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Freshman center leads Syracuse over St. John’s

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NEW YORK — Freshman center Fab Melo scored a career-high 12 points, including two layups in the final 2 minutes, and No. 11 Syracuse beat No. 17 St. John's 79-73 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.

Brandon Triche had a season-high 22 points for the fourth-seeded Orange (26-6), who will meet ninth-seeded and 21st-ranked Connecticut (24-9) in the semifinals Friday night. The Huskies beat top-seeded Pittsburgh 76-74 on Kemba Walker's buzzer-beating jumper Thursday.

Melo, a 7-foot native of Brazil who has been inconsistent in his rookie season, gave the Orange the lead for good at 70-68 with a layup off an inbounds pass with 2 minutes left.

He added another layup on a bounce pass from Triche that made it 74-70 with 32 seconds left.

Dwight Hardy had 22 points for the Red Storm (21-11), who advanced to the quarterfinals with a controversial second-round win over Rutgers.