SU Basketball: Syracuse vs Boston University

Thompson, Gillon combine for 45 points in Syracuse men's basketball's victory over Boston University

SU totals 55 bench points in 99-77 win at the Carrier Dome

John Gillon and Taurean Thompson came off the bench and combined for 45 points to lead the Syracuse men’s basketball team past Boston University, 99-77, on Saturday afternoon.

Gillon finished with 23 points and did most of his work from behind the 3-point line, knocking down six of his seven shots from downtown. Thompson totaled 22, shot 10-of-13 from the field and added his first career triple as well.

Photo: Jonathan Colon
John Gillon sizes up a Boston defender Saturday at the Carrier Dome where the Orange defeated the Terriers 99-77.

“We were fortunate that we got such good offensive production off the bench today,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “That was how we got control of the game.”

Thompson was also very active on the glass. He grabbed seven total rebounds and was particularly aggressive on the offensive boards. He worked hard to keep one ball alive which ended with a Tyus Battle 3-pointer early in the first half, and later he was able to snag a rebound after a few unsuccessful tips and finish a layup. Four of his seven rebounds were on that end of the floor.

“I just try to impact the game in every aspect of the game. Rebounds, blocks, defense, everywhere,” Thompson said. “I just try to keep pushing it.”

Gillon also impacted the game in other ways. He added four assists, one of which came on a nice pump fake and drive that led to a Thompson dunk late in the first half. Gillon also tallied two steals.

Syracuse (6-3) was down by eight at the 12:53 mark, but then Gillon took over. He was four of four on 3-point attempts in the first half and finished the period with 14 points. Thompson scored 12 of his 22 in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

“Once you hit shots, your confidence goes up,” Gillon said. “So I try to stay on an even keel, even if I’m hitting shots I don’t want to celebrate too much. I just want to get back on defense and not let things affect your confidence.”

This Syracuse team is unlike past Syracuse teams. Boeheim has nine players he can call upon to contribute in some way on any given night. That could be huge for the Orange as ACC play approaches.

“We have five starters like everyone else, but where we could be a different team is our guys coming off the bench because we have starter-level players coming off,” said Andrew White III, who had 19 points and shot 56 percent from 3-point range.

The offensive production is just what the Orange needed after struggling to score in its past few games, particularly in a loss to Connecticut on Monday, when SU only scored 50 points.

The Orange had four players reach double-figures against BU, with Gillon, Thompson, and White joined by Tyler Lydon, who recorded 10 points. But defense is still an issue for Boeheim’s squad as BU guard Cedric Hankerson recorded a game-high 34 points and hit 10 shots from behind the arc.

“I thought it was disappointing to let one guy get that many looks,” Boeheim said.

After sitting out the last two games, Boeheim brought Paschal Chukwu into the game early in the first half. In 10 minutes, the big man had four points, four rebounds, and three blocks. Boeheim still says that he’s not ready offensively, but he can be a big factor in helping the Orange on defense.

“We’re trying to get Paschal some minutes when we can,” Boeheim said. “He’s not quite ready yet, but he can change shots when he’s in there.”

Boston University (4-6) kept the game close early and was only down by six at halftime, 45-39. But they were outscored by Syracuse in the second half, 54-38, despite five 3-pointers from Hankerson in the period. The Terriers won the rebounding battle 42-38, and as a team hit 16 shots from behind the arc.

The Orange will now turn its attention to rival Georgetown on Saturday. SU fell to the Hoyas, 79-72 in Washington D.C. a season ago.

“When you talk about Syracuse-Georgetown, it’s going to be one of the biggest games of the year,” White said. “Carrier Dome is going to be packed. I’m looking forward to seeing it in its true venue and everything that they amp it up to be. I’m looking forward to being a part of.”

Tip-off on Saturday is scheduled for noon at the Carrier Dome. 

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