Miami drops Syracuse from ACC Tournament after Gillon's final shot off the mark
If we can say anything about this year's Syracuse men's basketball team, it's that it certainly has a flair for the dramatics.
If you were to put the ball in the hands of any one SU basketball player, in the final seconds, with the game on the line, it would be without question, John Gillon.
The senior graduate transfer began slow out of the gate as the Orange dug through their collective roles as a team, but once he emerged as the team's starting point guard, he took off.
Late-game shots against North Carolina State and Duke put Gillon into an allure of SU basketball legends who lifted the Orange up when they needed it most.
On Wednesday afternoon, Gillon had a chance to make it happen -- one more time.
"It was a little off balance," Gillon responded following the loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament. "There's only so good of a shot you can get with that much time on the clock, but I still had a good look. It just didn't come off my hand right and I didn't make it.
"I think every shot is going in, but once I saw it was a little off, I tried to scream it out but we didn't get the rebound," he added.
The Orange met Miami in the 8-versus-9 matchup from the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. With this year's tournament being played from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, plenty of SU fans made their way to the game to support the Orange.
Syracuse began on a 4-0 run due to a pair of baskets from Taurean Thompson.
However, after that, the Hurricanes exploded on a 10-0 run to take the early lead.
The game eventually evened out, as Andrew White III found his shooting stroke. White III poured in 13 points in the first half alone, as the Orange trailed 36-28 at the break.
Syracuse started fast to begin the second half, as Gillon aided in a run that eventually saw the Orange take back the lead on a Tyus Battle three-pointer from the corner.
From that point on, the Orange and Hurricanes traded blows in perhaps the most competitive game of this year's league tournament.
Miami held a 57-52 lead with under a minute remaining, which is when Gillon took things into his own hands.
Gillon's three-pointer cut the deficit down to a one possession game. Both teams traded baskets, and trailing by two, the Orange sent Davon Reed to the free throw line.
If successful on both free throws, Miami would have put the game on ice.
However, Reed made the first, but missed the second.
With 7.7 seconds remaining, that's when Gillon raced down the floor and heaved up a pull-up three from the top of the arc, which was ultimately no good.
As a result, the Orange had been bounced from the second round of the ACC Tournament, 62-57.
"Any time with that [amount of] time left on the clock, like the Duke game and at Clemson, he's going to go up and shoot it," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said of Gillon's final shot following the game. "You don't have a lot of time to make a lot of plays or pass the ball there. He can get a good shot in that situation. He's made two of them this year. It just wasn't in the cards to make the third one. It was the absolute right play."
The loss drops Syracuse to 18-14 overall, while also raising more questions surrounding its NCAA Tournament chances.
Boeheim added his two cents on if the Orange have done enough to earn an at-large berth in the big dance.
"I know our profile is better this year than it was last year, in terms of top wins," he said. "I think the committee, from what I've gathered over my years, is looking for teams that can win games in the tournament. I think we can. I think if you look at today and see we lost to Miami -- well Miami was a top 25 team in the country last [week]. It came down to a one-point game and that was it. One game? That shouldn't mean anything."
The Orange will now wait until Selection Sunday, this Sunday, as the brackets are revealed on CBS-5. Syracuse will learn whether it's headed to the big dance, or preparing to host a game in the NIT.