Feb 12, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
The Syracuse men’s basketball team Scooped its way past Connecticut on Feb. 11 to improve to 25-1 on the season.
A 22-6 spurt over the final 6 minutes, 30 seconds of the game, highlighted by guard Scoop Jardine’s 11 points during the span, allowed the Orange to blow open a close game en route to the 85-67 victory. It was a game of sharing for Syracuse, as four players scored 14 or more points.
Jamesville-DeWitt graduate and Orange junior Brandon Triche, though, didn’t have a very impressive game, finishing with five points on 2 of 6 shooting from the floor. After the game, he wasn’t visibly or vocally thrilled with his performance.
“I thought I did OK. Probably could have made a few more shots, but some days they go in, some days they don’t,” he said.
That’s the kind of season it’s been for Triche, who has started all 26 games thus far. He’s had his ups — a 20-point performance in a win over Florida and an 18-point night in SU’s tough victory over West Virginia — and his downs — he’s scored just 16 points combined in the Orange’s last three games (St. John’s, Georgetown, UConn).
Luckily for Triche, Syracuse is a team built with a bevy of weapons, meaning on any given night, any player can step up and take charge.
“That’s the beauty of our team,” said assistant coach Mike Hopkins. “Instead of having one or two guys who can take over a game, we have a whole bunch. Some nights it’s Scoop, other nights it’s Kris [Joseph], Dion [Waiters] or Fab [Melo]. Everyone on this team knows their role and will step up when needed.”
Triche has always been a scorer, as his 1,926 career points at J-D in his four years as a starter will show. His senior season saw him post 22.3 points per game and 6.7 assists. In turn, he’s always been a winner, too, helping the Rams take home consecutive state Class A titles.
In his time in high school up to the present, Triche said he has learned a simple trick to playing, and playing well.
“I just have to put the ball in the hole, really,” he said. “It’s simple: do it, stay on the floor longer.”
Attendance for the game was announced as 33,430, the fourth largest crowd in Carrier Dome history. No doubt, many in attendance were there as support for Triche, the local kid, something the guard covets.
“It’s just cool to play in front of fans you know,” he said. “One of the biggest reasons I came to SU was to play in an arena like this. It’s nice to see some familiar faces out in the crowd.”
Jardine was the go-to guy in the UConn game with 21 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the floor including a perfect 4 for 4 from deep. He said he hasn’t noticed any sort of slump from Triche because he still plays with the same intensity and desire to win if he hits one basket, or drops 20 points.
“Triche is playing aggressive basketball right now,” Jardine said of his backcourt mate. “He’s one of our best scorers. I know he didn’t shoot great [against UConn] but I know he’ll be there Monday for us. That’s the thing about it — we know we got a guy who can stop and pull up at any time and hit shots for us when we need it. I’m privileged to play next to a guy who has his kind of ability and heart.”
Triche said he’s not worried about the lack of scoring over the past few games. On the season, he’s averaging 9.7 points a contest, which is good for third on the team.
His alma mater is working its way toward the sectional playoffs, as J-D was 16-2 as of Feb. 12. Led by McDonald’s All-American and future SU player DaJuan Coleman, the rams expect to do some serious damage in the playoffs in hopes of earning another state crown.
Triche says he still pays attention to how his former team is doing, and offered some words of encouragement.
“They been playing well,” Triche said. “If they keep on doing what they’re doing, they’re going to bring it back. They’re a really good squad.”
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.