NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s 84-72 loss against St. John’s on Sunday afternoon at famed Madison Square Garden:
WHAT HAPPENED: Trailing 25-24 with 5:09 left in the first half, St. John’s outscored Syracuse 16-6 to go into intermission up 40-31. The Orange would cut the lead to 7 several times in the second half, but Syracuse could never quite get over the hump. SU had three possessions to cut the lead to under 7 with under 3 minutes, but came up empty handed each time. In a game billed as the ‘Battle for New York,’ St. John’s has now taken two straight from Syracuse after the Orange had dominated the matchups for more than a decade.
ANALYSIS: Several familiar bugaboos surfaced for the Orange in its last true test before ACC play. SU was once again outrebounded, with a -3 margin. And, once again, Syracuse shot poorly at the free throw line, with Tyler Roberson missing seven free throws as SU shot 61.3 percent as a team. The poor shooting extended beyond the arc, with Malachi Richardson’s 0-11 shooting from downtown leading to 19.3 percent shooting overall for SU. Perhaps more concerning was Syracuse’s defense, with St. John’s easily attacking it to find open 3 after open 3. The Red Storm shot 12-24 from downtown with Federico Mussini shooting 5-7 to lead the way.
HERO: Syracuse would’ve been blown out had it not been for Michael Gbinije. He finished with 21 points on 7-12 shooting before fouling out. Mussini and Durand Johnson combined for 32 points.
ZERO: Richardson was SU’s second leading scorer with 15 points, but he took 20 shots from the field to get there. As mentioned earlier, SU’s zone wasn’t particularly effective, with the Red Storm shooting 49.2 percent from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse is off for six days, and will return home to face Cornell on Saturday at noon.