Men's Basketball

Cooney looks to regain shooting stroke at Boston College

Chase Gaewski | Managing Editor

Trevor Cooney has struggled from deep since the start of conference play, and looks to get back on track against Boston College at 9 p.m. on Monday.

Trevor Cooney’s meteoric rise as one of the best shooters in Syracuse history has stalled midway through the season.

The lights-out sharpshooter who made five or more 3-pointers in seven of Syracuse’s first 12 games has struggled to find a rhythm since New Year’s, shooting just 2-for-12 from range in the team’s 57-45 win over North Carolina on Saturday.

“The only good thing about shooting like I did today,” Cooney said, “is that I get to bounce back and play Monday.”

Cooney will look to regain his shooting stroke when the No. 2 Orange (16-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) travels to Boston College (5-11, 1-2) for a 9 p.m. tipoff on Monday night. He’s shooting just 21.9 percent from beyond the arc in SU’s last three games, sending his season average plummeting from 50 percent to 42.4.

The Eagles — led by two offensive-minded guards in Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon — don’t have Miami’s 1-2-2 trap that Cooney called unpredictable. And they don’t have the length and athleticism the Tar Heels used to keep Cooney in check early on Saturday.

They offer a chance for Cooney to find a rhythm.

“We count on Trevor to score,” point guard Tyler Ennis said, “but we obviously don’t expect to him to have five 3s every game.”

While Cooney was able to get his share of open looks against the Tar Heels — and missed them anyway — he didn’t take his first 3-pointer until the 10:54 mark of the first half.

He bricked that one — and his next six — including the third attempt, which caromed off the back-left of the rim and out to the perimeter.

Cooney tried to shake off each miss. Gerry McNamara tried to provide encouragement during timeouts. Fans began supportively chanting his name late in the first half.

Even when he finally found the bottom of the net 2:05 into the second half, he proceeded to blow an open transition layup 20 seconds later.

SU head coach Jim Boeheim paused pre-yell, mouth agape, then elected to hold his tongue and clap toward the shaken shooter.

“That’s just how it was today,” Cooney said.

Cooney’s only hits from outside were from the corner, plus a desperation hoist off a handoff from Tyler Ennis with the shot clock at 3.

“We need to get him some more bad shots,” Boeheim deadpanned.

Cooney was his normal, confident self in the locker room after the game. He seemed unfazed by the slump, unlacing his shoes while shrugging off questions about his confidence and shooting struggles.

“You just have to keep shooting and keep playing hard,” Cooney said.

And for the Orange, no one plays harder than Cooney. He chased down a couple loose balls and was active in the passing lanes against North Carolina, finishing with a season-high five steals.

His frequent movement in half-court sets also helped open up forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant for their respective 20- and 12-point efforts.

Against Boston College on Monday, Cooney said he hopes that hard work will translate to more individual success, and more made 3-pointers.

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