In honor of this time of the year, everyone associated with Syracuse basketball, from head coach Jim Boeheim to the team’s fans, was gifted a large lump of coal Wednesday night as the squad was humiliated at the Carrier Dome by former Big East rival St. John’s, 93-60. Anything the Orange (7-5) did well in their romp over Eastern Michigan on Monday night was undone by a terrible performance two nights later.
The Red Storm (6-7) put together a 22-7 first half run to take a commanding lead and added a 32-7 run in the second half to send SU fans streaming toward the exits. St. John’s tore apart the Syracuse defense, getting assists on 27 of their 34 field goals as they hit over 53 percent of their shots, including 41.4 percent of their three-pointers.
The Orange were woeful on offense, making less than a third of their field goal tries, including a mere 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) on triples. SU also committed 19 turnovers in the game and the Red Storm converted them into 32 points, including 18 on fast break opportunities.
Syracuse actually got off to a solid start, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead as they forced a 1-for-5 start and a pair of turnovers from St. John’s. Shortly after that, the Red Storm scored six straight points to take their first lead at 10-9, Tyus Battle drained a three to put the Orange back in front, then Taurean Thompson swished a 12-footer on the next trip for a 14-12 lead.
St. John’s then held SU scoreless for five minutes, rolling up 14 straight to go up by a dozen just after the midpoint of the first half. Thompson made a nifty drop-step for a lay-up to get the Orange back on the board, but the Red Storm tacked on five more points for a 31-16 lead.
Syracuse clawed back within nine points with just under a minute left in the half, but the guests got a three to push the lead back out to a dozen. John Gillon drove for a reverse lay-up and the Orange defense held on the last possession of the opening session, sending the teams to their respective locker rooms with St. John’s holding a 39-29 lead.
DaJuan Coleman scored on each of the first three SU possessions out of the break, clipping the gap to 41-35, but the Red Storm hung the next six points to reinstate their 12-point lead. St. John’s had an answer for everything Syracuse gave them over the next six minutes, then set about blowing the Orange out of their own gym.
Holding a 59-48 lead, the Red Storm held SU scoreless for nearly five minutes while scoring on six straight possessions to trigger a run of 15 straight points. When Battle got a putback to end that stretch, the scoreboard was 74-50 in favor of the guests with 7:39 remaining.
Shortly after that, St. John’s ran off 13 more unanswered points, highlighted by a pair of alley-oop dunks and a three-pointer with a foul. The potential four-point-play was thwarted by a missed free throw, but when the smoke cleared, it all added up to a 32-6 run and a 91-54 lead for the Red Storm, their biggest lead of the night.
Tyler Lydon led the Orange with 16 points and ten rebounds. DaJuan Coleman also had a double-double, finishing with ten points and ten boards. Taurean Thompson had ten points before fouling out and Tyus Battle added eight.
Seven players on St. John’s scored at least seven points, led by Bashir Ahmed’s 20. Shamore Ponds hit four three pointers while piling up 19 points and Malik Ellison poured in 16. Tariq Owens and Richard Freudenberg each chipped in with nine points.
The Orange look to rebound on Tuesday night when they close the non-conference portion of their schedule when they host Cornell. The Big Red (2-7) will take on Troy on Wednesday night prior to heading to Syracuse for next week’s matchup. Sophomore guard Matt Morgan is the top scorer for Cornell. He averages 18.2 points and three triples per game and also owns a 34-point game against Northeastern.
Tip-off is set for 7:00pm Eastern and the contest will be televised regionally, as well as streaming online at ESPN3.com.