Nate Shron | Staff PhotographerMen's Basketball
Triche, Southerland struggle to knock down shots in disappointing offensive performances
WASHINGTON — Brandon Triche sat by himself in the visitor’s locker room, alone with his thoughts and the month-long shooting slump that continues to plague him.
In swarmed the media, flocking to his locker and asking the same questions about his confidence and his jumper.
Do you have an explanation for your shooting slump? What are you guys going to do to fix the offense?
The inquiries are so repeated that Triche can anticipate the questions before they’re even asked. And Saturday was no different, especially on the heels of a humbling 61-39 loss to Georgetown that marked the team’s seventh loss in its last 12 games. Triche and teammate James Southerland missed 16 of their 17 shots from the field, and those same questions rained down on the senior guard once again.
“I’ve been struggling to make shots for like the last three weeks,” Triche said. “But for James, I think on some of his shots he was a little anxious to make them. So he shot them kind of quick. Then when he got an open one he didn’t shoot fluidly. For me, just get up shots and not think about it. Just let it go.”
With subpar performances from its two best shooters, Syracuse posted its lowest point total since 1962 against the Hoyas. Its offense looked inept, disorganized and muddled en route to the most lopsided loss since 2011.
But for the first time in the recent string of losses, Triche and Southerland struggled as much inside the arc as they did beyond it. They made zero 3-pointers on Saturday and combined to make only one two-point basket — a double-clutch layup by Triche — while managing just three total points between them.
It left Michael Carter-Williams as the only double-figure scorer, and he tried to encourage his teammates to be more aggressive on Saturday.
“I think we’re just stagnant on offense,” said Carter-Williams, who finished with 17 points. “Once we don’t have the first option, then we just break down. Part of that is my fault. I’ve got to get guys going and get guys moving. And they have to get themselves going too.”
In his postgame press conference, Boeheim said he thinks the offense has lost its confidence at this point in the season, which doesn’t bode well for a team entering the gauntlet that is the Big East tournament next week.
But despite their coach’s sentiment, Carter-Williams and Fair said they have not lost faith in who used to be the team’s best shooters. They said both Triche and Southerland are seniors and will be able to pull through.
It needs to be quick, though, or Syracuse’s season will come to an early conclusion.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve lost faith,” Fair said. “It’s just a little frustrating sometimes when you play good defense and can’t convert on offense.”
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