New York City, New York. Syracuse brought their A game to Madison Square Garden Tuesday night and absolutely dismantled St. John's 87-58, in front of a mostly Orange- friendly crowd. Playing for the first time this season in their "home away from home," the Orange got a big win led by PG Jonny Flynn's 21 points and eight assists.
After a dissapointing home-loss to Villanova on Sunday, (86-89) Syracuse rebounded in grand fashion leading The Red Storm from start to finish.
The victory improved Syracuse to (20-8, 8-7 Big East,) but more importantly gave Hall-of -Fame Coach Jim Boeheim his 31st season in which the Orange have won at least 20 games. Boeheim surpassed legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith who finished his career with 30.
Syracuse dominated The Red Storm in the paint outscoring them 56-30. Leading the way inside were PF Rick Jackson who scored 15 points, and C Arinze Onuaku who bullied his way with 14 points. For only the second time in seven games, Onuaku finished the game scoring in double digits.
He has been limited to say the least, from a tendinitis flare-up in his knee. His lack of low post presence has negatively impacted the Orange who before this game had dropped seven out of 10 and had fallen from the Top 25.
St, John's was led by G-F Paris Horne who came off the bench and scored 17 points. But they just coulden't get it going against the Orange making only seven field goals in the first half, and failing to score during the last 3:46. An 8-0 run put Syracuse up 39-18 at the half. Their hot shooting continued as they ended-up shooting a torrid 64.9 percent for the game.
Sophomore PG Jonny Flynn seemed to score at will with an array of ankle-breaking dribble drives to the hoop. Whether he was scoring or setting up his teammates, Flynn was an absolute terror on the hollowed floor that is Madison Square Garden. Eric Devendorf stuffed the stat sheet contributing 17 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
But, most importantly the usually turn-over prone SG finished with a single give-a-way.
Syracuse has three regular season games remaining with Cincinnati and Rutgers at home, before ending the season with a road-trip to Marquette. The win in the Garden Tuesday night also snapped a five game road losing streak for The Orange.
As long as they take care of business at home, a regular season ending loss to The Golden Eagles should't put Syracuse on the proverbial bubble. They would have a record of (22-10, 10-8 Big East,) before entering The Big East Tournament.
The talk recently of Syracuse being a" bubble team," has been premature to say the least. Besides their Big East record, The Orange had key road victories against No. 15 Kansas, (who just beat No. 2 Oklahoma 87-78,) and No. 4 Memphis. They also beat Florida who is a tournment team and is currently 21-7.
Syracuse has now beaten St. John's nine out of the last 10 times they have played.
A road win in The Big East is pretty impressive no-matter who the opponent is. Just ask No. 1 Pittsburgh, who lost to the Providence Friars 81-73. Besides maybe DePaul, who is 0-14 in leauge play, wins on the road aren't easy to come by this year, and 29 point wins are about as rare as an Orange four-leaf clover.