Afterthoughts: Even after respite of hope, Syracuse’s point guard play remains an issue

first_img Published on January 12, 2017 at 11:40 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds BLACKSBURG, Va. — John Gillon stood on the Syracuse sideline hunched over in ready position expecting to enter the game. He wanted to be the one to guide the Orange’s offense and lead SU to what could have been its best win of the year.Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim didn’t adhere. He remained with Frank Howard at point guard in the final minute of the game. But regardless of whom Boeheim went with, coming back from a 15-point second-half deficit was improbable. Even if Gillon did return to provide a spark, it likely would have been too late.At the beginning of the year, figuring out the point guard spot was one of the Orange’s (10-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) primary objectives. And after John Gillon averaged 14 points and 11 assists in his last two games, it seemed as though SU had finally solved the puzzle. But an 83-73 loss to Virginia Tech (13-3, 2-2) on Tuesday night illuminated more struggles.“Our point guard play has been really good and was as bad as it’s ever been tonight,” Boeheim said. “I don’t have an explanation for that. We have two really good games and the first half, John was 0-for-3 with no assists and two turnovers. Can’t play that way. Can’t play that way.”Frank Howard came off the bench to relieve Gillon for 13 minutes and was equally as ineffective. The duo combined to shoot 3-for-14 from the field with seven assists and two turnovers. By going with Gillon for all but one minute in the previous two games, the Orange received its best point guard production of the season. And just two days after guard output headed in the right direction, it came to a halt.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat’s not to say that Gillon and Howard can’t bounce back, because they certainly can. But as SU’s NCAA Tournament hopes dwindle with each loss, every regression is magnified.“I let us down. I didn’t play how I needed to play,” Gillon said. “I didn’t play to the standard that we need to win and just do whatever I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again, just play with the same aggression and that hurt us.”Gillon had been at his best when driving strong to the basket. That’s what freed him up for open shots on the perimeter and forced defenses to collapse, leading to more open shots from teammates.Except against Virginia Tech, Gillon’s drives didn’t kick start the offense how it usually had. Within a five-minute span at the end of the first half, Gillon shot a layup that didn’t even touch the rim, had a shot blocked under the basket and, with a chance to cut the game to four points before halftime, committed a travel. Howard, meanwhile, went 1-for-5 from the field and didn’t bring the stability SU was looking for.“He was trying to prove he can’t shoot jump shots,” Boeheim said of Howard. “And he did, he did that.”All of this leaves Syracuse right back where it sat 10 days ago, coming off a humiliating loss to Boston College. That was before Gillon played 79 of 80 minutes in a two-game stretch, back when SU hadn’t found the right formula it had been searching for since November.Last week, that changed. Gillon is its best option, but only when he can get to the rim, set up teammates and command the offense. The Orange has an answer — but that doesn’t matter if he’s inconsistent.“I just don’t think he made any positive plays in 13 or 14 minutes,” Boeheim said of Gillon.After a brief glimmer of hope, Syracuse can’t afford that.—Asst. Photo Editor Colin Davy, cpdavy@syr.edu, contributed reporting to this article. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

O’Donnell Happy to be Involved after Injury

first_imgThe Cahir man started last weekend’s Six Nations draw with Wales but had to come off early with a head injury although it’s likely that he’ll be available for the France match on Saturday.Last August he suffered a serious hip injury in a World Cup warm-up match in Cardiff.Tommy believes this incident has made him value the opportunities he’s getting at the moment even more. Meanwhile, we may get a clearer picture of Ireland’s injury issues today ahead of Saturdays meeting with France in Paris.Coach Joe Schmidt will oversee a light session as Rob Kearney, Sean O’Brien and Mike Ross all hope to return to the side having missed Sundays draw with Wales.last_img read more

Noah Syndergaard blasts Mets’ travel schedule, Jacob deGrom extension talks

first_imgWhen it came to deGrom’s extension talks, Syndergaard questioned why the two sides haven’t reached a deal yet. deGrom said Saturday he was less optimistic he would have a new contract by Opening Day.”Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want to keep him happy, so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all this fuss and pay the man already,” Syndergaard told reporters, via ESPN.DeGrom, the reigning National League Cy Young winner, is scheduled to become a free agent in 2021. Indians’ Trevor Bauer claps back at reporter after Corey Kluber named Opening Day starter Instead, the team will start its trip from their spring training home of Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Sunday with a three-hour bus ride to Sarasota for their final spring training game against the Orioles. Then, the Mets will fly to have a workout in Syracuse, New York, before later heading out to Washington D.C. for Thursday’s game.Syndergaard’s main takeaway: “I don’t think that’s what championship teams do.”  Related News Noah Syndergaard didn’t hold back when asked about the Mets’ upcoming travel plans and his thoughts on Jacob deGrom’s extension talks. ESPN notes the Mets don’t have any plans to return to New York City before Thursday’s season opener against the Nationals. Take a look at the exchange between Syndergaard and reporters Sunday (via The Athletic):Reporter: You’re a big fan of that schedule?Syndergaard: “I don’t know whose idea that was, but it’s not a smart one. I don’t think that’s conducive for winning ballgames, really – that much travel. I mean, I’m sure the amenities in Syracuse aren’t the best for a major-league baseball team to go up there and have one last workout before the regular season starts, but those kind of decision are above my paygrade.”Reporter: Are you looking forward to going to Syracuse?Syndergaard: “Not even the slightest bit.”Reporter: Plus you’ve got a long bus ride to Sarasota. Syndergaard: “Cant forget that. Thanks for reminding me. It’s great. I can’t wait. Makes a lot of sense.”last_img read more