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Syracuse 63 - West Virginia 52: Happy Valentine's!

There will be no three-game losing streak. There will be no four-game home losing streak. When they needed to most, the Orange got their act together and held on for 63-52 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers Monday night.

We've all been watching Brandon Triche develop over the last few weeks. Tonight he stepped up and took the role he's been heading towards...leader. He led the Orange with 20 points, including 2 three-pointers. The first of those threes was vital toward giving Brandon the confidence to make more.

For Triche, the successful 3-pointer was fraught with meaning. Triche acknowledges he is apt to attempt more jump shots when he starts the game on a successful note. He is more likely to search for his shot, less likely to defer to a teammate who demands the basketball.

"Exactly," he said on Monday, after SU defeated West Virginia 63-52 inside the Carrier Dome. "I felt like after making that first one I was going to make them all."

Boehem liked what he saw out of Triche and what it meant for the fight of this team.

Brandon (Triche) has been very aggressive for our team and that is important for our team - he is a scorer," Boeheim said. "This was a situation where we needed to win. I think that one thing that happened when we lose a couple or we are not playing well is that people think the season is over. The season is over when we play 18 games in the league. We still have four more games. We have four games left."

Kris Joseph added 16 while Rick Jackson added ten points & nine rebounds. Scoop scored 9 and dished 6 assists while C.J. Fair scored 8 and even started the second half. Those five players are the only Orange who scored on the night. The other two who played, Dion Waiters and Baye Moussa Keita, shot doughnuts.

Boeheim thought Keita performed well in his nine minutes, even if he also showed concern for when Keita is in there on offense.

"Baye did a great job tonight,’’ Boeheim said. "The problem we’re having with Baye on offense he’s having trouble catching the ball and nobody’s guarding him. When he’s in the game, on offense we’re five against four. He really helps on defense, but when that double-team’s on Ricky, we have nobody to throw the ball to.’’

Fab Melo did not play. As you might have imagined.

Once again, an opponent shot three-pointers with reckless abandon and put the Orange in a hole during the first half. But this time, it was the SU defense that woke up and shut down the opponent in the second half.

Syracuse shut down West Virginia’s offense in the second half, holding the Mountaineers to just 22 points on 7-for-25 shooting from the field. The Orange rode that defensive effort to a crucial 63-52 victory.

West Virginia made 11-of-22 shots from 3-point range, but the Mountaineers made only six shots that were taken inside the 3-point line. Syracuse out-scored West Virginia 34 to four on points in the paint. Syracuse’s big men, specifically 6-9 senior Rick Jackson, shut down the interior on the defensive end of the court.

Check out highlights here.