Just last week Syracuse was struggling immensely. The Orange had opened the new year and ACC play with a deflating 15 point loss at Boston College. At that point Syracuse had an 8-6 record and started 0-1 in ACC play.
What a difference a week can make as Syracuse has returned home and gone 2-0 this week with wins over Miami as well as Pittsburgh. It was almost like Jim Boeheim flipped a switch and Syracuse started to play better defensively, but it’s not as if Boeheim didn’t make any changes, either.
When Miami came to town on Wednesday, Gillon moved into the starting point guard role. He played 39 minutes against Miami and today he didn’t come out of the game. Gillon has played extended minutes this season, but not exclusively at the point.
The move has worked as Gillon dished out a season high 11 assists on Wednesday and matched that performance today while scoring 20 points. More importantly, Syracuse earned quality victories over two formidable opponents.
“That’s just showing what we can do if we’re all playing hard and playing together,” Gillon said after the win over Pittsburgh.
Syracuse brought that intensity and togetherness and there’s no denying that Syracuse looks like a much improved ball club. That’s largely in connection with better point guard play as Gillon has dished out 22 assists in only one week by finding teammates in the right spots.
“They were all just hitting shots for me. They were all playing hard and they make my job easy by the way they play and the type of players they are and I’m thankful for them,” Gillon added.
Syracuse will need to continue hitting shots if it wants to win games in the ACC, but playing hard and together on the defensive end will be even more of an emphasis. The team and Gillon are not without its problems though. Syracuse eased off the gas in the second half against Pittsburgh and Gillon still had too many turnovers in the game. But if he continues to flip the script the way he did today and the Orange improve defensively, Syracuse can be competitive in the ACC.