In front of a sold out crowd - filled with Orange-clad partisans - Syracuse led by as much as 28 points in blowing out St. John's, 95-70.
The 95 points are a season high given up by the Red Storm. James Southerland and D`Angelo Harrison got into a small (mostly-verbal) altercation at the end. The Orange filled their highlight reel with all the sport dunks they could handle.
St. John's struggled in all facets of the game, allowing the Orange to get to almost 50% of their offensive rebounds, unable to stop the Syracuse jump shooting, and struggling to score inside the arc. D`Angelo Harrison kept the score more respectable, putting up 23 points on 5/11 shooting, adding 5 assists. Maurice Harkless had 15 with 8 rebounds, and Phil Greene matched his career-high from the last game at 14 with 4 assists - and only took 10 shots to do it. Amir Garrett added 9.
Syracuse set the tone early with the return of Fab Melo, who hit a new career high of 14 points, altering shots and providing the height that made life difficult for the Red Storm all game. The Johnnies found themselves taking contested jump shots against the 2-3 zone, and they aren't skilled enough yet for that to be a winning strategy.
Coming out of the half with a 41-27 lead, the Orange went on a running, dunking exhibition. Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair had 14 each; Kris Joseph and Michael Carter-Williams had 13. The Orange finished the game scoring 1.36 points per possession. The Red Storm were at a respectable 1 at the end, but were at .70 at the end of the first half - the level of offensive futility they had in the stretch of games before Villanova.
Syracuse improves to 23-1, 9-1 in the Big East, with a big matchup at home against Georgetown coming up next. St. John's falls to 10-13, 4-7 in the Big East. The Johnnies return to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday for a rematch against the Cincinnati Bearcats on ESPNU. That game will likely be much closer, much more competitive.
Transition defense. St. John's has to do a better job at defending in transition. In the first half - before the Red Storm sent all of their players to press in the Syracuse backcourt - the Johnnies let Orange shooters spot up on the wings, and they took shots with impunity. They only hit 7/21, but there were open shots. It was a fast-paced game - 43 possessions in the first half - and that may have played a factor.
Free throw shooting has to improve. The Red Storm did manage to get to the free throw line 28 times... but struggled to hit in the first half, going 10/18. Harkless and Harrison combined for 4/10 shooting from the FT line in that half.
Throw away the tape. This was a predictably bad matchup. St. John's has two scorers, who are still learning consistency, and when they struggle, there aren't many options to pick them up. This was known to be a bad matchup, and there aren't a lot of things to take away from today's game besides the already-known - the team needs more players, and the team needs more height.