A strong second-half performance leads the Orange past Wagner

Baye Keita scored a career-high 15 points off the bench to pace SU to their second win of the season.

Brandon Triche scored 21 points to lead the No. 8 Syracuse Orange men's basketball team to a 88-57 victory over Wagner Sunday afternoon.

The Orange (2-0) started off the game slowly, with just a 36% field goal percentage in the first half, but rebounded nicely in the second half, thanks in part to stellar play off the bench from Trevor Cooney, James Southerland and Baye Kieta.

Photo: Brandon Weight
Michael Carter-Williams led the team with 11 assists in Syracuse's win over Wagner

Kieta scored a career-high 15 points, all of which were scored in the second half. He shot 6-for-6 from the field and was 3-for-from the foul line. Kieta added five rebounds in 13 minutes of play.

Cooney, who was seeing a more regular amount of playing time than he had in the preseason and in last week's game against San Diego State, scored eight points and had six steals.

“I don't know about six [steals], maybe he has a relative or something,” head coach Jim Boeheim joked. “But I think his play on defense was the most impressive thing.”

Cooney spoke well of the influence that assistant coach Gerry McNamara had on his development, stating, “He's not only a great player, but a great director. Just learning from experience just helps so much.”

Southerland also scored 15 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and 1-for-4 from behind the arc.

“James has the capability to come in and give us a big boost, coming off the bench,” Boeheim said.

Michael Carter-Williams had a tough first half, not making a basket, but turned it around and dished out 11 assists to compliment the six points he would score in the second half. His 11 assists were the most by a member of the Orange in a regulation game since Jonny Flynn against Seton Hall in the 2009 Big East tournament.

“He's one of the best point guards in the country, and he proved that,” Cooney said of his fellow guard.

Triche led the team in both points and rebounds with seven. Forwards DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas also had seven rebounds and it has been their inside game and improved ball-catching skills that has helped make the Orange a well-rounded team

“I feel like I can throw any pass to them,” Carter-Williams said. “Sometimes they bail me out where I throw a bad pass and they catch it, so they help me out a lot.”

The Orange shot hit 68 percent of their shots in the second half, leading to a 50 percent shooting rate for the game.

Next up, Syracuse takes on Princeton on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Dome.

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