Roles have changed for the Syracuse Orange basketball players after the exits of guys like Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph. It has forced Brandon Triche to be the team’s leader and scorer.
Triche didn’t step into that role for the opening exhibition game against Pace. He went 3-for-8, scoring just 11 points. He was nearly invisible.
That changed in Syracuse’s 103-60 win over Bloomsburg on Sunday evening.
“I thought Brandon played the way we need him to play,” Orange coach Boeheim said. “He was very aggressive and certainly capable of playing like that. That was, I think, the best thing to come out of today.”
Triche shot 9-for-11, scoring a game high 23 points. He also added 7 assists and 5 rebounds in an impressive night.
“A lot of my shots have been jumps shots and not being as aggressive when I’m actually better going to the basket than shooting jump shots,” Triche said. “Tonight, I tried to get to the basket a little bit more and let that open up my three point shot.”
His drives to the basket were the key in his success against Bloomsburg. In past seasons, Triche hadn’t produced like he was capable of because he often settled for jumpers.
But point production isn’t the only thing Triche brings. His leadership is another important asset, especially with guys like James Southerland and CJ Fair playing alongside Triche at the top of the zone at points in the game. Those guys, playing an unfamiliar position, need guidance.
“As one of the leaders … being able to tell them the good things they’re doing and different things they could do better, that’s what I have to do,” Triche said.
Another problem in the game against Pace was turnovers. Michael Carter-Williams registered 5 and Triche turned the ball over 4 times. The team turned the 19 turnovers from the Pace game into 19 steals against Bloomsburg, a transformation that Boeheim was pleased with.
“One thing we stressed about was to not turn it over,” he said. “I think we were much better not turning the ball over tonight.”
Up next for Triche and the Orange is the official start of the season on an aircraft carrier in San Diego against No. 20 San Diego State. Triche noted the importance of the game so early on in the season.
“If I was a freshman I would probably be nervous,” he said. “But I’ve got my nerves pretty cool and I’m ready to play. “
So what did Triche tell the Grant and Coleman in anticipation for the season opener?
“Just don’t think. You treat it like any other game, you play with a lot of energy and things are gonna handle themselves.”