NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Federico Mussini scored 17 points and St. John’s used some good shooting and superior rebounding to beat old Big East rival Syracuse 84-72 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The matchup was the first between the teams since Jan. 19, 1977, that Jim Boeheim was not coaching the Orange, a span of 63 games. This was the third of his nine-game suspension from the NCAA.
Amar Alibegovic, Durand Johnson and freshman Kassoum Yakwe all had 15 points for the Red Storm (7-3), who won their third straight and picked up a victory in a rivalry that has been favoring Syracuse in recent years.
The Orange had won nine of the previous 10 meetings, and they lead the overall series 51-39.
Michael Gbinije had 21 points to lead Syracuse (7-3), which has lost three of four.
Alibegovic had nine rebounds for St. John’s, which finished with a 51-36 advantage on the boards.
The Red Storm shot 30 of 61 from the field (49.2 percent), well above the 41 percent they came in averaging. St. John’s, which had been shooting 32.7 percent from 3-point range, went 12 of 24 on Sunday, with Mussini hitting five and Alibegovic and Johnson making three each.
Syracuse finished 24 of 67 from the field (35.8 percent), including 5 of 26 from 3-point range. Malachi Richardson missed all 11 of his 3-point attempts.
Syracuse: The Orange are 1-2 with Mike Hopkins as the interim head coach.
St. John’s: The Red Storm entered the game second in the NCAA with 7.2 blocks per game. Yankuba Sima is third nationally with 3.7. St. John’s had five blocks and Sima had three.
PLAYERS IN CHARGE
Both coaches were players in the Big East. Hopkins suited up for the Orange and Chris Mullin was a three-time conference player of the year at St. John’s.
Syracuse hosts Cornell on Saturday.
St. John’s hosts Incarnate Word on Friday.
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