Syracuse cruised to an 83-69 win over the Red Storm behind a career-high 35 points from senior forward Hakim Warrick, playing in his second to last home game. Warrick also brought down 10 rebounds.
"This was Hak's game. We need him to come up big for us to be successful," said coach Jim Boeheim, who made another starting lineup change, electing to go with size by inserting Terrence Roberts in place of Billy Edelin.
The modification paid off with Syracuse outrebounding St. John's 39-31.
The Orange shot 55.6 percent from the floor, guiding Boeheim to career win 699 and moving the Orange to 23-5 (10-4) overall. St. John's dropped to 9-15 (3-11).
"Four of those five games (loses) come down just to rebounds. That's a concern," said Boeheim, who admitted he doesn't like changing the lineup often. "Every change we make we make for a different reason. It's a hard thing to figure out. We're very inconsistent, but 23-5."
Syracuse had dropped four of its last six. The Orange are now 18-0 when they outrebound their opponents this season, just 4-5 otherwise.
After leading 43-30 at the half, Syracuse gave way to an 8-0 run by St. John's, led by Daryll Hill's career-high 33 points. Hill had seven 3-pointers and St. John's went 12-of-24 from behind the arc to keep the game close.
Josh Pace scored the Orange's first field goal of the second half with 16 minutes and 34 seconds remaining. Pace's jumper was part of an 8-0 run by Syracuse to move their lead back to 13.
Syracuse later used a 30-13 run to put the game out of reach. They led 81-59 with 3:49 left to play, tying their largest lead of the game, 22 points.
Only Josh Pace accompanied Warrick in double-digit scoring with 12 points. The Orange offense though received solid contributions with four other players with at least six points. Roberts added nine points, Darryl Watkins and Gerry McNamara added eight and Demetris Nichols finished with six. The Orange scored just two 3-pointers, both by McNamara.
Syracuse began the game scoring on its first six possessions, using their bigger size to find easy layups after solid ball movement. Freshman guard Josh Wright saw his first playing time since Jan. 8 at Seton Hall.
Boeheim inserted Wright at the 6:56 mark of the first half with SU leading by 15. Wright immediately dished out two assists, both to center Watkins. On the first, Wright received the ball in the corner and used a ball fake to drive to the basket and dish to Watkins for an easy lay-in.
Wright finished with four assists, three turnovers and one point after 20 minutes of play, the most time he's played all season.
"I have to be confident. He (Boeheim) always told me to keep my head up and keep working hard, don't be surprised, just be ready," said Wright, who wasn't surprised when Boeheim called his name. "When he called my name, I didn't flip, I jumped up and ran to the table."
While Wright received a considerable amount of playing time, Edelin didn't move from his seat on the bench all game.
Boeheim said Edelin had taken a step backward from doing the things he needed to do, off the court. He said he needed to take care of that before he came onto the court again, reminiscent of last year when Edelin missed most of the season with "personal issues."
McNamara sat out the final 12:21 of the game after he appeared to roll his ankle, something he did at home against Pittsburgh Feb. 14.
Boeheim said that the team would find out McNamara's status tomorrow.
Warrick's career high leads Syracuse past Storm
Cuse Nation Top Stories
Scout ACC Player of the Week: Eric DungeySyracuse QB Eric Dungey is Scout's ACC Player of the Week
Scout CFB9:50 AM
Dungey, Etta-Tawo Honored by the ACCSyracuse quarterback Eric Dungey and wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo were honored for their performances against Boston College by the ACC.
Cuse Nation9:45 AM
5-star Billy Preston likely to decide earlyFive-star power forward Billy Preston has taken three of his official visits and is set to take his fourth and final trip this coming weekend. Scout caught up with his mother --…
Scout Hoops6:07 AM
Syracuse Players, Coaches Preview SeasonSyracuse men's and women's basketball held their media day recently and CuseNation.com was there interviewing nearly every key player and coach on both rosters.
Cuse NationYesterday at 9:05 PM