Cooney looks to find consistency against Holy Cross

first_imgThe ball swished through the net and Trevor Cooney’s celebration wasn’t much of a celebration at all. It was his and Syracuse’s first made 3 of the game, sandwiched between a three-point play on a layup and two free throws for Cooney — a personal 8-0 run that helped the Orange bury Loyola (Maryland) in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night. But he didn’t yell or pump his fist. He just glided backward to the defensive end while lightly nodding his head. “I think at times this year I’ve gotten a little too up and I can’t get up or down,” Cooney said after the win over the Greyhounds. “As a shooter you just have to think about the next one, not the one that just happened. Miss or make.”And Cooney’s up-and-down demeanor is a microcosm of the start to his season. In spurts, the junior guard has been the perimeter threat that can jumpstart the SU offense and take pressure off of Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough in the post. But he’s also had trouble stringing together two straight makes and has often been the same inconsistent player that greatly contributed to the Orange’s sputtering out at the end of last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhat Syracuse (4-1) will get out of its most experienced guard this season is still up in the air, and Cooney will use the next nonconference game — a 7 p.m. date with Holy Cross (3-0) in the Carrier Dome on Friday — as another chance to find a consistent touch.“I’m not too worried about slow starts,” Cooney said. “I just need to take the right shots and I’ll contribute just fine.”Cooney is averaging 11.2 points per game and has made nine of his 29 3-point attempts through five games, but slow shooting starts have coincided with slow starts for the Orange offense. Syracuse held Loyola scoreless for the first 10:04 of game time, but only scored 28 points in the first half to let the Greyhounds stay in the game. Cooney came around a screen for his first long-range attempt and, with a defender right in his face, hoisted an off-balance shot and was stuffed as soon as he released it.He went 0-for-3 from downtown in the first half and found more success going to the rim against an inferior defense. “That first shot I took was horrible,” Cooney said. “Just can’t do that.”At the start of the season, Cooney wouldn’t say whether he considered himself a top shooter in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but added that he was honored to even be asked. On Tuesday, he said he knows he’s solely defined by makes and misses and was quick to point out that one more 3 would have given him 16 points and “then you’d all say I had a great night.”Instead, it was SU’s frontcourt that had a great night while Cooney played a supporting role.“Trevor’s even more important with us trying to get it down to the low post all the time,” SU point guard Kaleb Joseph said earlier in the season. “When he is hitting, we just get that much more dynamic.”With Syracuse methodically working the ball into the post and relying on frontcourt scoring, Cooney’s availability depends on how much opposing guards help down on Christmas and McCullough.If they do help down, Cooney will be tested to hit open jump shots and there will be groans from the crowd if he doesn’t. If they don’t, he’ll have to create his own shots and work off the dribble, which has presented discomfort in the past but could be his best bet to contribute as teams continue to key on him.Cooney saw a mix of both against Loyola, as the Greyhounds focused on Christmas on the block but also had enough size to let their guards chase Cooney step for step around the arc. It wasn’t 16 points or a spotless performance by any stretch, but head coach Jim Boeheim was satisfied. “It’s not two guys, you can’t win with two guys,” Boeheim said after the win. “Trevor was more aggressive tonight, made some good plays. If he can get 13 points every night I’d be happy.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 28, 2014 at 10:10 am Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img read more