Garden magic fizzles: St. John's loses to Syracuse, 79-73

It felt like the kind of game St. John's fans are almost coming to expect. The bigger, badder, more talented opponent; the Johnnies, in the Garden; the surprisingly effective team play and passing leading to the upset... but the St. John's Red Storm couldn't pull out the win, despite playing the Syracuse Orange neck-and-neck throughout the #4/#5 game in the Big East Championship.

St. John's loses 79-73, and waits for Selection Sunday to learn where they will go and who they will play in the NCAA Tournament, the sport's biggest non-professional stage. 

Despite the loss, and despite the injury - more on that below - there is a bit of hope after the Red Storm's loss. Or is that a loser's response?

The Johnnies played it close, even had grabbing the lead against the Syracuse Orange in the second half. But in the end, the Orange had too much - too much Brandon Triche (22 points), too much shoddy ballhandling, too much size, too much Rick Jackson (10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks), too much Fab Melo -

WTF

Fab Melo sighting?

And he was good?  

It's like seeing Santa Claus, but a tall, menacing Santa Claus. Did Melo look good because of St. John's shorter forwards on defense? The trapping style of the Johnnies?  Or can he actually play basketball well enough to leave on the court?

Whatever it is, the preseason Rookie of the Year and midseason Bust of the Year kicked in 12 points, 2 blocks, and 4 rebounds. He is alive, not just a tall Brazilian tale. More on the game and the injury, below the fold.

The 11 second-half turnovers did St. John's in. Not a good team of ballhandlers, playing without D.J. Kennedy, who can serve as a secondary ballhandler, really hurt the team. In his stead, Malik Stith got some time off the bench and made plays - this is the reason that Steve Lavin gave him so many minutes early, to get him ready for the big games.

But the fivesome of Justin Burrell, Justin Brownlee, Sean Evans, Paris Horne, and Dwight Hardy really made some noise in the box score:

points
off rebounds
def rebounds
assists
turnovers
Dwight Hardy
22
0
4
1
5
Sean Evans
11
6
6
0
3
Justin Burrell
9
4
1
2
1
Justin Brownlee
15
1
6
4
5
Paris Horne
11
1
2
3
2

But the noise of those turnovers, the failed attempts to split double teams and the like, was just too great.

Still, a lot to be heartened by. The Red Storm showed they could play against a zone, albeit one with man characteristics at times. Sean Evans showed a whole lot of game - a variant of how he played under Norm Roberts without the ridiculous over-dribbling that plagued him for three years and with a bit more agility. This will serve them well in the NCAAs...

But it would be nice if Kennedy's knee injury is something quickly fixable. He went down in a heap in the first half at the 14:25 mark and motioned for the trainers. Steve Lavin says in the postgame that Kennedy has a "serious knee injury" but no further details have come out.

This would be a painful blow for the Red Storm; I can't think of any player I would rather see ballin' in the NCAAs more than D.J. Kennedy. He's given his heart to the St. John's program, has tried to will the team to victory countless times, and is a fan favorite.

Fingers crossed for David J. Hope you make a quick recovery. WE ARE - ST. JOHN'S and WE ARE pulling for you.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker