Syracuse will travel to New York City to take on St. John’s on Saturday with its starting center, Fab Melo. Melo missed the last three games with an academic issue, but he was officially cleared to play on Thursday.
LAVIN ON THE MEND: Last year, St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin led the Red Storm to its first NCAA tournament since the 2002 season, restoring one of the flagship programs of the Big East. But Lavin has been out since November after having an operation for prostate cancer. Just 33 days after the surgery, Lavin tried returning to the bench, and the Red Storm played four games in nine nights. It proved to be too much for Lavin, 47, and he has been away from the sidelines since then. The Red Storm struggled ever since, and is 10-12 (4-6 Big East) this year. Still, he expects to be full strength to start the 2012-13 season.
SCOUTING THE RED STORM: Freshman D’Angelo Harrison is coming off a 29-point performance and currently leads the Red Storm in scoring at 16.4 points a game. Forward Moe Harkless is second on the team in scoring at 16.3 points a game, including a 30-point outburst in a 83-76 loss against then-No. 8 Duke.
IN ST. JOHN’S LAST GAME: Harrison’s 29 points including seven 3-pointers led the Red Storm past DePaul 87-81. Four St. John’s players reached double figures as a 13-0 run in the second half put the Red Storm in control of the game.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The two teams last met in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, with the Orange winning 79-73 behind 22 points from Brandon Triche. Syracuse has a 48-37 series lead.
GAME INFORMATION: Sat., Feb. 4. 12:00 p.m. ESPN. New York, NY. Follow us on Twitter @thejuiceonline for live game updates.