In the 132nd game of his career, Brandon Triche set a career-best mark, overcoming a choppy start to pour in 29 points to propel #6 Syracuse to a 76-65 road win over Seton Hall on Saturday night. With the win, the Orange (21-4, 9-3 Big East) reclaimed a share of the top post in the conference, matching the marks of both Georgetown and Marquette. In large part, SU emerged with the victory by both protecting the ball, as they coughed it up to the Pirates (13-13, 2-11) only four times in the game, and chasing it down off the glass, pulling down 20 offensive rebounds.
The teams traded scores in the opening minutes, only Seton Hall buried a couple threes, then added another one after Syracuse failed to score, to jump out to an 11-6 lead just over five minutes into the game. The Pirates continued to play the role of unwelcoming host, nudging the margin out to 21-12 before nine minutes had run off the clock.
SU’s defense then found their footing, holding the Hall without a field goal for almost the next eight minutes, including forcing five turnovers. The Orange fed off their effort at the other end of the floor and took off on a 17-2 run to flip the advantage to 29-23 score in their favor. The Pirates scored on their next two possessions to claw back within a single point, but Syracuse scored seven of the half’s final nine points to take a 36-30 lead at halftime.
Seton Hall climbed back within four points on three occasions in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Orange were able to push the lead out to 51-42. The hosts got within a half dozen two times, but six consecutive free throws by Michael Carter-Williams gave SU their biggest lead to that point, putting them in front 59-47 just past the midpoint of the half.
The Pirates refused to go quietly, clawing back within six over the next four minutes of play, but four free throws started a 9-2 run that put Syracuse up, 69-56, with just over three minutes on the clock. The Orange stretched the lead to its greatest length at 14 points shortly after. A pair of Seton Hall three-pointers put them within 72-64 with just under a minute to go, but they could not connect from deep on their next possession, ending their threat.
Brandon Triche, who missed five of his first six shots from the floor, finished the night with a 10-of-18 shooting line, including 4-of-7 beyond the arc, to collect his 29 points. C.J. Fair posted the tenth double-double of his career, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Carter-Williams almost had a double-double of his own, finishing the game with 14 points and nine boards. James Southerland chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
The Orange return home for their next game on Wednesday, when they close their season series with Providence. SU claimed the first contest on January 6, beating the Friars, 72-66, behind four double-digit scorers led by C.J. Fair’s 23-point, 11-rebound double-double. Providence (14-11, 6-7) heads into the matchup as winners of four straight games, including home wins over ranked teams Cincinnati and Notre Dame, the latter a 17-point romp on Saturday afternoon. The action will get underway at 7:00pm with ESPN2 handling the telecast.Jim Stechschulte (Follow on Twitter @dsafetyguy)