A quick take on Syracuse’s 77-66 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: Chris Jones’ layup with 13:50 left in the first half cut Syracuse’s lead to 14-8. From there, the Orange held Pitt scoreless until 5:12 left before intermission, and by then, SU had taken a 36-8 lead. The Orange led by double-digits the rest of the way in a surprisingly easy win over a Pitt team that had won five straight against SU. It was Syracuse’s second ACC win in a row after an embarrassing conference opener against Boston College.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has pushed the right buttons and has the Orange playing its best basketball of the season. The key adjustment has been giving control of the offense to John Gillon, and he has responded accordingly. For the second straight game, Gillon notched double-digit assists, consistently probing and penetrating the Pitt defense to help the Orange assist on 17 of its 28 baskets. Boeheim has completely cut Frank Howard and Dajuan Coleman from the rotation, and only played six players. It was Syracuse’s best performance on the season from both ends of the floor, with the Orange shooting over 50 percent from the field, and also from downtown, while it held the Panthers to 35.1 percent shooting.
HERO: Tyler Roberson, once shuttered away in Boeheim’s doghouse in non-conference play, has emerged as a force in the last two games. He came off the bench to collect 10 rebounds, five on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the two graduate transfers, Gillon and Andrew White combined for 41 points.
ZERO: Cameron Johnson shot 2-10 from the field and 1-7 from downtown, and finished with just seven points. Pitt as a team shot just 4-16 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse hits the road, and will play Virginia Tech on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. TV: ESPNU.