NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s 76-69 loss against St. John’s in the Empire Classic at the Barclays Center:
WHAT HAPPENED: For the second consecutive night the Orange played overtime in Brooklyn. This time they couldn’t hang on. The Orange squandered a 10-point second half lead, but withstood the St John’s onslaught during an 18-4 run midway through the period. Judah Mintz led the way with 16 first half points but cooled in the second, finishing with 20. St. John’s forced 7 second half turnovers, and four in overtime leading the way for the St. John’s victory.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse was stifled by the undefeated St. John’s (7-0) defense late in the first half and throughout most of the second half and overtime. The Orange hung tough, but shot poorly (18.8%) from 3, were outrebounded 47-38, and turned the ball over 11 times after intermission. It felt like the bottom was going to fall out for most of the second half and it took until overtime, but it did. St. John’s had an easy time penetrating the defense, and with backup center Mounir Hima (7 blocks) and Jesse Edwards (four fouls) not protecting the rim in crunch time, they found opportunities for easy buckets.
HERO: Edwards and Hima combined to score 22 points, grab 16 rebounds, and block 7 shots at the center position. Hima had all seven blocks and Edwards scored 18 points, but their presence was felt on both ends of the floor throughout the entire game.
ZERO: Joe Girard didn’t come to play tonight. Last night’s hero couldn’t get it going at all in the first half and didn’t do much better in the second or overtime, missing the front end of a key one-and-one in overtime with under two minutes to go and the Orange trailing by two. He shot 1-10 and finished with just 4 points. The Orange needed a lot more from their senior leader.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange return home to face Bryant on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. TV: ACC Network Extra.