Brandon Triche may start, but he doesn’t get going until later in the game.
Triche went scoreless in the first half against Seton Hall on Saturday before exploding for 15 points in the second half in a 61-56 win. In Wednesday’s 76-59 win over St. John’s, the sophomore guard didn’t register his first points until 2:27 left in the first half but went on to score 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
The No. 4 Orange (17-0, 4-0 Big East) hopes Triche can get it going right away when it hosts No. 25 Cincinnati (16-1, 3-1) on Saturday.
“He doesn’t shoot the first 10 minutes,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He waits to see if we need him, and then he starts to play after that. We’d like him to see him start a little earlier.”
Boeheim could have also been referring to Triche’s entire season. Triche only had more than 10 points once in his first nine games. Since then, he’s averaged 12.2 points, going over double digits in scoring six times.
“Earlier in the season, I wasn’t thinking correctly,” Triche said. “Me and (assistant coach) Mike Hopkins just worked on footwork. I tried to shoot the ball the same way.”
It’s paid off.
After not connecting on a 3-pointer for a six-game stretch from Nov. 21 against William and Mary to Dec. 7 against Michigan State, Triche has shot 9-of-18 from downtown in his last three games.
“Every time I shot 3-pointer, I felt like I was going to make it,” Triche said. “I make sure I step right into it. I feel like if I get my feet set and my body squared, I’m going to make it every time. Doing that is just rhythm.”
It was a rhythm that had been disrupted by Scoop Jardine joining the starting lineup this season.
Last year, Triche was the team’s starting point guard and would feed Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins for shots. This season, Triche struggled in the early stages of being the team’s starting shooting guard.
But he wasn’t alone in his struggles. Too much of the Orange’s early play revolved around one-on-one plays instead of working together to find shots. That’s a thing of the past now.
“When we make our open shots, it makes things easier for guys,” Triche said. “We don’t have to have guys go one-on-one.”
It’ll make the Orange a stronger team as it heads into the heart of Big East play.
“The whole Big East is tough,” Triche said. “But I have the confidence we’re going to be able to win the Big East again and go a little further than we did last year.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor in Chief for The Juice Online.