NEW YORK -- A quick look at Syracuse’s 79-73 win over St. John’s in the Big East quarterfinal.
Overview: The Big East sure knows how to host a party. Before the crowd caught its breath from Kemba Walker's heroics, St. John’s and Syracuse put on terrific game. Whoever had the beleaguered Fab Melo securing the victory for the Orange ought to go play the lottery.
Turning point: Close for much of the game, this one was decided in the waning seconds but in less dramatic fashion. With the shot clock dwindling and the game clock below a minute, Brandon Triche dribbled down the lane and bounced a perfect pass to Melo to give the Cuse a 4-point cushion.
Key player: As dreadful as he was in the first half -- he was 1-of-7 from the floor, 1-of-5 from 3-point range -- Triche was that good in the second. The sophomore scored 13 of his 20 points, shooting 4 of 6. More important, he dished off a perfect bounce pass to Feb Melo with 32 seconds left, securing the win for the Orange.
Key stat: Neither team was Notre Dame-hot from the arc, but the Orange sunk seven 3-pointers and St. John’s landed three. When Triche started knocking them down, they really mattered for the Orange, forcing the Red Storm out on the perimeter more and opening things inside for Rick Jackson (10 points) and Melo (12).
Miscellaneous: The Red Storm played the second half without D.J. Kennedy. The senior injured his knee in the first half and did not return.
What’s next: The Orange advance to a semifinal date with Connecticut. Earlier this year Syracuse ended a four-game losing skid with a win at Hartford against the Huskies. The party ends early for St. John’s but for the first time in nine years, won’t be waiting on an NIT phone call. The Red Storm will only be concerned about seed and opponent.