White, Gillon lead Syracuse past No. 6 FSU 82-72

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — All of a sudden, Syracuse is showing signs of emerging from its struggles this season.

Andrew White scored 24 points, John Gillon had 21 points and matched his career high with 11 assists, and Syracuse beat No. 6 Florida State 82-72 on Saturday.

Syracuse (13-9, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its second straight close game and gained its first victory over a ranked team.

“This game shows we have the ability,” White said. “We just have to show we can do it night in and night out.”

After consecutive losses to North Carolina and Notre Dame, Syracuse was desperate for a signature victory and got it against Florida State, compliments of a dominant first half and a late-game resolve keyed by Gillon, at 6 foot the smallest player on the court.

“This was huge,” said Gillon, a fifth-year transfer in his lone season at Syracuse. “This was the biggest game of my life. If I’m not going to be a leader, we’re not going to be successful. I’m taking it upon myself to be the best leader I can be.”

After Dwayne Bacon’s third 3-pointer cut Syracuse’s lead to 72-70 with 1:48 left, the speedy Gillon got more aggressive, repeatedly driving the lane. He hit a layup to extend the lead to four and then made eight straight free throws in the final minute to help the Orange hold on.

“That little…