Jan. 12, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) - Justin Brownlee finished with a team-high 13 points and Dwight Hardy added 12, but it wasn't enough as St. John's fell 76-59 to No. 4/4 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
Kris Joseph scored 18 points to lead Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 Big East) to its second-best start in school history thanks to the 2-3 zone defense they have used so effectively for years.
One of five unbeaten Division I teams entering Wednesday, the Orange held the Red Storm (10-5, 3-2) to 36.8 percent shooting (21-of-57), just better than their 37.2 percent mark that leads the conference. The Orange came in second in points allowed (59.8) and were second in 3-point field goal defense (27.6). St. John's was 2-of-12 from 3-point range.
"I thought early we did some good things with our pressure in the full court and were able to get some good looks at the basket. Syracuse clearly dominated the game from somewhere around the eight-minute mark of the first half through to the second half," said Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin. "They thoroughly dominated the game at both ends of the floor with their zone defense, and also on the glass and the high-percentage looks they were able to get on the interior, both in transition with easy buckets and in the half court. They just played an excellent game and sustained their effort and execution for the entire 40 minutes. I told our guys after the game that we did some things in stretches and spurts, particularly in the first half, that were impressive, but you have to sustain it if you're going to beat the No. 4 team in the country like Syracuse."
Brandon Triche had 15 points for Syracuse, which has won five-straight and 11-of-12 against the Red Storm. Scoop Jardine added 14 points and six assists, his average that is second in the conference, and Rick Jackson had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Paris Horne contributed eight points, while Dwayne Polee II and Justin Burrell added seven apiece for St. John's, which is 1-2 so far in its stretch of eight-consecutive games against ranked opponents. The Red Storm beat then-No. 13/13 Georgetown and lost to then-No. 14/15 Notre Dame to start the roughest part of almost any schedule in the country.
Syracuse closed the first half on a 10-0 run for a 35-24 lead. The Orange had that lead doubled within the opening 11 minutes of the second half. They did it by forcing St. John's into taking some ill-advised shots and turning the ball over. The Red Storm had 16 turnovers in all.
Syracuse took its first 22-point lead on a 3-pointer by Dion Waiters that made it 59-37 with 9:25 to play. The Orange matched that lead three more times, the last at 67-45 with 4:38 left on a basket by Joseph.
The game started ugly on the offensive end for both teams. St. John's began 1-of-7 from the field, while the Orange were 3-of-13. Both teams came in averaging 11.2 turnovers per game and when the first half ended they both had 10.
St. John's led 17-9 when Syracuse finally started connecting from the field. The Orange went on a 16-1 run with Joseph scoring seven points.
The Red Storm hosts No. 9/11 Notre Dame at noon on Jan. 16, the second meeting between the two squads in eight days.