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Three takeaways: Red Storm tops 'Cuse 69-57

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With another solid non-conference win the Johnnies tournament resume is slowly starting to take shape.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If there ever was a time for the Red Storm to "party like its 1999", it was after last nights victory against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. The last time St. John's won at the Dome was in January of 1999, with the forward formerly known as Ron Artest leading the Johnnies to a five point defeat of the Orange.

This time it was the seniors, D`Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV, heading the Red Storm effort.

Harrison was hot early and finished with a team high 24 points. But it was a steady dose of Phil Greene IV in the final minutes that closed out the Orange.

After hitting a three to tie the game with 4:08 to play, Greene followed with another three, a steal, and a layup to give the Johnnies a five point lead they would not relinquish.

It was a battle of two teams that have each staked a claim as "New York's college team." A rivalry that had lost a bit of its glamour due to the recent lack of success that St. John's has had against the Orange.

Steve Lavin was 0-5 in previous matchups against 'Cuse since taking over as St. John's head coach in 2010.

But more than simply renewing a rivalry, this win is a huge step in getting the Johnnies back to the NCAA Tournament.

They now have two out of conference wins against teams ranked in the top-30 as per KenPom.com. It's also a huge confidence boost for a senior team with NCAA tourney or bust aspirations.

With a long season still ahead, is it too early to proclaim the Red Storm have finally gotten over the hump?

How long can they ride this wave of momentum?

What does this mean for the SJU-'Cuse rivalry, and for New York sports?

Chris Obekpa

The presence of Chris Obekpa was once again a huge factor for the Red Storm. Facing a very tough front-court with NBA-level talent Obekpa more then held his own.

His 16 rebounds (6 offensive) and four blocks gave St. John's a strong inside presence throughout the game.

More importantly Obekpa was able to stay out of foul trouble, collecting only two throughout the game.

His ability to stay on the court and bang with the big bodies of Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas allowed the Johnnies to have a complete and balanced approach both offensively and defensively.

Three-point shooting

Going up against the tough zone of Syracuse, St. John's needed a strong three point effort if they were to win in upstate New York.

Their three point shooting has been inconsistent so far this season, and a huge question mark coming into this game.

On a night where they needed it the most, they were able to come up huge from beyond the arc, going 9-16 (56.3%).

This proved to be a huge factor because of the inability of Syracuse to match the shooting of the Red Storm, going 3-22 (13.6%) from long range themselves.

Will St. John's continue their hot shooting?

Or will they continue to get inconsistent results beyond the three point line?

Assists

At this point in the season the Red Storm have a total of 87 assists and 86 turnovers. This is indicative of the 1-on-1 style of play St. John's can fall into at times.

During the second half against Syracuse, St. John's went over eight minutes without a made FG, before Phil Greene IV took matters into his own hands with an 8-0 solo run.

During that time St. John's went from leading by eight, to trailing by three with just over 4:00 to play.

They failed to get the ball into the middle of the zone, which they had been successful in doing the first 28 minutes of the game.

There was too much 1-on-1 play, leading to a lack of ball movement, poor shot selection, and four of the team's ten turnovers.

There's no question St. John's has individual talent. But they need to play better team basketball to continue to have success.

Is this the biggest need of improvement in St. John's game?

Can 12.4 assists per game be enough over the course of a season?

Up next for St. John's is a string of five consecutive non-conference home games starting with Fairleigh Dickinson Wednesday 12/10 at 8 pm.

The Rumble will continue to have coverage leading up to the game.