Syracuse passed its first true road test of the season, rallying late to pull out a 68-63 win over St. John's at Madison Square Garden.
The former Big East rivals played a game as hard-fought as the ones that used to be a regular part of both teams' schedules, with the Orange and Red Storm both having large factions of supporters in MSG.
No. 2 Syracuse (10-0) led 39-27 at the half, forcing St. John's (6-3) into numerous one-and-done possessions thanks to its zone defense. But in the second half the Red Storm began to attack the basket, penetrating for layups or to draw fouls.
St. John's led 60-58 with 5:48 left before Syracuse collected itself and lived up to its No. 2 ranking. Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair, both of whom had 21 points, scored the Orange's final 10 points, while St. John's missed its final 10 shots and made just three of seven free throws down the stretch.
Syracuse shot 52.2 percent from the field, compared to 35.6 percent for St. John's. The Red Storm were abysmal from outside, making just 1 of 17 three-pointers. D'Angelo Harrison scored 21 points, but he was just 6-of-19 from the field.