SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A quick take on St. John's 77-58 loss to Syracuse on Sunday at the Carrier Dome:
What it means: St. John's already was facing a tall order, playing the No. 9-ranked Orange at the Dome. Then on Sunday morning, the Red Storm learned that they would be without coach Steve Lavin, who left the team following the death of his father.
The Red Storm battled admirably under difficult circumstances, but their second-half comeback bid fell short. The game was closer than the final score indicates. St. John's drops to 15-9 overall, 7-5 in the Big East. Syracuse improves to 20-3, 8-2 in the conference.
The turning point: Syracuse was dominant in the first half, jumping out to a 15-point lead, 29-14, and leading 37-24 at intermission. The Orange shot 5-for-11 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes, while D'Angelo Harrison and Marco Bourgault -- St. John's two sharp-shooters -- were a combined 0-for-7. The Red Storm, facing Syracuse's famed 2-3 zone, were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball as well (see below).
St. John's scored five straight to open the second half, and eventually whittled the deficit all the way down to five, 48-43 with 11:42 remaining. The crowd grew restless. But in the end, Syracuse just had too much firepower. James Southerland, who returned from a six-game suspension, knocked down three treys in the second half, and the Orange put the game away late.
Star watch: Jakarr Sampson led St. John's with 21 points, shooting 10-for-14 from the field -- including several acrobatic moves in the paint. Harrison added 13 points.
Number crunch: St. John's committed 16 turnovers -- 11 of them coming in the first half. The Red Storm entered the game tied for 17th in the country, averaging just 11 turnovers per game.
Syracuse shot 29-for-54 from the field (53.7 percent), and 10-for-22 from downtown (45.5 pecent), with 20 assists on its 29 field goals.
What's next: St. John's plays at No. 11 Louisville, Thursday at 9 p.m. Syracuse plays at Connecticut, Wednesday at 7 p.m.