Storm squeezed by the Orange

For the second game in a row, the St. John’s men’s basketball team, who pride themselves on their defensive intensity, allowed their opponent to shoot more than 50 percent from the field.

Four days ago, Pittsburgh came into Madison Square Garden and shot 51
percent against the Red Storm. On Tuesday, the Johnnies went into the Carrier Dome and saw No. 1 Syracuse Orange shoot 52 percent and beat them 85-66.

St. John’s used a bigger lineup for the first time this season in an
effort to neutralize Syracuse big men
Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson. Junior
center Dele Coker started his ninth game of the season while junior forward
Justin Burrell was in the starting lineup for the eighth time. Junior swingman
D.J. Kennedy came off the bench for just the second time this season.

It was to no avail. Onuaku finished with a season-high 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and Syracuse scored 46 points in the paint and never trailed after the first minute of the game.

After a 3-pointer by Kennedy brought the score to 23-20 with 8:27 left in the first half, Syracuse went on a 17-4 run to go ahead by 16 with 3:03 left. Sophomore guard Scoop Jardine and sophomore forward Kris Joseph each had six points during that stretch off the bench.

The biggest story from the first half for St. John’s was the loss of junior guard Dwight Hardy. After hitting a
running jumper in the lane with 9:40 left in the half, he collided with Jackson and landed awkwardly, hurting his left knee. He did not return and was seen on the bench with ice around his knee.

Syracuse senior guard Andy Rautins also had an injury scare. He went down early in the second half with a twisted ankle, but returned to the game
minutes later. He finished the game with 14 points on 5-10 shooting with seven assists.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense shut down the St. John’s big men.

Junior forwards Sean Evans and Justin
Burrell were just 1-of-5 and 3-of-7 from the field, respectively, while senior
forward Anthony Mason Jr. shot 1-of-6.

On the other hand, junior guard Paris Horne found the gaps in the zone on the perimeter. He hit five of the Red Storm’s seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 18 points.

Kennedy led the team in scoring with 19 points and Malik Boothe dished out a season high eight assistsThe loss drops the
\Johnnies to 15-14 and 5-12 in the Big East. They have lost four out of their last five and now sit in 14th place in the 16-team conference.

With one game left in the regular season, they can now only look to match last season’s conference record of 6-12. They will try to do that on Friday when they travel to Rosemont, Ill. to take on last-place Depaul.