You need to dig a little deep into the St. John’s record books to find the last time they played Syracuse in a non-Big East Conference game. That took place during the 1978-1979 season, a February game the Johnnies lost in upstate New York 79-72.
Ten months later, the old Big East Conference officially started play, brought together by the likes of Dave Gavitt, focused on basketball and interested in leveraging the power of northeast basketball for the growing television market.
Fast forward 34 years later and the college basketball landscape has completely turned on its head due to the big money involved with college football. The new Big East is now a basketball-only conference while Syracuse finds itself in the Atlantic Coastal Conference with the likes of Duke and North Carolina.
St. John’s will play a home-and-home series for now with Syracuse, and here’s to hoping this series continues yearly.
Syracuse owns the advantage in both the all-time series (37-50) and in Big East play (20-37), and that includes five conference tournament games. The Orange also had the edge there, 3-2.
Syracuse has a eight-game winning streak against St. John’s. In fact, the Johnnies last win, a 64-60 decision, came in 2007 at the Garden.
February 10, 2013: Syracuse 77, St. John’s 58
These two squads played each other just 10 months ago in what was their final Big East contest, which took place in the Carrier Dome.
St. John’s played the game without head coach Steve Lavin, who flew to California that morning after he learned his father had passed away. The day got tougher for the Johnnies as they lost this one despite getting to within five points in the second half.
JaKarr Sampson, en route to winning Big East Rookie of the Year, scored 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Syracuse had three players in double figures as C.J. Fair and future NBA first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams each scored 17 points while Brandon Triche added 16 points.
A frustrated D`Angelo Harrison added 13 points, but was saddled with three fouls in the first half and was called out on the broadcast for lashing out at fans on the sideline - a harbinger of behavioral issues to come when Lavin returned.
February 4, 2012: Syracuse 95, St. John’s 70
The Johnnies were overmatched from the start in this Madison Square Garden contest as the freshmen-laden squad could never find an answer for No. 2 Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone.
Fab Melo also caused problems for St. John’s as the Syracuse center scored 14 points and had two blocks. It was his first game back after missing three straight contests due to academic issues. Melo was one of five Orange players who scored in double figures. By the time this game was over, Syracuse players were using the final minutes as a slam dunk contest.
St. John’s, who was without Lavin as he recovered from prostate cancer surgery, struggled against Syracuse’s size and was outrebounded 42-31 and outscored in the paint 52-20.
D’Angelo Harrison led St. John’s with 23 points while Moe Harkless added 15 points.
March 10, 2011: Syracuse 79, St. John’s 73
Coming off their controversial win over Rutgers in the second-round of the Big East Tournament, St. John’s nearly knocked off Syracuse in the quarterfinals. But the Johnnies could never regain the lead after the Orange took a two-point advantage with two minutes left.
Triche scored a season-high 22 points and Melo, then a freshman, scored a then career-high 12 points, including the go-ahead bucket that put Syracuse up 70-68.
Dwight Hardy scored 22 points to lead St. John’s. The game’s result could’ve been different had D.J. Kennedy not injured himself early in the game.
Kennedy injured his right knee in the first six minutes after grabbing an offensive rebound, but didn’t return to the game.
This was St. John’s second loss to Syracuse in the Garden that season as the Johnnies finished 8-2 under the Broadway lights.
January 12, 2011: Syracuse 76, St. John’s 59
St. John’s started this game in the Garden on a 17-9 run and even held Syracuse to 3-of-11 shooting, but once again the 2-3 zone made the difference.
Justin Brownlee scored a game-high 13 points, but did so on 5-of-13 shooting. Hardy added 12 points, but he also had a bad night from the field as he connected on only four of his 15 shots.
This was Syracuse’s 1,800th win for the program as Kris Joseph led the charge with 18 points. Triche added 15 points for the Orange.
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