The Orange Beat with Brandon

Veteran Brandon Triche shares his take on the team's progression, what they still need to work on, and what is to come, including a final Dome match with Georgetown inside.

Senior guard Brandon Triche has witnessed high and low points with the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team throughout this season, but remains positive in his outlook.

Syracuse's performance in their most recent match against the Providence Friars left a positive taste in his mouth. "It just felt like non-conference play where teams don't really know you as much," said Triche of Syracuse elevating their game against Providence. "I mean, I felt like this [was] the only time that we really had fast breaks…I'm sure we had 20-something, it felt like, just having transition points and things like that."

The Orange looked more like themselves versus the Friars, getting out in transition for fast-break points that, at times, seemed to pour in at once, such as in the closing moments of the first half where Syracuse had two dunks and a layup before the break.

Keeping with looking like themselves, Triche shared, "Overall assists, I mean, we play unselfish in general, but…everything for us kinda worked." Sophomore guard and teammate in the backcourt for Triche, Michael Carter-Williams, had been averaging 10 assists per game in non-conference play. That average dropped to seven assists per match in conference play, and in some games, Carter-Williams amounted as little as one or two assists. But in this match against Providence, Carter-Williams tied his current season average of eight assists per game in the first half alone, and finished with 12. The Orange accumulated 18 overall as a team.

Triche, however, did see an area where he believes Syracuse needs to perform better. "We didn't rebound as much [against Providence]," Triche stated. "That's one thing we didn't do. We didn't rebound as much, and we know we gonna need that during tough games."

The Orange won in overall rebounds, 39 to 35, but were doubled by the Friars on the offensive glass, grabbing eight offensive rebounds to the Friars' 16.

With wanting to see improvement in rebounding, Triche noted that he has seen improvement by the team at the charity stripe, after admitting that the Orange got off to a slow start. "The Temple game, when we shot horrible…I don't even know what it was, but I know it was horrible," Triche remarked of the match in which the Orange went 19-for-34 (55.9%) from the free throw line. "And everybody's figuring like how [are] we gonna make free throws." Syracuse made a little less than 63% of their attempts from the charity stripe in their non-conference schedule, which included 13 games.

"Then we just clicked," said Triche. "And once the Big East started, we started hitting, I don't know, 70% or so." The Orange have made a little over 75% over 13 matches against conference opponents.

"So, as a team, we [are] actually making ‘em, when it count, when it don't count," Triche continued. "As a team, we overall are shooting a good percentage, and it's helping out. When a team's gonna foul you, it's kinda like they (Providence) did three times in a row, we actually didn't shoot that well. I think we missed a few one-and-ones, or made one and missed one. But, Rock (Rakeem Christmas) making a few, just everbody making a few. If you can't pick on one person, then it [is] definitely beneficial to us." Six of the typical nine players that see time on the court for Syracuse are making more than 60% of their attempts from the free throw line; five of those six are making more than 70% of their tries. The remaining three players at close to or a little above 50%. They include freshman forward Jerami Grant (54.4%), junior center Baye Keita (48.4%), and freshman center DaJuan Coleman (44.8%), who is currently rehabbing after an in-season surgery.

As a whole, Syracuse has had some issues on the road, with all four of their losses coming away from the Carrier Dome. "[We] struggled a little bit, but we wasn't really playing full strength," Triche offered. "I mean, that don't negate any of our losses, but I think overall, I think we're in a good position. I think with me and Mike (Michael Carter-Williams) closing out of a game, I feel very confident that we [are] gonna be able to do that. Defensively, we're adjusting, adapting to what offenses like to do a lot earlier, so I feel confident [for] our last five games." Coming up, they will be heading to Wisconsin for a match with the Marquette Golden Eagles before closing out their final Big East regular season in D.C. versus the Georgetown Hoyas. Following that is the Big East Tournament in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

They will also play three more games at home, the first coming against longtime rival, Georgetown, to which Triche said to him is "just another game". However, Triche has admitted, "It just make it that much sweeter when you're playing [in front of] 35,000, an incredible crowd. It's one of the reasons why you come to SU. I mean, it's one of the reasons why I came."

"I remember watching G-Mac (Gerry McNamara), and I think it was like his, it might have been his senior night against Notre Dame," Triche added. "33,000, I thought that was an incredible experience, so just being part of that, fans rooting you on, man, it's incredible."

As far as the possibility of an "Orange Out", "It'd be incredible," Triche exclaimed. "I mean, just to see it on TV. Just make a hype play, the crowd bouncing. I mean, it's gonna be incredible."

The Orange face off for the final time with the Hoyas inside the Carrier Dome as Big East opponents at 4pm ET.

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