John Gillon has an opportunity to end Syracuse’s point guard discussion

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ On Syracuse’s two most pivotal possessions against Wake Forest on Tuesday night, John Gillon generated the offense.With a minute and a half remaining, he drove the lane to suck in the defense. Then he kicked the ball out to Tyler Lydon at the top of the key, who passed it to Tyus Battle, who passed it to Andrew White, who hit a 3 to give SU the lead for good.The next possession, Gillon dribbled at the top of the key and drew two Demon Deacons. Then he passed to Lydon on the left wing for another 3-pointer. Gillon ran the point the way he’s shown potential to throughout the season. But Tuesday night was the first time he helped lead Syracuse to a single-digit victory.“The point guard is the guy who has the ball the most,” Lydon said, “so he needs to lead the team.”Gillon’s struggles have been magnified by the Orange’s (12-9, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) up-and-down season. While he’s played more of late, SU still hasn’t found consistency at the point guard spot. His play against Wake Forest showed another glimpse, one that Syracuse will likely need in order to upend No. 6 Florida State (18-3, 6-2) on Saturday at noon in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter the Orange’s 17-point loss at No. 9 North Carolina, SU head coach Jim Boeheim said, “What’s the difference?” when asked about playing Gillon over fellow point guard Frank Howard. Five days after that, Gillon played just 10 minutes compared to Howard’s 29 in an 18-point loss at then-No. 15 Notre Dame.Ally Moreo | Photo EditorWhen Gillon subbed in with 10 and a half minutes remaining against Wake Forest, Syracuse trailed by six. The next time he subbed out for Howard was with nine seconds left and the Orange held a three-point lead. Finally, after three games of lackluster offense, one of Boeheim’s point guards made something happen.“I think John made some good plays at the end,” Boeheim said. “We’re just not getting enough out of those guys.”Time and again this season, Gillon’s performance hasn’t been good enough to take down the upper-echelon opponents on SU’s schedule. South Carolina shut off passing lanes to the perimeter. Wisconsin limited Syracuse’s ball movement. Virginia Tech eliminated the pick-and-roll, and afterward Boeheim said his point guards stooped to a season-worst. Gillon said he didn’t know how the floor spacing could be fixed after the 10-point loss in Blacksburg, Virginia.Florida State ranks 25th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, per Kenpom.com. Gillon will have to step up to prevent the Orange from suffering a similar fate against another top defense. In 12 wins, Gillon has gone 42-of-89 from the field with 6.3 assists per game. In losses, Gillon is 14-of-59 from the field with 3.1 assists per game.What gives Syracuse hope is what Gillon did against Wake Forest with the game on the line. In the last 10 minutes, he recorded four assists, four points and just one turnover.“I didn’t really think too much,” Gillon said. “I just knew I had to make plays.”Gillon said he told his teammates to give him the ball down the stretch. He told them not to worry. He pledged to do his job as the floor general.Boeheim said Gillon needs to “mix it up,” between scoring and passing when he drives to the basket. Figuring out when to do which has been one of Gillon’s biggest challenges all season.Some games, Gillon’s been effective. Others, he hasn’t. And just like Syracuse all season, there’s no telling what’s to come.“That’s all I can promise you,” Gillon said. “I’m gonna go hard.” Comments Published on January 26, 2017 at 10:42 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img

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