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Deeper Dive: Syracuse Gets Signature Win

Breaking down Syracuse's 82-72 win over No. 6 Florida State.

Top Performer: For as much flack as John Gillon has received this season, and some of it deservingly so, he carried Syracuse down the stretch. After Florida State cut the lead to just two with 6:29 remaining, Gillon scored 13 points on 11-12 shooting from the free-throw line, had one assist and one rebound while not turning it over. Overall, Gillon finished with 21 points, 11 assists and just two turnovers. He added one block and one steal. The key play for Gillon came with 1:21 left. After the Seminoles had cut the Orange lead to just two once again, Gillon let the shot block wind down, beat his man off the dribble, attacked the basket, and finished with a pretty layup at the rim to push the lead to four. FSU would not get closer the rest of the game.  

Bottom Feeder: In just seven minutes of action, Taurean Thompson racked up four fouls and made only one of his four shots. He is not quite ready defensively for a game like this against a team with so much size and depth in their front court. 

Stat of the Game: Rebounding. Syracuse won the battle of the boards 42-39 against a good rebounding team. The Orange, however, have been one of the worst teams in the ACC in rebounding margin. Given Florida State's size and talent on their front court, this was huge for Syracuse. Tyler Lydon grabbed 11 boards, Tyler Roberson had seven and even Andrew White was active on the boards with nine. It was maybe their best rebounding performance of the season, given the circumstances.  

Turning Point: As noted in the breakdown of Gillon's performance, his layup with the shot block winding down among the trees with 1:21 left gave Syracuse momentum back after Florida State had trimmed the lead to two once again. Gillon was absolutely huge for the Orange down the stretch, and no play was more important than that one. A missed layup gives FSU the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead. Instead, the Seminoles did not score again until the game was already out of reach. 

He Said It: "He made a great drive on that one. He's been missing that drive a lot, but he made that one bucket. That was a big play. Then, he made his free-throws." - Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim on John Gillon.

Five Takeaways:

  1. Point guard play has been the subject of a lot of discussion with this year's Syracuse squad. Gillon provided really strong play in this one. Eleven assists to just two turnovers was exceptional, as were his 21 points, 13 of which came in the last six minutes on 11 free-throws. Especially down the stretch, Gillon was fantastic. If he gives Syracuse more consistent play going forward, it makes the Orange a completely different team.  
  2. Yes Andrew White scored 24 points to lead all scorers, but his biggest impact was on the other end. Four steals and nine rebounds show that he is getting more comfortable on the defensive end. Syracuse needs him to contribute there. With his length, he should get more deflections than he has had previously. He showed a lot of positive signs in this one.  
  3. How good was Tyler Lydon again? He only took eight shots, but he seemed to make big plays at critical times. He scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked six shots. It could be argued he should take more shots, but he does not force things. And he had a big time defensive performance.   
  4. Tyus Battle had a big impact for the second straight game despite not shooting well. Battle had four rebounds, four assists and three steals. The freshman's game continues to grow. 
  5. Syracuse got their signature win. A win over the No. 6 team in the country is huge. The Orange now sits at 5-4 in ACC play and are just one game back of third place in the conference. The next step is taking that effort on the road. Playing at NC State looms. A win against the Wolfpack could really allow Syracuse to gain some momentum and string a series of wins together. The NCAA Tournament is still in play. 

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