NEWARK, N.J. — A quick take on Syracuse’s 76-65 win versus Seton Hall in front of the largest crowd ever (13,569) to watch a Pirates game at the Prudential Center, as they lifted the black curtains on the east and west sides of the building’s upper levels to sell more tickets to Syracuse fans.
WHAT HAPPENED: In front of a crowd that was indeed 60/40 orange apparel over blue in the stands, this Syracuse south ‘home’ game was back and forth then saw a ‘Cuse deficit hitting nine points over the first eleven minutes before the Orange (21-4, 9-3), after a Jim Boeheim lecture during a called timeout, started buckling down on defense to take a six-point halftime lead. In flow on offense in the second half, SU kept the Pirates (13-13, 2-11) at bay and clamped down on field goal defense to hold on for the win. The victory kept the Orange in a three-way tie with Marquette and Georgetown atop the Big East standings at 9-3.
ANALYSIS: Surprise, Jim Boeheim is down to a seven-man rotation, and with an ineffective Jerami Grant yielding time to James Southerland against SHU, it was basically six players. Long range shooting was still a struggle while the game was competitive, but the defense was active in getting out on Pirate shooters in the second half.
HERO: He stepped up his play this night and will be counted on for repeat performances over the final six games of the regular season, senior guard Brandon Triche finished with a career-high 29-points, a mix of scoring underneath and with several baskets from long range, along with six rebounds and five assists.
ZERO: The aforementioned three-point shooting, and no offense from big men Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita (combined three points) continues to make opposing defenses overload guarding the perimeter and cutting lanes.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns to the Dome to face Providence (14-11, 6-7) on Wed. Feb. 20, tipoff is 7:00 pm. This game will complete the home-and-home series against the Friars in this final Big East season, the Orange winning 72-66 at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Jan. 9. Providence, at home, looked good knocking off Notre Dame Saturday 71-54, winning its fourth straight game. TV: ESPN2.Brad Bierman (Follow on Twitter @BradBierman)