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Big East Tournament 2011: Syracuse Outlasts St. John's With Big Second Half

The Syracuse Orange have earned themselves a spot in the Big East semifinals with a 79-73 win over St. John's University.

Syracuse got off to a quick start, taking a 14-5 lead in the first seven minutes of the game, but allowed the Red Storm to come back and tie the game at 20-all five minutes later. With the Orange experiencing a rash of bad free throw shooting and turnovers, St. John's kept the pressure on and managed to take a slim 37-32 lead into halftime. 

Now on upset alert, Syracuse came out of the break on fire, tying the game in the first five minutes of the quarter before scoring 11 points in the next 140 seconds, thanks largely to the efforts of junior Kris Joseph to take a seven point lead. St John's responded, however, going to the basket to score six easy points. 

The teams would trade buckets with neither side able to pull away, setting up freshman center Fab Melo to play the hero for the Orange with a pair of late-game layups. The first gave them a 70-68 lead, and the second, putting Syracuse up by four with just 30 seconds left, forced St. John's into a fouling situation. The Orange made their free throws, and took home the win.

The Syracuse Orange will face the UConn Huskies in the Big East Tournament semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, March 8 - First Round (ESPN2/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 16 DePaul, 97-71
No. 13 Rutgers def. No. 12 Seton Hall, 76-70 
No. 15 USF def. No. 10 Villanova, 70-69
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 14 Providence, 87-66

Wednesday, March 9 - Second Round (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 8 Georgetown, 79-62
No. 5 St. John's def. No. 13 Rutgers, 65-63
No. 7 Cincinnati def. No. 15 USF, 87-61
No. 11 Marquette def. No. 6 West Virginia, 67-61

Thursday, March 10 - Quarterfinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut def. No. 1 Pittsburgh, 76-74
No. 4 Syracuse (25-6) def. No. 5 St. John's, 79-73
No. 2 Notre Dame (25-5) vs. No. 7 Cincinnati 7 p.m.
No. 3 Louisville (23-8) vs. No. 11 Marquette 9 p.m.

Friday, March 11 - Semifinals (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 4 Syracuse 7 p.m.
Thursday evening winners 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 12 - Championship (ESPN/ESPN 3D)
Semifinal winners 9 p.m.