Syracuse Takes Down #10 Duke in Instant Classic
By Matt Reil
Syracuse, NY – Whether you think Syracuse versus Duke is a rivalry or not one thing is certain, when these two teams step onto the court together they always put on a show.
Wednesday night was no different as these two ACC foes brought the house down in the Carrier Dome. The Orange did what the Orange do and came back from 9 points down in the second half to upset the #10 Blue Devils, 78-75, on a John Gillon miracle three-point heave.
Syracuse (17-12, 9-7) fell behind by nine points to Duke (22-6, 10-5) after Luke Kennard swished in a triple with 18:54 left in the game. From that point on, it was the John Gillon and Tyus Battle show for SU.
The Cuse guards combined for 33 points in the second half as they sparked a stagnant Orange offense.
“We go as John Gillon goes pretty much, he’s been there,” Jim Boeheim said. “When he’s good, we haven’t lost. He was really good tonight.”
John Gillon may have been the star of the night, but the biggest news was Tyus Battle’s performance. The freshman guard looked healthy for the first time in five games and it showed.
“Tyus was the difference for our team tonight,” Boeheim said. “He was incredible.”
For Orange fans it was the third time this season they got to see their team upset a top-ten squad at home, and another court-storming came with it.
The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for an SU team that was sitting firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble after three straight losses. However, there is no doubt in some Syracuse players’ minds on if they should be included in the big dance.
“I think we should make the tournament,” Gillon said. “We have three wins against top-ten teams. We deserve to be in.”
Only time will tell if Syracuse can make another late season push and squeak into the field. They have two games, at Louisville and home against Georgia Tech, as well as the ACC tournament remaining.
If this game proves anything, it is that Jim Boeheim’s squad can beat any team on any given night and it’s all about expecting the unexpected.