Orange See Red

After suffering a disappointing loss to UConn on Monday night, the Syracuse University men's basketball team looks to get back on track on Sunday against the St. John's Red Storm.   Syracuse will also look to exact a measure of revenge against the Johnnies, who defeated the Orange 64-60 in a sloppily played game at Madison Square Garden on January 21st .

A link to the boxscore from the January 21 st game is attached below:

After a strong start to the Big East Conference portion of the schedule, the Orange—who have dropped four of the team's last five games—are in the throes of the team's annual February swoon.   This year's rough patch began with the aforementioned St. John's loss, and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim would like nothing more than to see his team come full circle and exorcise the earlier loss to the Red Storm with a win at the Carrier Dome.

St. John's Personnel

The Red Storm [14-10] have been inconsistent under first year head coach Norm Roberts, but are riding a two game win streak heading into Sunday's contest.   St. John's best player is big man Lamont Hamilton, a 6-10 240 pound senior who has been a thorn in Syracuse's side throughout his collegiate career.   For the season, the burly Hamilton is averaging 13.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.   His game is predicated upon raw power, and he does all of his damage down low.

Joining Hamilton up front is versatile forward Anthony Mason, Jr., son of the former New York Knickerbocker of the same name.   Mason [10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds per game] is dangerous in the open floor, and is a inside / outside threat capable of streak shooting—as evidenced by his 4-7 shooting from three point range against Syracuse in the earlier meeting between the two clubs.   Although Mason, Jr. shoots a low percentage from the floor [40.3% FG, 28% from three point range], he finds ways to get the job done.

The team's second leading scorer is junior guard Avery Patterson, a sturdy 6-4 guard from Kannapolis, North Carolina.   Patterson shoots a low percentage from the field [37.1%], but he connects on a respectable 34.6% from behind the arc.   True to form, most of his points are scored on long range bombs; 179 of his 251 shots have been from long range.

Orchestrating the St. John's attack is junior point guard Eugene Lawrence.   Lawrence averages 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, and is a solid marksman from three point range [37.1%].   His 5.1 assists per game rank second in the Big East Conference.

Coach Roberts will not have senior guard Darryl Hill at his disposal, due to injury.   Sans Hill, who has only seen action in 16 games this season, Roberts has shuffled the final slot in the starting lineup based upon match ups.

The best of the bunch is freshman Qa'rraan Calhoun, a 6-8 jumping jack who torched Syracuse for 10 points and 7 rebounds in the first match up.   Calhoun, who plays a little like a poor man's Hakim Warrick, is explosive around the basket.   For the season he's averaging 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

Big man Aaron Spears has also seen spot duty as a starter.   Spears is a 6-10 widebody who does all of his damage in the paint.   He averages 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, and isn't afraid to throw his weight around.

Larry Wright is the top backcourt reserve.   Like Patterson, Wright is much more of a stationary jump shooter [44.4% from three point range] than a threat to drive to the basket.   He averages 4.2 points in approximately 12 minutes per game.

Rounding out the St. John's rotation are Ricky Torres, a 6-5 swingman, and Tomas Jasiulionis, a 6-11 center.   Both players are capable of providing positive contributions in limited minutes.


With the team's NCAA aspirations teetering on the precipice, Syracuse [16-8] enters Sunday's game with a sense of urgency.   The team's next three games are all winnable—St. John's, at South Florida on Wednesday, and Connecticut on Saturday—and the Orange need to win all three to keep their NCAA hopes alive.

Step one is taking care of business against the Johnnies on Sunday.   Look for the Orange to come out focused and pay the Red Storm back for the loss on January 21st.

Syracuse 79               St. John's 65

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