Brooklyn, N.Y. - Trailing by four points with less than six minutes to go, the game was certainly in question. Boeheim’s Army — the group of former Syracuse Orange ballers — needed to make something happen if it wanted to advance to the second weekend of The Basketball Tournament.
Already coming off a stellar performance from the night prior, John Gillon made that thing happen down the stretch. He led the fast break streaking up the righthand side of the court, looked as though he was going to pass to Brandon Triche who was filling the lane on the left side of the court and instead shoveled it to Hakim Warrick who was trailing the play for an emphatic slam.
My man @hdubb21 knows how to throw it DOWN! @BoeheimsArmy #TBT2018 pic.twitter.com/V0CkfYrV0i— TBT (@thetournament) July 22, 2018
“It was huge obviously with the momentum. It was a great play being down four to cut it two, getting the crowd back involved,” Coach Ryan Blackwell said of Gillon’s pass to Warrick. “Yeah that was a huge play for us.”
From then on, momentum shifted in favor of Boeheim’s Army as the team went on to win on a Demetris Nichols game-winning three with the Elam Ending in effect.
After the shovel to Warrick, Gillon was credited with an assist to Arinze Onuaku for a dunk that knotted the game at 50-all. Beyond that, he was as good as it gets in crunch time, converting on four-of-four free throws to give the Army separation and eventually assisting on the Nichols game-winning three.
“It just happened. In transition they lost me and John did a great job of getting in the middle to suck the defense in and that’s basketball. He made the right play and I obviously made the right shot,” Demetris Nichols said of the game’s final play.
Here you go! The Demetris Nichols game-winning triple. pic.twitter.com/tEGiekjab0— James Szuba (@JamesSzuba) July 22, 2018
Gillon has been known to make big plays in big moments — he certainly made the right reads in the game’s final moments, especially on the last play when he kicked to Nichols in the corner. You’ll also recall the shot he hit against Duke to win at the Carrier Dome in 2017.
As for D-Nic, it would be wise for opponents to chase him off the perimeter. He’s shooting a torrid 66.6 percent (8/12) from deep in TBT.