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Tale of the Tape: Pitt at Syracuse

Breaking down the Pitt/Syracuse matchup

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Point Guard

John Gillon 6’0” Senior 8.8 PPG // 4.7 APG // 1.8 RPG

vs.

Jamel Artis 6’7” Senior 21.4 PPG // 3.5 APG // 5.9 RPG

Syracuse did not have a true point guard last season. Jim Boeheim brought on Colorado State transfer, John Gillon, to help fill the void this season. Gillon’s season has had some mixed results. He played very well against Miami the other night with 8 points and 11 assists and played 39 minutes, although he did have 5 turnovers. There have some games he has been held scoreless as well. You aren’t always sure what you will get from Gillon. He has the ability to make three’s and you can’t sleep on him from the outside. He’s at best probably the third or fourth option on offense.

Jamel Artis is the second leading scorer in the ACC currently. The senior is really the driving force behind Pitt’s high scoring attack. Although Artis is not a true point guard, he has been effective this season. This game in particular is a nice matchup for Artis. He’s had success attacking the Boeheim 2-3 zone in past seasons, and that’s how him playing point guard came into being.

Shooting Guard

Tyus Battle 6’6” Freshman 8.4 PPG // 1.9 RPG // 1.7 APG

vs.

Chris Jones 6’6” Senior 6.7 PPG // 2.9 RPG // 2.6 APG

Tyus Battle was a top 50 recruit nationally last season. He came to Syracuse with high expectations, and has performed OK to this point. While he isn’t one of the stars of the freshman class, he’s still a very talented player that’s coming along slowly. Battle is knocking down three’s at a 42% clip, and he provides a nice scoring option on the perimeter. He’s not one of Syracuse’s stars at the moment, but you still have to account for him.

Chris Jones is certainly the fifth option in the staring lineup currently. While Jones has displayed the ability to knock down shots in his career, he hasn’t done much of it this season. Jones has raised his assist numbers this year, and seems to be doing some little things more. It’s worth noting as a sophomore, Chris Jones scored 19 points in a road win against Syracuse. So he’s had a big game in the Dome before, maybe keep an eye on him today as well.

Small Forward

Andrew White III 6’7” Senior 15.7 PPG // 4.6 RPG // 1.5 APG

vs.

Cameron Johnson 6’8” Sophomore 12.7 PPG // 4.9 RPG // 2.3 APG

Andrew White III is a Nebraska transfer, and the leading scorer for the Orange this season. White is on his third school already, as he started his career for Kansas and was a one time top 100 recruit coming out of high school. He is a very talented player, and is the focal point of this offense. He takes the most shots and is expected to do much of the scoring. He has scored 22 points in each of the first two ACC games, and he played all 40 minutes against Miami on Wednesday. He will log a lot of minutes and take a lot of shots, he is the player Pitt has to worry about the most today.

Cameron Johnson has emerged as Pitt’s third option on offense this season. The lanky shooter from nearby Moon Township has developed into one of Pitt’s best outside shooters in the past few seasons. Johnson made four three-pointers on Wednesday against Virginia, and is hitting a 43% clip from behind the arc this season. Johnson also rebounds well despite his thin frame. He had 24 points in Pitt’s last meeting with Syracuse in 2016. When he’s hot, he is tough to stop.

Power Forward

Tyler Lydon 6’9” Sophomore 13.5 PPG // 7.9 RPG // 1.8 APG

vs.

Sheldon Jeter 6’8” Senior 7.7 PPG // 7.7 RPG // 1.6 APG

Tyler Lydon has posted four double-doubles this season. He is one of the most talented sophomores in the country. Lydon is a versatile forward that is able to score from all three levels. His signature performance this season was a 29 point output in a loss to Georgetown, but he went an astounding 12-13 from the floor that game. He is dangerous, and can certainly fill up the stat sheet any time he steps on the floor.

Sheldon Jeter has had a rough start to his senior season, but it has picked up in recent games. Jeter is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds in Pitt’s last three games. He is the team’s top rebounder and best shot blocking presence. His shooting has not been very good this season, but it has been better in recent weeks. Jeter has played very well against Syracuse in his career.

Center

Taurean Thompson 6’10” Freshman 8.9 PPG // 3.6 RPG

vs.

Michael Young 6’9” Senior 22.7 PPG // 7.6 RPG // 3.4 APG

Taureen Thompson started last game, but only played 5 minutes. We’ll see if Boeheim tinkers with the lineup again today. Thompson is a true freshman and he’s coming along. He’s reached double figures seven times this season, but there’s been other games he’s been almost non-existent. He’s a talented player, and looks like he will be big time player for the Orange moving forward.

Michael Young is the ACC’s leading scorer this season. The senior currently is sitting on career highs in scoring, rebounding, and assists. He’s having a fantastic season, and has to be one of the favorites for ACC Player of the Year to this point. For as brilliant as Mike Young has been in his career, his best games have not come against Syracuse. The zone really packs it in sometimes, but Young has been floating outside the paint more this season and he could have a better game this time around against the Orange.

Bench

Tyler Roberson 6’8” Senior 6.4 PPG // 5.1 RPG
DaJuan Coleman 6’9” Senior 6.4 PPG // 5.3 RPG
Franklin Howard 6’5” Sophomore 6.3 PPG // 2.3 RPG // 5.6 APG

vs.

Ryan Luther 6’9” Junior 7.1 PPG // 4.3 APG
Justice Kithcart 6’1” Freshman 1.9 PPG // 1.8 APG // 1.0 RPG
Jonathan Milligan 6’2” Junior 2.7 PPG

Tyler Roberson is virtually a starter, and has been one in the past. His usage is down from the past two seasons, but he’s still a good player. He is an energy guy that gets after it on the glass. DaJuan Coleman is another option for depth on the inside. He too has starting experience and can help clog the middle against Pitt. Frank Howard has started most of the games this season, but did not start last time out against Miami and only played one minute. I’m not aware of an injury, and perhaps Boeheim was trying to send a message.

Pitt’s Ryan Luther is almost interchangeable with the starting lineup. He plays the most minutes off the bench, and is a productive player. Luther is shooting 56% on the year, and leads the team in that department. Justice Kithcart is the only other bench player to play in every game. Kithcart is there mostly to spell the starters and to handle the ball. He has not been much of a factor in the scoring department. Beyond that, Jonathan Milligan is most likely to play some minutes. He’s able to knock down some three’s if given the opportunity.