SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Trevor Cooney had been in a prolonged slump. Since ACC play began, he was shooting just 25% from beyond the arc coming in Saturday's game. He had gone 2-12 twice, and 0-5 once. Many Syracuse fans were wondering where the Trevor Cooney that had been shooting nearly 50% from distance earlier in the season had gone.
He may have found his way back against Duke. Maybe it was just having people calling him by the proper first name. Maybe it was a player stepping up in a big time game. Or maybe Cooney is like all shooters who go through slumps and then come out of them.
Cooney only took eight shots against Duke, but he made five of them. Including his only two attempts from beyond the arc. He finished with 14 points on the night, but his contributions were so much more.
Not only did Cooney not turn the ball over, but he hit shots in critical times, helped handle the ball and run the offense when Duke denied Tyler Ennis, and did not force the issue offensively.
He let the game come to him.
Assistant coach Gerry McNamara told Cooney during his slump that it's not about the number of shots you take, but rather making the ones you put up. Offensive efficiency is the name of the game. Fourteen points on eight shots is quite efficient.
Cooney was aggressive on Saturday. He drove the lane several times, took his man off the bounce and laughed in the face of the vaunted Duke pressure. His two three-pointers didn't just fall; they were all net.
When Cooney is hitting from the outside, it gives Syracuse another dimension offensively. That was on full display Saturday. It opens up the lane for Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant. All three had success inside with Cooney clicking.
If this is the start of Cooney reverting back to his shooting performance from earlier this season, he broke out of his slump at the perfect time.