Fab Melo And Syracuse Down St. John's, 79-73

-- Don't miss all of our coverage in our Big East Basketball Tournament 2011 special section. -- Click here for a complete recap of Syracuse-St. John's.

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D.J. Kennedy Injury: St. John's Basketball Senior Guard Out For Season With ACL Tear

Just a handful of minutes into the St. John's basketball program's quarterfinal game in the 2011 Big East Tournament against the Syracuse Orange, senior D.J. Kennedy fell to the floor in pain. The Johnnies best rebounder, third-best scorer and second-best passer knew right away that it wasn't good.

"[D.J.] just said, 'It's bad,'" St. John's head coach Steve Lavin said after the game. "I said, 'How bad?' He said, 'It's bad.'"

Lavin, who was unsure about the status of the 6-foot-5 hybrid guard-forward after the game, found out later that Kennedy had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. According to ESPNNY.com's writer Kieran Darcy, "his season, and his college career, are over."

The loss of Kennedy will be felt, however, things like this happen to teams -- just ask Syracuse which earned a 79-73 victory Thursday, but lost senior center Arinze Onuaku late last season.

Luckily for St. John's fans, Kennedy isn't as important to the Johnnies success as Onuaku was to SU's. I guess, you could say Red Storm supporters are fortunate that it wasn't senior guard Dwight Hardy or senior forward Justin Brownlee. (The last statement doesn't take away how sad the Kennedy situation is.) But St. John's Sweet 16 or Final Four hopes are not completely smashed with this news, just cracked.

"It’s going to affect us a little bit," said SJU guard Dwight Hardy, "because he’s versatile. But now we have to pick up the slack, somebody else is going to have to score a little bit more, everybody on this team is going to have to add more value than what they’ve been adding and I think we have the potential to do that."

Kennedy can be replaced, as senior Sean Evans proved with a solid 11-points, 12-rebound performance on Thursday. Lavin will just need to adjust his lineup and try to get some more magic out of those Coaches vs. Cancer sneakers.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - D.J. Kennedy 32 28.7 3.3 7.1 45.6 0.6 1.7 36.4 3.3 4.2 77.8 1.4 4.3 5.6 2.0 1.7 1.8 0.5 2.1 10.4


Big East Tournament 2011 Scores And Results: Fab Melo And Syracuse Down St. John's, 79-73

Sophomore guard Brandon Triche posted a game-best 22 points Thursday and freshman center Fab Melo tallied a collegiate-best 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting to help the No. 4-seeded Syracuse Orange beat No. 5 St. John's Red Storm, 79-73, in a 2011 Big East Tournament quarterfinal game at Madison Square Garden. The Orange (No. 11 in both college basketball polls) pushed their current winning streak to six games and advanced to the semifinals where they will play the No. 9 Connecticut Huskies, who upset No. 1 Pittsburgh Panthers, 76-74, earlier on Thursday.

Syracuse (26-6), which trailed 37-32 at halftime, used a 13-4 run, capped by a Melo layup, to collect a 45-41 with 16:26 to play in the game. From there, St. John's (21-11) and SU battled back-and-forth until about two and half minutes to go. With the score tied at 68, Syracuse went on a 9-2 run, which included four points from Melo and Triche going 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, to take a 79-70 with 12 second remaining. Senior guard Dwight Hardy, who netted a team-best 22 points, made a last-second 3-pointer, but SU dribbled out the remaining time to hold on to their squatter's rights of MSG.

"He was the difference tonight without any question," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim of Melo after the game. "..We did just enough. It's tough when you have the double-bye, I've said that for years. It's tough to get going. But this is a good win for us to get this today."

Senior forward Rick Jackson had a tremendous second half to finish with a stat-stuffing performance of 10 points, nine rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists. Junior forward Kris Joseph added 14 points and three blocks, while red-shirt senior Scoop Jardine chipped in with 10 points. Freshman forward C.J. Fair collected seven rebound off the bench, all on the offensive end.

St. John's (No. 17 in the AP poll/No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) suffered from the loss of senior guard D.J. Kennedy, who suffered a knee injury early in the first half and never returned. In his absence, senior forward Sean Evans compiled 11 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Justin Brownlee posted 15 points and seven rebounds, while freshman forward Paris Horne had 11 points.

The Johnnies advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Rutgers, 65-63, on Wednesday.


St. John's 37, Syracuse 32 Halftime Score: Orange's 12 Turnovers Lead To Deficit

Senior forward Justin Brownlee has scored a team-best seven points for the No. 4-seeded St. John's Red Storm, who lead the No. 5 Syracuse Orange, 37-32, at halftime of a 2011 Big East Tournament quarterfinals game at Madison Square Garden. The winner advances to play No. 9 Connecticut Huskies in the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

The Orange (25-6 overall and No. 11 in both college basketball polls) jumped out to a nine-point, 14-5, advantage in the game's first six minutes. St. John's (21-10 and No. 17 in the AP poll/No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) responded with a 17-6 run, which included senior guard Dwight Hardy's seven first-half points, to take a 22-20 lead with 7:27 to play. The Red Storm held onto the lead by forcing Syracuse (12 first-half turnovers) into a lot of bad decisions on offense.

Freshman guard Dion Waiters has netted a team-best eight-bench points for Syracuse, which shot 3-of-10 from 3-point land and just 10-of-27 (37.0 percent) from the floor. Sophomore guard Brandon Triche has chipped in with seven points, while freshman center Fab Melo has tallied six points and four rebounds.

Senior forward Sean Evans has seven points for St. John's, which defeated Rutgers, 65-63, Wednesday in the second round.

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