NEW YORK — Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson had a vision of how his first game at Madison Square Garden as a collegian would go.
“I thought we wouldn’t miss,” Richardson said, “and we’d win by 100.”
The first part of his prophecy came true, but didn’t apply to Syracuse. Instead, it was St. John’s who shot 51 percent from the field and 12 for 24 from downtown in a 84-72 win over the Orange on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, Richardson suffered through the worst game of his young college career, missing all 11 of his 3-pointers in a 4-for-20 performance. It was an even tougher first half for the Syracuse freshman, with Richardson going 0 for 7 from the field and missing all five of his 3-point attempts.
“In the first half,” Syracuse interim head coach Mike Hopkins said, “he was settling too much for the 3.”
That changed in the second half, as Richardson took the ball to the basket more and shot an improved 4 for 13 from the field, finishing with 15 points.
“I just wanted to be more aggressive, help our team out,” Richardson said. “I just wasn’t getting it done in the first half. I was settling too much so I just decided I would be more aggressive and get to the basket.”
He did, however, miss all six of his attempts from beyond the arc in the second period.
“If I don’t shoot it, what’s the point of me being on the floor?” Richardson said. “I gotta shoot open shots.”
Richardson was certainly not the only Syracuse player to struggle on Sunday.
Another one of SU’s 3-point shooters, Trevor Cooney, slogged through a brutal afternoon, connecting on just 1 of his 8 attempts from downtown. He finished with 11 points on 3 of 12 shooting.
“What’s great about Malachi and Trevor is that they miss some shots, they think they’re making the next ones,” Hopkins said. “We’ve been living and dying by the 3. When we make them, we’re really, really good.”
The converse of that, of course, is when SU is ice cold from the field, it is not a good team. Overall, the Orange shot 35.8 percent from the field and 5 for 26 from downtown.
Despite the off shooting day, the Orange will need Richardson to keep firing in the hopes that, eventually, he will regain his rhythm.
“I want Malachi to play that way, be aggressive, and make plays,” Cooney said. “He just adds so much to this team when he plays like that.”