NEW YORK -- A quick take on St. John's 95-70 loss to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon, in front of a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT IT MEANS: A week after giving No. 6 Duke a scare at Cameron Indoor Stadium, St. John's was no match for No. 2-ranked Syracuse (23-1, 10-1 Big East), who got 7-foot center Fab Melo back after a three-game absence. The Red Storm are now 10-13 overall, 4-7 in Big East play, and 0-9 against ranked opponents this season.
In the win, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim notched career win 879, tying him with Dean Smith for third place on the all-time list.
THE SKINNY: St. John's -- with leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison coming off the bench because he was late for the team bus -- actually took an early 7-2 lead before Syracuse responded with a 10-0 run to make it 12-7. The Orange extended the lead to 13, the Red Storm cut it to eight and had opportunities to cut it closer but failed. Then Syracuse scored the final six points of the half to take its largest lead, 41-27, into the locker room.
Syracuse put this game away early in the second half, opening on a 9-0 to make it 50-27. St. John's star forward Moe Harkless picked up his fourth foul with 17:52 remaining, which didn't help. The Red Storm never got the margin under 20 points after that -- the Orange led by as many as 28.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Harrison struggled early but got hot in the second half (although the game was essentially out of reach at that point), finishing with 23 points. Harkless had a relatively quiet 15 points and eight rebounds. Phil Greene continued his improved play with 14 points.
NUMBER CRUNCH: Syracuse, with its size, simply overpowered St. John's, which doesn't have a player taller than 6-foot-8. The Orange outrebounded the Red Storm 42-31, and outscored them 24-11 on second-chance points. Melo had a career-high 14 points including several alley oops and dunks.
WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's hosts Cincinnati (15-7, 5-4 Big East) on Wednesday night, back at the Garden. The Red Storm beat the Bearcats 57-55 in Cincinnati on Jan. 7.