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Syracuse ends road woes behind John Gillon’s 43 points in 100-93 OT win at N.C. State

first_img“He was hating too hard and he had to sit down,” Gillon said, “so I just played with him a little bit.”Before he straddled the line between cockiness and confidence, before he sunk a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, before he did anything that will go down in the Syracuse history books, Gillon was tasked with helping lock down one of the best players in the country. Dennis Smith Jr., the N.C. State freshman point guard projected as a top-five NBA Draft pick, took only two shots in the first half and had five points to show for it. Sure, he created in other ways, but Gillon won the battle of the floor generals with 16 points in the first 20 minutes.As Smith began showing why he would probably be in the national player of the year conversation if the Wolfpack was better (he finished with a triple-double at 13 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds), Gillon and Syracuse fell deeper into the misery that has so often been right by its side away from home. Down 16 and under nine minutes left, Syracuse looked lifeless. Double-digit losses awaited, and it was only the first day of February.One Gillon 3-pointer and Syracuse wouldn’t totally throw in the towel, now down 11. Two, and now it just seemed like a tease, down seven. A third, and all of a sudden a four-point game. Not a fourth, right? Oh yes, a fourth. N.C. State up one, 77-76, Gillon only foreshadowing what was next.“That was crazy,” freshman Tyus Battle said. “He was extremely hot.”Syracuse didn’t tie the game until Gillon’s pair of free throws with 39 seconds left. But in short order, Maverick Rowan canned a corner 3 with just over 10 seconds remaining, putting the Wolfpack ahead, 87-84 .Andrew White was too close, actually, but it turned out to give Gillon just enough space. It looked like a broken play, Gillon trapped near the corner between White and Rowan. The latter stuck his hand mere inches from Gillon’s face, but it wasn’t enough. Somehow, Gillon hit it. With the night he was having, of course he did. “A near impossible shot,” according to Boeheim.“When he started dribbling to the sideline, I was like, ‘Oh no, what are you doing?’ but then when he put it up and he double-clutched it and I saw it go in, I went crazy,” Battle said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s big time right there.’”Gillon only scored from the foul line in overtime, four times, but his work was already done. After the game, he embraced with the man whose mark he tied, and McNamara told Gillon it was one of the best individual shows he’s ever seen.As he hopped through the tunnel after the game, Gillon couldn’t help but flash a wide grin. He high-fived and chest-bumped Tyler Lydon, before continuing into the bowels of an arena he may never step foot in again but one he now owns.“I told y’all we could get ‘em,” he said. Comments Published on February 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidman RALEIGH, N.C. — Most Syracuse players stood while John Gillon slumped in a chair in the middle of Syracuse’s locker room, almost as if he was hiding from the spotlight. He tried masking a smirk every time his teammates barked at him. His phone was blowing up, at 50 messages but bound to skyrocket well beyond that.“Are you guys looking for John Gillon? That’s him, right there.”“Hold up John. How many points you have?”“He was shootin’ on them motherf*ckers!”Forty-three points. Thirteen shots. One herculean effort to bring Syracuse back from the dead. Gillon’s nine 3-pointers tied an SU single-game record and broke the PNC Arena mark set by two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry when he was at Davidson. The fifth-year senior’s 43 points were tied for the fourth most in program history and the most by a Syracuse player since 2004, when Gerry McNamara exploded for 43 against BYU in the NCAA Tournament. Jim Boeheim said this was better.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange hadn’t won away from home since the end of last season after coming back from 16 down in the second half to top Virginia in the Elite Eight. With 8:44 remaining on Wednesday, Syracuse trailed by 16 again. But with a wink, a heave and one of the best performances in program history, Gillon carried the Orange (14-9, 6-4 Atlantic Coast) to a 100-93 overtime win over North Carolina State (14-9, 3-7) for SU’s first win away from the Carrier Dome this season.“I don’t think I can remember one like that,” Boeheim said. “That was pretty good.”Gillon’s night can be summed up in one bat of the eye. After drawing a foul on a drive to the rim, and before he walked to the line with Syracuse down 84-82 and 39 seconds left, Gillon heard a fan sitting courtside blurting curse words in his direction. Gillon circled toward the fan, looked him square in the eye and winked with his right eye. Then he stepped to the line and hit a pair of foul shots to tie the game.MORE COVERAGE What we learned from Syracuse’s 100-93 victory over North Carolina StateFan reactions from Syracuse’s 100-93 win against North Carolina Statecenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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