Syracuse finds offensive balance, breaks free fall against Eastern Michigan

Gillon finished with nine assists
Gillon finished with nine assists

Syracuse came out shooting Monday night with a fury that didn’t let up until the final buzzer.

Coming off a crushing loss to Georgetown on Saturday, the Orange found redemption in a 105-57 victory against Eastern Michigan. It was Syracuse’s second triple-digit game of the season, with eight players in double-digits.

The offensive explosion was keyed by passing, with 34 of SU’s 37 baskets off assisted plays. Frank Howard led the team with 11 assists and John Gillon followed with nine.

“It’s what we’ve been working on all week, that chemistry. Getting everyone the ball,” Howard said. “We’re moving the ball a lot faster, picking up our pace. It worked for us.”

For one game, it certainly did.

“Today, how we played is how we have to play every game,” guard Tyus Battle said. “Get everyone involved. We know everyone can score the ball on this team. When we get them in the right spots and get shots, they’ll knock it down.”

Battle and Tyler Lydon led the charge in the first half, scoring 12 and 10 points respectively. Lydon went 2-2 beyond the beyond the arc, while Battle also recorded a pair of 3s.

» Related: Syracuse ends losing ways against Eastern Michigan

Midway through the first half, Lydon was the beneficiary of a stunning behind the back pass from Taurean Thompson, which he jammed home.

“Taurean and Lydon did a good job of dishing the ball,” forward Andrew White said. “They set the trend and the style of play that we were going to use for the night, which was unselfishness and sharing the ball.”

Near the end of the half, Lydon came up limping after going for a rebound. With Lydon out for the rest of the game with a strained Achilles, others stepped up.

DaJuan Coleman contributed as he forcefully put down a pass from Gillon to close the half. Heading into the locker, the Orange held a commanding 54-24 lead.

Coleman continued the Orange scoring spree in the second with a layup plus a foul. Consecutive 3-point shots by Howard and White propelled the Orange to a 40-point lead over the Eagles.

As the half progressed, Syracuse continued to pile on the points with efficiency and equity. White, Gillon, Coleman, and Roberson all found themselves with 10 or more points.

Howard was the seventh to get to double digits after making a pair of free throws. Thompson joined the double-digit club after he drilled a jumper to reach 11 points, while giving SU a 96-55 advantage.

“We all went in, played together, and played hard,” Gillon said. “We played how we should.”

With roughly two minutes left, a steal by Thompson led to a thunderous Battle dunk to cross Syracuse over the century mark.

“We made some shots tonight, we’re still making some mistakes that we want to try to eliminate, but we made a lot of shots,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “When we got the ball in the right places, we got some good really good looks […] We get those open looks, we can make those.”

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About Nick Salamone 26 Articles
Nick is a 2012 graduate of SUNY Geneseo, where he majored in history. He covers Syracuse football, lacrosse and basketball. Currently he is working on earning his master's degree through Norwich University.