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Phil Greene IV comes alive late as St. John's beats Syracuse

St. John's Phil Greene IV grabs a rebound

St. John's Phil Greene IV grabs a rebound over Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Nick Lisi

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Phil Greene IV scored 11 straight points, breaking open a tight game with a trio of 3-pointers and a fast-break layup in the final minutes, and St. John's beat Syracuse 69-57 in a game between two former Big East rivals on Saturday night.

Greene, 4 of 8 from long range, tied what had been a nip-and tuck affair at 55-55 with a 3 from the left wing with 4:04 left, hit again from the right corner to break the tie and followed with the layup off a turnover to send the Orange reeling. He finished his personal attack with a 3 from the wing in the final minute.

St. John's (6-1), which had lost nine straight in the series, snapped Syracuse's 55-game home nonconference winning streak.

The Orange (5-3) were coming off a 66-63 loss at No. 17 Michigan, a game they had a chance to win until freshmen Kaleb Joseph and Chris McCullough committed turnovers on consecutive possessions in the closing seconds with the Wolverines clinging to a one-point lead.

D'Angelo Harrison led St. John's with 24 points and Chris Obekpa had 16 rebounds four blocks.

The game was won from the 3-point line and the foul line. St. John's hit 9 of 16 from behind the arc and 20 of 25 from the line, while Syracuse finished 3 of 22 from long range and 10 of 20 on free throws.

Rakeem Christmas had 15 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double of the season for the Orange, while McCullough and Michael Gbinije each scored 13.

The game had a feel like the old Big East and briefly turned ugly with 6:29 left when McCullough stole the ball on a bad pass by Rysheed Jordan and was intentionally fouled at the other end by Jordan as he was about to score. A scrum under the net was quickly defused and after a flagrant foul was called, McCullough sank 1 of 2 free throws to give Syracuse a 54-52 lead.

Greene's 3 from the left wing knotted it to set up the frantic finish.

After McCullough missed a free throw early in the second half, Pointer and Obekpa each sank two from the line and a resounding one-handed follow slam by Sir'Dominic Pointer gave the Red Storm the biggest lead of the game, 43-36, with 15:09 to go.

St. John's made it 50-42 on Harrison's long 3 from way behind the arc at the top of the key, but Ron Patterson countered with a 3 for Syracuse to start a 9-1 spurt that tied the game at 51.

Christmas' basket with 10:28 to go closed the gap to 50-47 as St. John's missed twice and Jordan was called for traveling. The Orange tied it on Ron Patterson's lob to McCullough with 8:24 left as the Carrier Dome crowd erupted.

Gbinije made his first career start a week after coach Jim Boeheim criticized his lackluster play a week ago.


Syracuse: The Orange dominated the glass in the first half 24-17 and 9-4 on the offensive end and outscored St. John's 18-8 in the paint. ... The Orange hadn't lost to a nonconference foe since Cleveland State on Dec. 15, 2008, compliments of a 3-pointer at the buzzer from beyond half court by Cedric Jackson.

St. John's: The Red Storm's lone loss was last week at Madison Square Garden, 73-66 to current No. 9 Gonzaga in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship game. ... The Red Storm outscored Syracuse 9-0 on the fast break in the first half. ... The Red Storm's last road win against Syracuse was a 75-70 victory in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 27, 1999.


St. John's vs. Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday.

Syracuse home against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 14.


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