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Brandon Triche is a Ballerina - new name for a blog?
Some savvy scheduling gave Jim Boeheim a day off Saturday for his 68th birthday. But Sunday, it was back to the grind for the Hall of Fame coach and his #8-ranked Orange. It was the season home opener for Syracuse, and this year's victim would be Wagner College (as if they didn't already suffer enough from Hurricane Sandy). Though the Seahawks from Staten Island played the Orange tough for a good part of the first half, Syracuse turned on the intensity and never looked back. Syracuse improved to 2-0 this season with an 88-57 victory over Wagner.
  • The above-pictured multi-talented Brandon Triche was the most outstanding offensive player for Syracuse. His stat line: 8-14 shooting (1-5 from 3) for 21 total points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two turnovers. His 29 minutes also tied with Michael Carter-Williams for team high on the day, and it was his consistency on offense that earned him the time on the floor.
  • Brandon needs to have games like this, where his steady consistency can motivate the rest of the team, as it did here, because the rest of the team followed suit.
  • MCW also had a clutch game. In his 29 minutes, he was 2-7 shooting and a couple foul shots for six points. But he was active on the boards (six rebounds) and had two blocks and three steals. When the top of the zone is active like that, well, you know that good things happen for this team.
  • Speaking of which, how about the game play of Trevor Cooney? The redshirt freshman is not only living up to the hype of being the best 3-point shooter on the team (he was 2-5 on Sunday) but this kid can play some defense! His six steals makes that point. Remember how Andy Rautins used to play at the top of that zone? Cooney has the talent to be considered the next coming of Andy Rautins. Maybe a third iteration of Leo Rautins?
  • Having Cooney redshirt last year was one of the best coaching decisions Boeheim made last season. With the depth the team had at guard, it made little sense to have him on the active roster and get little to no meaningful playing time. By redshirting him, he practices with the team, learns the offense, learns the zone, and is in a much better position to hit the court full-force this season compared to the incoming true freshmen.
  • My evidence on this point is DaJuan Coleman. The kid's big, is a great presence down low, and has a ton of natural talent. But there were several times on Sunday when he just looked lost. I mention this not to be critical, but just to state that this is where he is in his development; he'll get there, and it'll be sooner than, say, Fab Melo got there, since Coleman's been playing the game longer than since high school. Still though, he needs to put in the work to get there.
  • I would be remiss if this recap didn't heap a ton of praise onto Baye Moussa Keita and James Southerland. Keita was 6-6 shooting for a career-high 15 points. He also had five rebounds and two blocks. All of this in only 13 minutes on the floor. Southerland, for his part, was 6-9 shooting for 15 points, three blocks, and a steal, in 22 minutes. I think they both fed off the leading-by-example performance turned in by Brandon Triche.
  • On the Wagner side of things, two players were in double-digit scoring: Jonathon Williams (14 points) and Kenneth Ortiz (11). Otherwise, the shooting was pretty poor. 32.8% as a team for the game.
  • Wagner also lost the rebounding edge 49-36, and committed 23 turnovers.
  • While Syracuse shot 50% for the game, it was the tale of two halves: 36.11% vs. 67.86%. Offensive output naturally followed, 36 and 52, respectively.
  • It's a good game when, with a little more than a minute left, there's a complete line change and your lineup is purely walk-ons. Unfortunately, none of them logged a point; just a rebound, turnover, or steal here or there.
Another home opener, and another Syracuse win. Can't complain about that! Props to the Dome for bringing back Sixpence None the Richer for the Kiss Cam, and for having an on-court MC to introduce performers & promotions during timeouts so we get less of Mike Veley. However, I was promised a schedule magnet for attending this game, and yet I received nothing. If you attended this game and got a magnet, please let me know.
Syracuse has one more pre-turkey matchup, as Princeton and its vaunted "Princeton Offense" visits the Dome on Wednesday. If you're having trouble getting hyped up for that, just remember some of the hate you'd have for Princeton if this were a lacrosse game, and redirect that to basketball. That should do it for you.

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