John Gillon’s transition three bounced about five times atop the rim on its way down in a cruel summons of defeat for the South Jamaican Kings. Boeheim’s Army, unable to build much more than an four point lead all afternoon, throttled their way up 20 in under one quarter behind his 9-for-10 marksmanship and won 90-73.
Eric Devendorf’s early drives inside sparked little more than free throws but for a stagnant Boeheim’s Army offense, reliant on chucking threes, it provided the basis for 44 percent three-point shooting needed to offset the Kings’ attack. A hefty Orange fan entourage present including Isis Young, Malachi Richardson and Tyus Battle stood through an early slog clapping through the Carrier Dome tradition.
The Syracuse Orange’s alumni squad went down 4-0 and attempted 20 threes on their way to nine outside makes. Brandon Triche’s early pair in the corner and up top established a lead that the team would struggle to maintain all half. Gillon poured in the ninth — up-faking on the left wing with hours of time to unleash — and when the ball spun through the net Boeheim’s Army led 41-40 at halftime.
Hakim Warrick used the spacing to smash down his first points after a career of over 500 NBA games out of SU, flying across the baseline for an early dunk. Nichols’ early attempts inside flipped to the perimeter where he converted 2-of-4.
The second began 23-20, as Cameron Tyler (18 points) continued to command a heavy dose of penetration for the Kings. Both teams traded shots throughout much of the frame, all the way to Iyoha Agho and Nichols’ threes that pulled the game to 34-31. Nichols’ second out of timeout gave the Army their largest lead of the half. Moments later he handed it back, jumping into Akeem Bennett on a three-point attempt.
Into the second half the game fell into a one-possession slog. Arinze Onuaku got into a driver for a tone-setting stop. Within minutes another outside splash by Gillon gave Boeheim’s Army breathing room up four. By the end of the third the Kings squandered into rhythmless possessions.
A late jammed possession produced a deep miss down 61-55. In the scramble for the loose rebound they’d get rolled outside again, producing another miss despite their recovery. Then James Southerland mauled Tyler in the back court to steal back another possession physically. To cap the third, Kris Joseph ran out all alone and timed his layup in transition to put his team up eight as the buzzer sounded.
The continued progression into a performance reminiscent of a roster that underwent a training camp in Syracuse flashed in the fourth. Gillon’s hook while getting bumped far away from the rim driving right got the crowd up but the ferocity of Southerland’s block on the three point line asserted absolute superiority.
Boeheim’s Army was on their way to a 17-3 run, capped by another three on the wing by Gillon. The Orange led 74-58 in a flash, the game essentially in hand with six minutes remaining.
At 83-65 it turned to its time-saving finale. The clock stopped and first team to 90 took hold, in an aim to stop the aggressive fouling by teams facing late deficits. Gillon got them there at the free throw line, finishing what he established.
Boeheim’s Army is back in action on Sunday afternoon as they play the winner of Team Fancy and Saints Alive with a scheduled tip at 4:40 pm.