Melo returns to lead Syracuse past St. John’s
Fab Melo returned to the lineup and No. 2 Syracuse returned to dominant form in a 95-70 rout at St. John’s on Saturday. Melo, who missed three straight games due to academic issues, scored a career-high 14 points, added two blocks and provided a massive presence in the middle of the floor. Syracuse (23-1, 10-1 Big East) went 2-1 in the 7-footer’s absence but were outrebounded by double figures in a pair of those contests. By halftime at Madison Square Garden, though, the Orange were plus-18 points in the paint and plus-12 in rebounding, helping push Jim Boeheim into a tie with Dean Smith at No. 3 on the all-time wins list with No. 879. Melo was just one of five scorers in double figures for Syracuse, which spread out a 15-0 run over both sides of halftime to take a commanding 50-27 lead with 16:42 left. The depth and speed of the Orange outran the Red Storm in the open floor, as ferocious dunks by Michael Carter-Williams and Dion Waiters signified the Big East’s best team was back in top form. D’Angelo Harrison had a game-high 23 points for St. John’s (10-13, 4-7 Big East), but the team full of underclassmen allowed Syracuse to shoot 55.7 percent. The loss snapped a two-game conference winning streak, as the Johnnies fell to 0-9 against ranked opponents.