"We were up three because our defense wasn't there," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said about his team's performance in the first half. "They made some difficult threes, but that happens sometimes." High Point shot 50 percent (6-of-12) from behind the arc and capitalized on Syracuse's zone defense early.
"We just didn't play defense," Boeheim said. "We don't have to figure out what the reason was, we just didn't play defense. Aggressively.
Trevor Cooney jumpstarted the crowd around at around the 13:23 mark when he unleashed back-to-back treys off of screens to put the Orange up 16-6. The Panthers would not be deterred, though, answering back with a pair of three themselves, keeping within striking distance.
"He's not shy," Boeheim said of Cooney unleashing his fury on the Panthers. "We need to get him seven or eight shots at least. They were a hard seven he got tonight. I think he got one fairly easy shot. We just have to do a better job getting him shots."
However, coming out of the locker room, was a different story, Clinging to only three-point lead, Syracuse clamped down and started playing -- you guessed it -- defense. Syracuse forced 15 High Point turnovers in the second half compared to its four in the first. Couple those turnovers with a 28-3 run that spanned 13 minutes and BOOM! you have yourself a comfortable cushion.
Despite being held to just three shots against St. John's, Cooney let loose and went for near perfection from three, hitting 5-of-6 on the night. His 17 points was enough to lead the team. C.J. Fair notched a respectable 15 points, five rebounds. Both Jerami Grant and Tyler Ennis went for 10 a piece. Aside from grabbing four boards, Ennis dished out nine dimes and was a thief in the night with his five steals.
The Orange will return to Jim Boeheim Court on Saturday when it takes on Villanova. Tip is set for 2 p.m.
Video highlights of the win can be found below.