Jonathan M. Alexander | The News & Observer

RALEIGH — Syracuse guard John Gillon had one of the most efficient games you’ll ever see against NC State Wednesday night at PNC Arena.

He scored 43 points on only 13 shot attempts. Nine of the 10 shots he made were 3-pointers. And he only missed one 3-pointer. He was 14 for 14 from the free-throw line. And when an NC State fan continued to heckle him throughout the game, saying he was “too short for basketball,” Gillon winked at him.

“He was hating too hard,” Gillon said after the game. “He needed to sit down so I played with him a little bit.”

Gillon is a journeyman. Before attending Syracuse as graduate student this year, Gillon had previous stops at Arkansas-Little Rock for one season, and Colorado State for two.

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Prior to Wednesday’s game, Gillon had hit 12 3-pointers in nine games of ACC play. And his previous career-high in points was 28 last season when he played for Colorado State.

But Wednesday night, Gillon was better than good. His 43 points were the most scored at PNC Arena ever. Yes, more than Steph Curry’s 40 points in 2008, and T.J. Warren’s 42 in 2014.

“Once I hit a few, I feel like I’m hot,” Gillon said.

Syracuse (14-9, 6-4 ACC) beat NC State (14-9, 3-7 ACC) 100-93.

Gillon said he first felt good during warm ups. Then when the game started, the Wolfpack left him open on a few shots. He said he started to heat up.

“They let me catch my groove and then,” he said pausing, “you saw the rest.”

Gillon’s biggest shot came when it mattered the most, in the final 10 seconds of the game. NC State forward Maverick Rowan had just hit a 3-pointer to put NC State up 87-84. The arena erupted.

And then, we saw the rest. Gillon answered back.

With 10 seconds left, Gillon dribbled the ball upcourt towards the left wing. He went around a teammate’s pick, which gave him just enough space for him to pull for the 3-pointer with just one second left on the clock.

It went off the back side of the rim and went in. Aside from the contingent of Syracuse fans in the arena, you might have heard a pen drop.

“It just came down to Gillon making an incredible shot,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We switched, Maverick had two hands in the air, and the kid even looked a little off-balance to me, and makes a three.”

When Syracuse was down 14 with eight minutes left in the game, Gillon knocked down four three-pointers in a span of three minutes to bring the Orange within two points. Three of those 3’s came on back-to-back-to-back possessions.

Smith and Rowan had huge games for NC State. Smith recorded his second triple-double of the season. Rowan scored a career-high in points. But that didn’t matter Wednesday night because Gillon was that good.

“He was out of this world today,” Gottfried said. “He played amazing.”

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he couldn’t recall an individual performance like Wednesday’s from Gillon.

“John has got it figured out,” Boeheim said. “It took him a while, but he is a good offensive player. That’s why we recruited him. He can shoot.”

The Wolfpack didn’t seem to know.

This article is written by Jonathan M. Alexander from The News & Observer and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network.


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