VILLANOVA, Pa. -- St. John's got a lesson in pressure lacrosse Saturday, falling 12-4 to Syracuse in the Big East tournament championship game.
The Orange (9-7) dominated from the opening faceoff, scoring the first eight goals and outshooting the Red Storm 40-30. The win gives Syracuse an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
For St. John's (8-7), the eight victories marks its highest win total since the program was reinstated in 2005. On Thursday the Storm beat No. 2 Notre Dame, the highest ranked opponent St. John's has topped.
"I felt like we were scrambling around for a good percentage of the first half," St. John's coach Jason Miller said.
"They are a good shooting team," St. John's goalie Jeff Lowman said of Syracuse. "They are really good at backside dodges, backside cuts and moving the ball."
Senior attack Tommy Palasek, who led Rocky Point to the 2008 Class B state title, was the sparkplug of the Orange's offensive thrust, scoring three goals with three assists. Eight other players tallied goals for the Orange.
Sophomore attack Kieran McArdle of Ronkonkoma had a hand in all of the St. John's goals, scoring two and assisting on two.
Syracuse struck first, as senior midfielder Bobby Eilers scored off a pass from Palasek four minutes into the opening quarter. Lowman, who totaled 13 saves, made a big off-stick stops, denying the Orange the opportunity to go up, 2-0.
Syracuse took advantage of man-up situations, scoring twice with the extra man in less than two minutes.
"We didn't lose today because of the penalty situation," Miller said. "But it certainly hurt us more momentum-wise and tempo-wise."