All season long, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has been imploring guard Brandon Triche to be more aggressive earlier in the game. Finally, Triche has heeded Boeheim’s advice.
“He doesn’t shoot the first 10 minutes,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said during his press conference following SU’s 61-56 win over Seton Hall on Jan. 8. “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.”
In that game, Triche went scoreless in the first half against Seton Hall before exploding for 15 points in the second half.
That came one game after Triche scored just two points in the first 17 minutes of Syracuse’s 76-59 win over St. John’s on Jan. 12. In the last 23 minutes, Triche scored 13 points.
Compare that to the last two games, when Triche has wasted little time getting into the scoring column.
Against Louisville on Saturday, Triche drained a jumper 13 seconds into Syracuse’s 73-69 loss. Just 18 seconds into Monday’s 63-52 win over West Virginia, Triche grabbed a Kevin Jones missed jumper, raced down the floor and knocked down a 3-pointer.
“All of the coaches are telling me to come out early,” Triche said to reporters following Monday’s game. “I’m scoring most of my points in the second half. I try to get up six or seven shots to try and get into a rhythm.”
That rhythm has allowed Triche to take charge over the past two games. During that time, he’s combined for 41 points and 14-for-25 shooting from the field. That also includes 6-for-14 shooting from distance.
Triche was by far Syracuse’s most important player against West Virginia. With SU trailing 30-26 coming out of half, Triche scored eight of his 20 points in the first five minutes of the second half to help Syracuse take a 40-35 lead.
When he picked up his fourth foul with 9:39 left, it forced him to the bench. A minute later, West Virginia pulled within two. After Boeheim put Triche back in shortly after, he helped lead a 10-3 run to give SU a commanding 61-52 lead with 3:39 left.
“I’m just trying to be aggressive and get in the lane and commit two guys so I can hit the open player,” Triche said. “If not, I have a good chance at scoring.”
Triche has admitted to having a difficult time adjusting this season to playing the role of a shooting guard. Last year, Triche was the team’s starting point guard and was more of a distributor. This year, Boeheim has wanted Triche to be more of a scorer.
Finally, Triche has embraced the role.
“Sometimes I was trying to take tough shots, and I realized that even if I missed shots, just getting the ball up on the basket and get rebounds would help us,” Triche said. “Taking shots is better than turning the ball over.”