Men's basketball: Cooney buries Florida State with hot shooting

The redshirt-junior's season-high 28 points propelled SU to its first ACC home win of the season.

During the opening weeks of the 2014-15 season, Trevor Cooney’s potentially lethal three-point stroke lay buried in a dormant slumber. 

But if there were any doubts that he would eventually find it again, Cooney erased them Sunday night against Florida State. 

The redshirt-junior converted seven shots from beyond the arc and scored a season-high 28 points to power the Orange to its third-straight conference victory, a 70-57 drubbing of the Seminoles in front of 24,257 fans at the Carrier Dome. 

As a team, the Orange nailed 10 triples and shot at a 58.8-percent clip from deep. 

“Trevor got a hot hand, and then he made some good plays off the dribble,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said, “which is the biggest part of his improvement this year. 

“Our offense was really encouraging. This was the best offensive game since the first half of the Virginia Tech game.” 

SU (12-4, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) wasted no time distancing itself from the Seminoles, as the hot shooting of Cooney and Michael Gbinije helped build a 17-point advantage with just more than three minutes remaining in the opening half. 

Cooney showed plenty of versatility during the run, hitting shots both off set plays and quickly in transition. 

"I was able to get open ones and get good looks,'' Cooney said. "When you do that, it's a little bit easier. When people are finding you and you're getting good setting screens, it's definitely a lot easier. I've just got to keep moving. These guys are going to set good screens for me. It's my job to keep moving.'' 

The Orange led by 13 at half, and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way. 

Florida State (9-7, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) converted on nearly half of its shot attempts in the second half, but could only pull within nine points. 

In addition to the free throw line, the Seminoles struggled from long distance the entire game, making only two of 16 attempts against a stingy SU backcourt. 

“In our defense, we can guard the line a little bit better because they can’t really run man-to-man plays,” Boeheim said, “so they don’t get shots for guys that they could against man to-man. I think our defense was good. It can get better, but that’s the way it goes.” 

While it ended with a victory, the game was not without loss for Syracuse. With about 12 minutes remaining in the first half, freshman Chris McCullough left the court with an apparent knee injury. He did not return. 

On Monday, Syracuse Athletics announced that McCullough tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season. He averaged 9.3 points a game this season and was SU’s second-leading rebounder. 

In place of McCullough, sophomore Tyler Roberson was a force on the glass, pulling down nine rebounds to go with five points. 

Roberson will replace the freshman’s vacated spot in the SU starting five, but has little time to prepare before Wake Forest invades the Dome on Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. Still, he is confident he can immediately step in and contribute. 

“I think I can do it, conditioning wise,” Roberson told The Post-Standard on Monday. “I think I’m ready for it.”

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