St. John's has done it again.
Up in the Carrier Dome, a 5-7 St. John's squad defied the oddsmakers and outplayed the Syracuse Orange for a third straight game, finishing with a resounding 93-60 win over Jim Boeheim's struggling squad.
St. John's was led by 20 points by Bashir Ahmed, who was instrumental in the second half run. St. John’s got 19 from Shamorie Ponds and 16 from Malik Ellison in the blowout. Marcus LoVett added nine assists. St. John’s improves to 6-7, and faces the Butler Bulldogs next Thursday at Carnesecca Arena.
The lead was as large as 37 in the second half, and the fans started heading to the exits with eight minutes and change in the game.
Remember, the Orange had lost two games in a row to St. John’s - one to last year's team that won only one more game in their next 21 tries. Despite that history, Syracuse came out flat, trading baskets early until St. John's found explosive performances from the supporting cast.
With DaJuan Coleman benched early for the Orange - and remaining on the bench for much of the first half - the Red Storm started to find a rhythm from unlikely sources.
First, Malik Ellison scored eight straight for the Johnnies to keep pace early in the first half. Then Richard Freudenberg nailed a two-dribble wing jumper, and, after a Shamorie Ponds three, Freudenberg connected on two more triples as part of a 14-0 run. Both enjoyed their best games in the red and white, with Freudenberg finishing with nine.
Syracuse battled back, going inside the arc to Taurean Thompson and senior Coleman late in the first half and in the beginning of the second.
But the Red Storm’s power could not be denied. Syracuse got as close as six points, but another 15-0 run sealed the game. St. John’s was ahead as much as 33 points before walk-ons Elijah Holifield and Justin Cole entered the game to get a taste of blowing out the Orange.
(Holifield hit a pair of jumpers for four points, and Cole added some free throws.)