NEW YORK – Kris Joseph scored 18 points and No. 4 Syracuse remained undefeated with a 76-59 victory over St. John's at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The Orange (17-0, 4-0 Big East) are off to the second-best start in school history thanks to the 2-3 zone defense they have used so effectively for years.
Syracuse, one of five unbeaten Division I teams entering Wednesday, held the Red Storm (10-5, 3-2) to 36.8 percent shooting (21 of 57), just better than the 37.2 percent mark that leads the conference. The Orange came in second in points allowed (59.8) and were second in 3-point field goal defense (27.6). St. John's was 2 of 12 from 3-point range.
The win was the 1,800th in school history, fifth on the all-time list in Division I, and 846 of them have been under coach Jim Boeheim, who is fifth on the career list in Division I.
Brandon Triche had 15 points for Syracuse, which has won five straight and 11 of 12 against the Red Storm. Scoop Jardine added 14 points and six assists, his average that is second in the conference, and Rick Jackson had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Justin Brownlee had 13 points for St. John's, which is 1-2 so far in its stretch of eight consecutive games against ranked opponents. The Red Storm beat Georgetown and lost to Notre Dame to start the roughest part of almost any schedule in the country.
Syracuse closed the first half on a 10-0 run for a 35-24 lead. The Orange had that lead doubled within the opening 11 minutes of the second half. They did it by forcing St. John's into taking some ill-advised shots and turning the ball over. The Red Storm had 16 turnovers in all.
Syracuse took its first 22-point lead on a 3-pointer by Dion Waiters that made it 59-37 with 9:25 to play. The Orange matched that lead three more times, the last at 67-45 with 4:38 left on a basket by Joseph.
The game started ugly on the offensive end for both teams. St. John's began 1 for 7 from the field, while the Orange were 3 for 13. Both teams came in averaging 11.2 turnovers per game and when the first half ended they both had 10.
St. John's led 17-9 when Syracuse finally started connecting from the field. The Orange went on a 16-1 run with Joseph scoring seven points.
Dwight Hardy, who finished with 12 points, hit two 3s for the Red Storm — their only field goals over the final 8 minutes of the half — and Syracuse answered them with a 10-0 run to close the half that was capped by Jackson's rebound basket at the buzzer.