Saturday, January 28, 2017

Syracuse Upsets No. 6 Florida State

Story by Ashley Moore
Photo by Mike Drew

SYRACUSE, N.Y Syracuse outscored No. 6 Florida State by 18 points in the first half, then beat back a furious Seminoles' second half rally before cementing an 82-72 upset win with superb free throw shooting by John Gillon at the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon.

In the final minute of the game Gillon made 8-of-8 free throws to seal the deal for Syracuse.

“It’s the best first half we’ve had in a long time,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “And we kind of hung out there and were tough at the end.”

Upset Alert

With just short of 25,000 spectators in the stands, three lead changes in the first 12 minutes had Orange fans on the edge of their seats, as Syracuse (13-9, 5-4 ACC) went toe to toe with a top ten team. Florida State (18-4, 6-3) capitalized on nine offensive boards compared to the Orange’s two, but Syracuse’s shooting started to heat up.
Tyler Roberson sparked the team with an uncontested dunk, driving the crowd wild. With the energy from the fans, it was lights out from there. The Orange managed to pull away, going on a 20-6 run to end the half.

Tyler Lydon was active on the defensive end, tying a career-high six blocks in the first half.

A Tale of Two Halves

The Seminoles started the second half on a 25-10 run, rallying back to bring the lead within single digits, shooting 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Jonathan Isaac scored 16 points and added nine boards after managing to score just three points before halftime.

“We didn’t make a whole lot of adjustments at halftime, only thing we did was ask them to do what we had from the game plan in the beginning,” Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Our guys executed a lot better, defended a lot better but we dug such a hole for ourselves.”

Down the Stretch

With ten minutes left in the game, Lydon grabbed an offensive rebound from an Andrew White III missed three-pointer and slammed home a one-handed dunk to give Syracuse momentum. But Florida State’s Dwayne Bacon silenced the crowd, downing a three-pointer pulling FSU within two points.

Coming in Clutch

With three minutes left in the game, Syracuse led by just three but those final minutes belonged to Gillon as he scored 13 points compared to Florida State’s five. 

 “I was just at a point where it wasn’t an option for me to miss,” Gillon said. “I had to just do what I could for my team.”

Next Up

Syracuse heads to Raleigh Wednesday to face NC State, hoping to earn its first road win of the season. Florida State will look to snap a two-game losing streak Wednesday at Miami. 

Photos: Florida State vs. Syracuse

Text and photos by Mike Drew

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's been a season without a signature win for the Syracuse Orange. Until Saturday. Syracuse knocked off No. 6 Florida State 82-72 in the Carrier Dome. Here's a look at the game in photos. Click on any picture to start slide show.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Late Free Throws Help Orange Hold Off Wake Forest

Story by Robert Schiff

Photos by Ashley Moore

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - After two blowout losses at the hands of North Carolina and Notre Dame on the road, the Syracuse Orange men returned home to face Wake Forest on Tuesday night. In a season filled with blowouts and runaway victories, clutch free throws down the stretch helped Syracuse escape with the win, defeating the Demon Deacons in front of 22,262 fans, and improving its conference record to 4-4.

"We haven't been in any really close games," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. "When you get in one for the first time it's not always that easy, and they made really good plays when they had to. We've got to take this and build on it."

White Hot

Andrew White III provided an early spark for the Orange, draining his first three-pointer of the game with just over two minutes gone by. White then ended an 8-0 run by Wake Forest, and a three-minute scoring drought by the Orange with his second three, tying the game at ten. After five unanswered points from the Demon Deacons, White struck again, cutting the deficit to two. As the half wound down with Wake Forest clinging to a two-point lead, White connected on his fourth three-pointer of the half, putting the Orange up, 29-28.

The graduate transfer finished the first half with 16 of his team's 29 points. Despite the effort from White, Syracuse trailed 32-29 at the break.

Thompson Takeover

After a quiet first half (1-2 FG) in just five minutes of action, Syracuse freshman forward Taurean Thompson looked like a completely different player in the second half, scoring seven of his team's first nine points, capped off with a jumper that put the Orange up by one with 16:33 to go.

"The big man on Wake Forest didn't focus on getting back, which opened me a up a bunch of times," Thompson said.

"He came up with some great stops for us and was able to knock down some big shots," Tyler Lydon said. . "It really came down to everyone being active and being ready to play, and being clutch."

Coming Through in the Clutch

The last time the Orange played competitively down the stretch was almost two months ago at Madison Square Garden in a loss to UConn. On Tuesday night, Syracuse found itself in nearly uncharted waters against the Demon Deacons.

Sophomore center Doral Moore's slam with 10:23 left capped off an 6-0 run by Wake Forest, extending its lead to eight - its largest of the game. The Orange answered with a 5-0 run as John Gillon buried a three, cutting Wake Forest's lead in half.

After Brandon Childress missed the front end of a one-and-one, Lydon drained a three of his own, tying the game at 57 with 7:50 remaining. With Wake Forest ahead by two, the Orange proceeded to go on an 8-0 run, with two consecutive three-point plays - the first coming on a drive to the basket by Tyus Battle, followed by Gillon finding Thompson down low for the layup, and the foul. The Orange led 67-61 with 4:25 to go.

Just as the Orange began to gain some momentum, back stormed the Demon Deacons - this time with a 7-0 run of their own, as Mitchell Wilbekin's three-pointer with 2:33 left put Wake Forest back in front by one. The junior guard misfired on his next attempt from behind the arc, and White put the Orange back in front, for good. White's fifth three-pointer of the game gave Syracuse a three-point lead with 1:23 remaining.

After missing two free throws earlier in the second half, Thompson got a chance to redeem himself - this time, to ice the game. The New York City native hit both, putting Syracuse up by four with eight seconds left, sealing the deal for the Orange.

White led the way for Syracuse with 27 points on 5-for-11 shooting from behind the arc, and a perfect 10-for-10 from the line,  but Thompson was the story in the second half - scoring 16 of his 18 points.

Tale of Two Halves

In the first half, Wake Forest's John Collins (23 points, 12 rebounds) dominated the Orange on the glass. The sophomore forward was everywhere, having his way down low with putback after putback. Collins finished the first half with 13 points and nine rebounds - more than half of Syracuse's total at the break (15).

"Every game he's getting better and better," Boeheim said of Collins. "He's just got good hands, he takes his time, he finishes inside."

The Orange managed to contain Collins in the second half, holding him to only three rebounds, and winning the battle of the boards, 17-12. The Orange also took advantage of second-chance opportunities, scoring 13 points in the second half, and holding its opponent to just four.

"They made more plays the us down the stretch of the game in the second half," Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning said. "I think that they came up with some timely second-chance opportunities."

What Lies Ahead

With only ten games remaining before the ACC tournament begins, the Orange's toughest test of the year will come this Saturday, as Syracuse (12-9, 4-4 ACC) plays host to 6th ranked Florida State (18-2, 6-1 ACC). The Seminoles are coming off impressive wins against Notre Dame and Louisville, and are currently in 1st place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tipoff is at noon.

As for the Demon Deacons, (12-8, 3-5 ACC), they will head home to face the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Photos from Wake Forest vs. Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Syracuse Orange men held off Wake Forest in the last seconds with a clutch performance down the stretch from Freshman Tauren Thompson on Tuesday night. Here is a look atbthe game in photos by Ashley Moore. Click on any picture to start slide show.