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Carrier syndrome: SJU nipped at the Dome – QNS.com

Carrier syndrome: SJU nipped at the Dome

By Marc Raimondi

“We came out with an 'L,'” the sophomore said after a 76-74 loss to Syracuse Sunday at the Carrier Dome. “If we played a step higher, we would've won the game.”But St. John's had nothing to be ashamed of. The Red Storm did what, for a team that struggles on the road, was previously thought impossible. The team went into the Carrier Dome – the toughest place to play in the Big East – and outplayed Orange.The road demons – the team has only four victories away from home since coach Norm Roberts took over two years ago – seemed to be exorcised as the Johnnies took the Orange's two best spurts in the second half and came right back.But St. John's just had no answer for Demetris Nichols.The Syracuse senior guard scored a career-high 37 points – 26 in the second half – to lead the Orange in front of a raucous crowd of 24,106.”I thought they outplayed us,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “Demetris just made some shots today – bottom line.”Nichols was 10-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range in the second half. He scored 19 points in the first nine minutes following halftime on the way to the highest total this season in a Big East conference game.”Today he just got in the zone,” said St. John's senior Lamont Hamilton (14 points). “It was hard to contain him.”Yet, St. John's (14-11, 5-7 Big East) still had a chance to win in the closing seconds. After Mason Jr. hit a three-pointer to make it 71-68 with 54 seconds left, Syracuse junior Josh Wright missed two free throws and Orange senior forward Darryl Watkins swooped in for the rebound. He did the same thing with 2:56 left and Syracuse (17-8, 6-5) up by 4.The Red Storm had another chance, down 74-71 with 16 seconds left, but junior Avery Patterson (12 points) missed a well-defended three.The game ended in a disappointing loss, but the mental toughness the Johnnies showed was a vast improvement over previous games in which they got down in the second half – blowout losses at Pittsburgh and against Georgetown come to mind.This time, Syracuse was up by six three times and St. John's fought back. There were 14 lead changes and six ties overall.”We took their blows and came back with another blow of our own,” said Lawrence.St. John's was a couple of stops of Nichols and an defensive rebound short of upsetting Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.”St. John's,” Boeheim said, “played as well as I think they've played since Chris Mullin.”

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