Syracuse led early on and pushed its lead to double-digits by halftime, but the Red Storm clawed back with their shot-blocking and penetration. The Johnnies took the lead with more than eight minutes to play -- their first lead in the game -- but Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair were just too much. Ennis played floor general to perfection and hit a huge finger roll to give 'Cuse a four-point lead, and Fair's jump shooting kept St. John's furious comeback at bay.
Ennis and Fair had 21 points apiece, while Jerami Grant scored 14 points off the bench and had the play of the game in the second half, snuffing out any last hope of a St. John's comeback.
D'Angelo Harrison and JaKarr Sampson were the best players on the floor for St. John's. Harrison scored 21 points and Sampson gave the 2-3 zone fits with his interior ballhandling. Sampson took his fourth foul with just more than seven minutes left in the game, hamstringing the Johnnies' attempts to hold off the country's No. 2 team.
Syracuse has one more out-of-conference test -- against No. 10 Villanova on Dec. 28 -- before they begin their first season of ACC play. Sunday's game was their first tough road win of the year, which makes their resume look even better.
St. John's lost another chance to get a signature win. For a team with NCAA Tournament aspirations, this game would have been monstrous. Instead, the Red Storm falls to 6-3. They'll need to wait until Big East play resumes to try to get wins over quality opponents, though they do face Xavier on New Year's Eve.