There was no mistaking it, Syracuse guard Brandon Triche was struggling.
During a six game stretch starting from Nov. 21 against William and Mary to Dec. 7 against Michigan State, Triche hit exactly zero 3-pointers in 13 attempts.
Then came Saturday’s game against Colgate.
For one game, Triche was back to the player he was in his freshman year, when he hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers. Triche scored 14 points, including 3-for-5 from downtown, helping the Orange to a 100-43 win.
How did it feel to rediscover his shooting touch?
“It felt great,” Triche said. “I have not made a three pointer since about early November, so my first one gave me a lot of confidence. It showed me that I need to just keep shooting.”
Triche drained his first two attempts of the game, and even though he only played 17 minutes, he found other ways to contribute besides scoring. Triche also added three offensive rebounds and a block.
The guard thinks it’s a sign of things to come.
“I think going further my stats are going to rise,” Triche said. “I hit a little slump early, but everyone goes through that. I think in the upcoming games, you’ll see me knock a few more threes down.”
That’s pretty much what Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has told his sophomore guard.
“He’s a good shooter, he’s a very good shooter,” Boeheim said. “He shot good last year, he shoots it good in practice. He gets good shots, so he just has to relax and he’ll make them.”
One of the reasons for Triche’s early struggles is an adjustment in his role on the team.
Last year, Triche was unquestionably the team’s starting point guard guard. With Andy Rautins manning the other guard position, it was Triche’s job to bring up the ball and start the offense.
That hasn’t been the case this year, as Triche has deferred more to fellow starting guard Scoop Jardine, who has assumed point guard duties. While Triche does bring up the ball at times, his job is more off the ball this season.
“It has been a little bit of a change for me,” Triche said. “I still have the mindset of being the point guard, even when I’m not dribbling or even have the ball in my hands. So a lot of times I might pass up a shot to get another shot. So I am trying to transform myself a little bit.”
When Triche completes his transformation, the Orange will reap the benefits.
“It will help us as a team,” Triche said. “When we are not hitting threes, we have to go one-on-one. As a team, that’s not something we want to do.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor in Chief for The Juice Online.