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John Gillon flipped the script on Syracuse’s point guard play against Miami

While one point guard played less than a minute, the other stepped up.

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Michigan at Syracuse
Syracuse Orange guard John Gillon takes a jump shot against Eastern Michigan earlier this season. The Orange won, 105-57.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative behind the Syracuse Orange’s point guard play this season has been simple: dominant against lesser opponents, but can’t rise to the occasion against better competition.

John Gillon flipped the script on Wednesday night against Miami at the Carrier Dome.

Gillon scored eight points and dished out 11 assists in SU’s 75-60 victory over the Hurricanes. He did, however, finish with five turnovers, too. But the Orange got its first ACC win of the season, and finally has something to smile about.

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Syracuse
Syracuse’s John Gillon guards Miami’s Ja’Quan Newton during the first half of Wednesday’s game. The Orange won, 70-55.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The graduate transfer played 39 minutes, including all 20 in the second half. Five of his 11 assists came in the second half as the Orange outscored the Hurricanes, 36-29.

“He played hard and brought a certain energy that we needed tonight,” sophomore Tyler Lydon said of Gillon’s game.

Gillon provided a spark for the Orange, but more importantly — he provided consistency.

Against Boston College on Sunday, Gillon went 2-for-10 from the field, had three assists and one turnover. The Orange lost by 15.

"We finally started listening to coach (after the Boston College loss),” Gillon said afterwards. “He's been doing this for 41 years."

He bounced back in a big way, and likely stole the starting point guard spot from Frank Howard, who only played one minute at the end of the first half.

If that is the case, Gillon deserved it. He stepped up in a spot when the Orange needed it the most. Frank Howard on the other hand, didn’t.

He was seen multiple times on the bench pouting and non-energetic. It was more noticeable when his teammates - Taurean Thompson and Dajuan Coleman - were jumping up and down, clapping and cheering on their teammates harder than ever.

But in reality, he has no one to blame but himself. Over the past three games (not including tonight), Howard’s combined for nine points, eight assists and eight turnovers.

It was time for a change. It was time for someone to step up, which Gillon did.

“I told (the team) we can’t lose,” Gillon said. “You’re going to have to take me out on a stretcher.”

Gillon’s 11 assists are a season-high and the five turnovers tied a season-high. It’s more than anyone would like, but the Orange got the win — and it’s something to build off of.


Syracuse (9-6, 1-1) returns to action on Saturday against Pittsburgh in the Carrier Dome. Tip off is scheduled at Noon ET.