NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The road hasn't been the best of places for No. 6 Syracuse and the chances of another detour loomed against struggling Seton Hall until senior guard Brandon Triche took over.
Triche scored a career-high 29 points to go with six rebounds and five assists, leading Syracuse to a tougher-than-expected 76-65 victory on Saturday night.
``Brandon was aggressive tonight and that's the way we need him to play,' coach Jim Boeheim said after the Orange (21-4, 9-3) rebounded from a loss at Connecticut earlier this week and remained tied with Marquette and Georgetown for first place in the Big East Conference. ``He kept us in it early and then made the big plays in the end. He had an unbelievable game.'
Triche hit 10 of 18 shots in eclipsing his season high of 25 against Rutgers and his all-time best of 27 against Oakland as a freshman in 2009-10. He put an exclamation point on his performance with a final-minute 3-pointer, his fourth of the game.
``My body felt a little better today,' said Triche. I was off a little against UConn, but I was unbalanced that game. Tonight, I didn't want to be rushed. I felt very confident. If I'm being a leader, if I'm more vocal, then I get into the game more. I don't worry about anything after I had a bad game. I just make sure I bounce back and do well.'
Triche's performance came three days after he hit 3 of 15 shots from the field in a 66-58 loss against the Huskies.
``My body felt a little better today,' Triche said. ``I was off a little against UConn, but I was unbalanced that game. Tonight, I didn't want to be rushed. I felt very confident. If I'm being a leader, if I'm more vocal, then I get into the game more. I don't worry about anything after I had a bad game. I just make sure I bounce back and do well.'
Triche had help in giving Boeheim his 911th career win.
C.J. Fair added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Michael Carter-Williams had 14 points and nine boards. James Southerland also had 11 points for Syracuse, which won despite getting points from only five players.
``We knew would be tough for us, especially here,' Fair said after the Orange improved to 6-4 on the road this season. ``We haven't been playing well on the road. We knew Seton Hall was tough because everyone on that team can shoot the ball. And they came out on us from the start. We just had to stick with it.'
Fuquan Edwin had 21 points and Eugene Teague added 14 points and nine rebounds for Seton Hall (13-13, 2-11) in its seventh straight loss and 11th in 12 games. Aaron Cosby was the only other Pirate in double figures with 10.
The banged-up Pirates put a little scare into Syracuse, opening a nine-point lead in the first half before wilting under the Orange's talent and depth.
``I haven't played a Big East game with a full roster, so as much as I hate losing, I'm still optimistic with where we are going,' Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. ``I can't play Syracuse with seven guys.'
The Pirates proved pesky, limiting Syracuse to 38.7 percent shooting from the field. They trailed by six at the half and they were still within 53-47 almost midway through the second half. Carter-Williams then made six straight free throws in a one-man run that coincided with a fan at courtside being ejected for saying something to referee Michael Stephens.
The free throws pushed the lead to 12 and the closest Seton Hall got after that was 60-64 when Teague hit two free throws with 5:51 to go.
Over the next three minutes, Rakeem Christmas made 3 of 4 free throws and Triche added two free throws, a one-hand push shot and a 3-pointer to put the game out of reach.
Seton Hall, which was outrebounded 42-32, came in coming off a two-point loss to Rutgers and coach Kevin Willard probably wasn't thrilled knowing the Orange had been beaten earlier this week at Connecticut.
The Pirates, however, shot lights out in the first eight-plus minutes, hitting 7 of 10 shots and opening a 21-12 lead against a talented team that had scouts from the Nets, Jazz and other NBA teams sitting among the media. Four of those makes were from long range, with Haralds Karlis' shot from the corner giving them their biggest lead at 21-12.
It didn't last long as Syracuse closed the half with a 24-9 run. Triche, Fair and Southerland scored all but one point in the outburst with Triche and Southerland collecting eight points and Fair seven.
``We were not in a good position there,' Boeheim said. ``We had to get some stops and we had to score more. Brandon is having a good year, but he hasn't shot the ball well from three. But he made some tonight. We got going and our defense toughened up.'
The Associated Press News Service
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