Big-time players make important plays in big moments. Today, John Gillon proved that. The Syracuse Orange pulled off a stunner on Saturday, taking down the sixth-ranked Florida State Seminoles with an 82-72 win. It was a team effort, as all who played brought something to the table. But Gillon stole the show down the stretch with countless clutch plays.
Gillon finished with 21 points and 11 assists, his second double-double of the season. From the tip, Gillon set the tempo for the Orange, pushing the ball on fast breaks that led to easy baskets. His ability to carve up the defense by getting low to the floor helped create space for not only himself, but his teammates too.
The six-foot point guard found shooter after shooter as the defense collapsed on him when he punctured the lane. Gillon didn’t find most of his points from under the basket, instead he dominated from the free-throw line, hitting 13 of his 14 attempts. Down the stretch the Orange went to Gillon as he utilized the pick and roll to perfection.
Gillon’s ability to make the right play was showcased today as he helped Andrew White III and Tyler Lydon have “star-like” performances again. White and Lydon combined for 35 points and 20 rebounds as it seemed as if they were the only two scoring for a large chunk of the game.
Gillon managed to only commit two turnovers, an impressive stat to go along with his 11 assists. Syracuse needs a tone-setter to pull of wins like today’s, and with the Colorado State transfer running the show, the Orange were in good hands today.
While he did struggle a bit from the field, shooting 3-8 overall, Gillon knew what to do with the ball in his hands. He knew he could get the defense to jump, allowing him to get to the line, and if they played back he was able to find the open man.
The team defense was amazing against the Seminoles as the Orange racked up 11 steals and nine blocks. Gillon contributed with only one steal and one block, but his ability to receive the outlet pass and crate the fast break mattered just as much. When the Orange get easy baskets in transition, they become a tough team to beat due to their ability to shoot the long-ball.
If you weren’t in the Carrier Dome today -- it was truly an amazing scene to witness. When Gillon went to the line to seal the game, the Dome was electric. Throughout the entire game the fans gave the Orange the boost they needed, but the boost that impacted them the most was Gillon’s ability to lead in the game’s closing minutes.