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Syracuse takes care of much-needed win late vs. Florida State

It was a nail biter but the Orange did what they had to do down the stretch.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Syracuse
Tyler Lydon did it all today.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

What. A. Game.

That was something special. The Syracuse Orange held off the No. 6 Florida State Seminoles’ comeback bid on Saturday. The Orange went on to win 82-72, moving them to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in ACC play. The game featured a dominant first half that found the Orange up by 18, but a talented Seminoles team made a push at the end, but it was too little too late.

John Gillon starred down the stretch as Andrew White III and Tyler Lydon helped sustain the Orange’s lead. Gillon finished with 21 points and 11 assists, his second double-double of the season. His stellar play in the final few minutes helped the Orange pull off the win.

“Huge win. I knew we could do it, I told everyone if we play the right way we can beat anybody,” Gillon said about the resume-building win. “I’m going to keep believing in us and not worry about any outside noise.”

Gillon’s pick and roll play down the stretch created easy shots for himself and his teammates, one teammate in particular being Lydon. Lydon started slow but picked it up as the game went by, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks. His balanced performance helped the orange set the pace throughout the entirety of the game.

“This one definitely feels good. To be in front of our home fans and everything, overall it feels good,” Lydon said on the team’s performance. Lydon’s put-back dunk was the highlight of the game, but without his defense the Orange would’ve had no chance of staying in this game.

“He’s one of the best defensive players we’ve ever had in the middle,” coach Jim Boeheim said on Lydon’s defensive performance. “He covers more people, more ground, and still can block shots.”

Lydon’s slow start to the season is in the rear view mirror as his recent play proves why he was on the preseason Wooden Award top 50 list. His all around game is what makes him such a vital piece to Boeheim’s system, and when it’s working to perfection Lydon is likely the main reason why.

The other star of the night was Andrew White III who led the game with 24 points while tallying nine rebounds too. White has been a steady offensive force for the Orange as his knock down three was on display once again.

“You never want to get too confident, especially playing in the ACC,” White said about SU’s recent success. “It’s two wins, much needed, so we’re going to enjoy these but hopefully we can use this to keep us in the right direction.”

The Orange head on the road as they continue ACC play against NC State on Wednesday. Syracuse has struggled on the road this season, but if they want to keep their March dreams alive, a win against the Wolfpack is a must.