Syracuse Basketball: Trevor Cooney Must Improve Shooting in ACC Tournament

Cooney’s improvement would help the Orange in the three-game finish to the ACC tournament.

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When Trevor Cooney played his first game as a starter, he didn’t fail to impress. Throughout non-conference play, he continued to hit the deep shot and put up double-digit points.

In Syracuse’s last five games, the Orange is 3-2. Aside from the losses against BC and Duke, Syracuse could have easily lost the three games it has won because it only won by one or two points.

Bottom line: Syracuse could be 0-5 in its last five games, but it’s not.

Since the win against Clemson, Cooney has scored 7.4 points per game. Obviously, Cooney is in a funk right now and he needs to spend some extra time with Gerry McNamara to find a way to turn things around before the ACC tournament.

Syracuse needs Cooney to play better than 7.4 points per game because his dry streak is a big reason the Orange has played close games and it contributes to the two losses. This was something Orange Nation feared going into ACC play. These are smarter teams and they know they can’t give Cooney an open look possession after possession, because when he catches the ball and shoots it from deep range, he will hit it at least 50 percent of the time.

Hitting the three isn’t all Cooney can do. Since teams are finding ways to keep the ball out of his hands behind the three-point line, he needs to contribute in another way. He needs to dish out assists or drive to the basket. With the team struggling to play comfortable games, there is more he can do.

Going into conference play, Cooney was around a 50 percent three-point shooter. In his last five games, he’s a 27 percent three-point shooter. Some people could argue he can’t be more effective when he’s not shooting and the deep shot is the only good part about his game. That’s not true. Against BC in Chestnut Hill, Cooney scored 21 points, and only six came from threes. In that game, he said he wanted to find a different way to help the team win and he did that by driving to the basket and scoring points off BC turnovers.

The entire team is tired. Not only has it played close games toward the end of a long regular season, but it’s played very competitive and talented teams. Now is not the time to struggle. Last season, the entire team struggled at this point in the season.  Syracuse lost four of its last five against all of those losses came against ranked opponents.

The ACC has very talented teams. There are teams in other conferences that are more talented. If the NCAA tournament were to start this weekend, Syracuse would have an easy trip to the Sweet 16. If the team continues to play close games where one team has to start fouling to have a chance, Syracuse will face an exit in the Sweet 16. The Orange needs Cooney to step it up and be able to hit jumpers or find other ways to score. Syracuse can’t only do it with the duo of Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair.

The 26-2 Orange have three games remaining in the regular season, and one giant task in No. 12 Virginia on Saturday.

Posted by: Austin Pollack 

15 Comments on this Post

  1. orangeinva

    Why is Cooney and the 3 point shot so important to the Orange?

    The 2-3 zone is JB’s baby. To the point that you can perfect a defense in basketball, JB’s 2-3 is perilously close. In 28 games, the opposition has scored more than 60 pts 10 times…3 times in the ACC. Eleven times the zone has held the opposition to LESS than 55 pts. Unless you’re Duke going 16 for 35 from the 3, you are not going to score much on SU.

    So when the opposition’s defense gives up a 3 to SU…IT HURTS!!! With 1 trip down court/with one swish from 20’9″, CUSE just scored 4.5% of the points needed to win 2/3 of the time.

    SO Cooney, get it going..Ennis, don’t be shy, Keita, let’er fly.

    IT SHOULD BE RAINING 3ssssss!!!!!!!

  2. The BigDipster

    That’s what happens when you recruit 1 shooter, every 3 season’s! Fatigue should not be a problem regardless.. Cooney hasn’t played since arriving in ’11 ( because of waiters & mcw), maybe his redshirt season is tiring him out?

    * @Fizzstaff… the scoring problems late last season were due to MCW’s inability to make floaters, finger rolls, and pass to a suspended James Southerland. Hardly what we have going on currently. Ennis is a Euro PG, Cook & Thorton from Duke made Ennis look very uneasy. He just doesn’t have that “it” factor MCW had. That ALPHA MALE mentality. He’s kinda SOFT right now.

    ** @Fizzstaff.. “the entire team is tired”… how is this a relevant statement if Gbinije hardly plays, Roberson plays 2 min/game, and Johnson & Patterson never leave the bench, that’s 33%+ of the scholarship players. There are fresh legs on the bench, but HCJB won’t use them. Oh yeah, and a useless redshirt skinny bigman from Rochester… great prospect ( what a find)?!? There is no fatigue, only winning and losing basketball plays!

    *** Stop making excuses for LOSSES, play ball

  3. orangeinva

    BD…good thoughts/description on Ennis.

    MCW kind of suspected he would go after his soph year. Triche and Southerland were quiet, default type leaders so it was easy and probably needed that MCW assumed the alpha male mentality as you put it.

    This year, CJ and Keita are a bit more vocal and visible in their leadership and as a result Ennis,portrayed as placid, isn’t needed to be front and center as often as MCW was last year. Offensively, he appears almost reluctant to takeover and create offense. It’s pass 1st..and 2nd
    and only get to the rim when the wheels are beginning to come off. If he could be more assertive, CUSE could have another offensive option and be harder to defend.

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