, but Syracuse finished on top in a definitive victory. The Orange win in MSG 76 to 59.
Some other thoughts on the game:
  • Kris Joseph was again the leading scorer with 18 points. He shot 8-11 from the floor and also added five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. He played really well and he continues to have one of the best mid-range jump shots on the team and has great awareness on the court.
  • The scoring was really balanced with Joseph with 18, Brandon Triche with 15, Scoop Jardine with 14, and Rick Jackson with 12.
  • Speaking of Jackson, he had another double-double with his 12 points and ten rebounds. Most of the scoring and rebounds occurred in the second half, but he got there.
  • Triche had another impressive scoring night. He got 15 points on 6-11 shooting, 3-6 from long range. He started out terribly, but again settled into a great scoring night for the Orange.
  • Fab Melo played all of five minutes and for the first time did not start the second half. He needs to develop more. I'm honestly good if he sits for the rest of the season if he comes out better next year. He is still a major liability on both ends of the floor.
  • Dion Waiters was the most impressive freshman on the day. He finished with eight points in 16 minutes of work. He went 3-6 from the floor 2-4 from behind the arc.
  • CJ Fair was the biggest disappointment of the day. In 20 minutes he earned 2 points on 1-5 shooting. He was good on defense however and picked up three rebounds, two steals, and a block.
  • James Southerland continues to put in good minutes. He was exceptional on the defensive end, but did earn five points on 2-5 shooting, and three rebounds in 16 minutes.
  • Baye Moussa Keita scored no points, but played good defense in 12 minutes. He needs to rebound and box out better, and the kid cannot catch a ball to save his life.
  • Syracuse shot 57.4% from the floor (63% in the second half) and 9-20 (45%) from behind the arc. They also did a little better from the free throw line (5-8) but just barely.
  • Conversely, Syracuse held St. John's to just below their defensive average at 36.8%.
  • St. John's wisely only took 12 shots from three point range, and sadly only made two (16.7%).
  • Syracuse led in rebounds (32-26), assists (20-9), and blocks (5-2). Both teams had 11 steals.
  • Turnovers have not been a problem for Syracuse this season, but they did have 20 in this game. St. John's had 15.
  • Syracuse looked like Syracuse. We really didn't learn anything new from them. But with another loss to a top tier Big East team, St. John's obviously hasn't improved enough to hang with the league heavies yet.
  • As I predicted the crowd in MSG was about 50/50 in favor of the Orange or St. John's. That Red Storm half was awful quiet in the second half though.
  • Syracuse next takes on one loss Cincinnati at home in the Carrier Dome this Saturday at 12:00pm. Cincinnati's only loss is to Villanova. But they really have not played anyone good this season. Both teams will get a status check on Saturday.

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