A great turning point; the star turn for Phil Greene IV, despite not being the leading scorer; and some positive words about how this year is different... and one outlet talking St. John's as a single-digit NCAA Tournament seed. Why, CBS Sports' Gary Parrish has St. John's as #15 in his Top-25 Plus One rankings.
NY Daily News // Greene hot down the stretch to lead St. John’s past Syracuse
Greene and Harrison said the die was cast for this win in a skirmish between the teams under Syracuse’s basket with 6:29 left. Rysheed Jordan had his pass picked off by Bronx product Chris McCullough and then pursued him on the break and brought him down with a hard foul that was deemed intentional and flagrant. The two came up jawing and other players got involved before the teams were ordered to their benches. Official Mike Stephens brought the teams and coaches together at midcourt threatening to eject players if things didn’t calm. After the summit meeting, Orange coach Jim Boeheim gave Jordan a high five and the game continued.
"It fired us up," Greene said. "Every one of us on the court, we came together. We were like ‘yo, it’s time to lock in and get this win.’ "
Harrison said that in the breaks from that point on, coach Steve Lavin let the seniors on the team run the dialogue in the huddles.
On the heels of a 13-2 Syracuse run, Greene took over, sinking three 3-pointers and a driving layup to turn a three-point deficit into a six point lead with 58 seconds remaining. His 3-pointer with 4:08 remaining got St. John’s even and his 3-pointer on the next possession gave the Johnnies the lead for good.
"Just in the nick of time, Phil cut loose, hit some big shots," St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said.
AP via NY Newsday // Phil Greene IV comes alive late as St. John's beats Syracuse
Greene, 4 of 8 from long range, tied what had been a nip-and tuck affair at 55-55 with a 3 from the left wing with 4:04 left, hit again from the right corner to break the tie and followed with the layup off a turnover to send the Orange reeling. He finished his personal attack with a 3 from the wing in the final minute.
St. John's (6-1), which had lost nine straight in the series, snapped Syracuse's 55-game home nonconference winning streak.
The game was won from the 3-point line and the foul line. St. John's hit 9 of 16 from behind the arc and 20 of 25 from the line, while Syracuse finished 3 of 22 from long range and 10 of 20 on free throws.
"I thought the whole game we struggled to score," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "It's very difficult against good teams. We got a lot of good looks and didn't make them. You can't win if you don't make shots in those situations."
Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician // St. John's 69 - Syracuse 57: Orange Drop Second Straight, Fall To 5-3
What I'm more concerned about is that his team led 58-55 with four minutes remaining and, at home, couldn't put away the Johnnies. Not only that, but the Orange had swung the momentum completely in their favor by erasing a seven-point deficit to take that lead and, after a scruff that followed Rysheed Jordan flagrantly fouling Chris McCullough, had an extra-raucous Carrier Dome crowd behind them. And they still lost!
Immediately after taking the 58-55 lead, Syracuse turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions, thus allowing St. John's to pull ahead and pull ahead for good. Obviously, you can't have that. It's the difference between a successful team and an unsuccessful team: being able to close games.
ed note: some worry on the other side, and maybe St. John's is becoming the team that can finish close games.
Daly Dose of Hoops // For St. John's, bragging rights only a stop on road to redemption
Rather, last night's win is more about the realization that maybe, just maybe, this year is different. Maybe this really is the year that it all comes together, just like Steve Lavin had so prophetically predicted it would two years ago when he made his return from a prostate cancer diagnosis that essentially sidelined him before he could guide a then-all-freshman squad through its formative rookie year in Division I college basketball.
Getting a single-digit seed for the Orange this year seems like a long shot. SU dropped a 55-game win streak on Saturday, a streak involving non-conference opponents at the Carrier Dome. It was in 2009, the last time Jim Boeheim felt defeat while his team wore white.
Then St. John's came in -- and St. John's (6-1) is going to be a single-digit NCAA Tournament seed this season -- to win 69-57 and get a credibility-boosting W. The Red Storm went 9 for 16 from deep; Syracuse struggled, going 3-of-22.
Is this the year where everything comes together? Can St. John's pull off the single-digit seed?