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A fabulous day in NYC for Melo.
Syracuse was the only team that managed to beat St. John's in Madison Square Garden this season. Not even Pittsburgh could manage that. So again they were tested in the quarterfinal round of the BET. And once again Syracuse managed to come up victorious. Sadly DJ Kennedy was a casualty of the war. We at Orange::44 wish him a speedy recovery. But we are also glad the Orange survive and advance, beating St. John's 79 to 73.
This game was back and forth the entire time. Syracuse actually had a nine point lead early in the first half, their largest lead of the game. But St. John's roared back and took the lead and kept it for the last nine minutes of the first, taking a five point lead to the locker room at the half. It only took two minutes for Syracuse to take the lead back, thanks to Brandon Triche playing lights out when he returned to the floor. Syracuse never relinquished the lead. The game was tied with 2:25 to go, and Syracuse made play after play and finally sealed the game.
  • Brandon Triche finished as Syracuse' leading scorer. He finished with 22 points on 5-13, 4-10 shooting. He was also a perfect 8-8, giving him the all time consecutive free throw record for Syracuse with 37 and counting. The old record was 34. He also had six rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Unfortunately he had three turnovers in the first half and looked awful. He was night and day better in the second half, when most of his points came.
  • Kris Joseph was next in line with 12 points. he shot 4-9, 0-2 from the floor with 6-10 on free throws. He had a spectacular missed dunk, followed by a easy, two handed flush at one point. He also had a critical finger roll down the stretch to help seal the game. However, he did not play well the majority of this game.
  • Fab Melo had 12 points off the bench, shooting 5-5 from the floor and making 2-4 free throws. This was a career high. He also had four rebounds and two blocks. He played excellent offense, and both passed and defended well. Hopefully with the confidence boost and continued practice and playing time, he will continue to get even better as the year winds down.
  • Rick Jackson was one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with ten points. He also finished with four assists, three steals, and four blocks. Scoop Jardine also added ten points, shooting 4-11, 2-6 from the floor. He was out most of the first half with two fouls, having picked them up before the under 16 time out. He played without a brain for the first half essentially, having one turnover in which he simply just threw the ball over Triche's head. He recovered in the second half however, making assists, moving the ball, and hitting threes.
  • Dion Waiters played well in 12 minutes on the floor, hitting 3-5, 1-1 and earning eight points. CJ Fair also saw some good minutes, only scoring three points, but managing seven rebounds, all of them on the offensive end.
  • St. John's shot just better than Syracuse on the day. The Johnnies hit 47.4% from the floor, while Syracuse made 44.1% (44... drink!)
  • St. John's performed about as well from behind the arc as they usually do, making 4-14 (28.6%). Syracuse did better with 7-19 (36.8%). While they made several in the second half, the first half was a lot of chucking shots up unnecessarily.
  • Syracuse was also better on free throws, making 20-29 (69%) to St. John's 15-24 (62.5%).
  • Both teams had 34 rebounds. Syracuse led in assists, steals, and blocks. 18-13, 13-4, and 10-1 respectively. You can see how active the Syracuse defense was, earning 13 steals and 10 blocks. St. John's did not even come close to those numbers.
  • While Syracuse had a turnover fest in the first half, Syracuse actually ended up with less total than St. John's. They had 19 while Syracuse had 15.
  • Syracuse really had a bad first half. Nobody moved around on the floor without the ball and SU committed nine turnovers. That allowed St. John's to take the lead into the half. Syracuse came out of the gate shooting well, moving around on the floor, and limiting mistakes. They were night and day sharper on the floor in the second half.
  • Dwight Hardy is a very good player. He finished with 22 points as well.
  • This was Syracuse's 46 Big East Tournament win. That is second only to Georgetown who has 49.
Syracuse now moves on to play Connecticut in the first semifinal game at 7:00pm Friday night. This is the first time Syracuse and Connecticut will play in the BET since their 6 OT game in 2009. Connecticut has won three games in three days. This is their fourth. It has all the makings for another classic Big East Tournament game. Look for our usual preview later today around 1:00pm.

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